Learning, Understanding and Conceptual Change

Bransford, Brown, and Cocking’s (2000) How People Learn is a seminal work for anyone involved in education. As I read and reflected on the question of what learning really is, it became clear that what students need from any school today is not just information, which the education system can no longer monopolise thanks to the internet, but the cognitive tools to deal with information. Focusing on the first three chapters, I have drawn a number of parallels between the guidance in the readings and the functioning of the many EFL classrooms I’ve seen over the last ten years, including my own.

Learning, Understanding and Conceptual Change (essay, 800 words)

One thought on “Learning, Understanding and Conceptual Change

  1. Justin,
    I really enjoyed reading your essay and thought you raised several viable points. Your first sentence about a teachers approach to guiding individuals to information like experts is how the process of conceptual change in successful learning and teaching occurs. I think this is also good to highlight because all experts had to have started somewhere in their quest for subject knowledge.

    Teaching today is focused on differentiation and what knowledge and skills a student can bring to the classroom. With that being said you mentioned “in-depth instruction and multiple-context application”, which for today’s learners is highly recommended, given our technological 21st century that provides instant gratification via the use of some handheld “smart” device. Teachers that understand who their audience is can make great strides in the classroom, especially if a teacher takes into account students’ prior knowledge and understanding. By knowing what students are capable of, as you pointed out from the reading, the entire teaching and learning dynamic can be amplified for the better.

    Students will always come to a class with preconceptions or preexisting knowledge. This can be a challenge for both teachers and students because sometimes a student’s preexisting knowledge is inaccurate. A student’s preconceptions most often causes for taking steps to the very basics. It is for reasons like this that I completely agree with you about “targeted instruction” opposed to “breadth of knowledge.”

    I really liked what you had to say, Justin. I find that reading others work to be a good reflection on my viewpoints and what I may have written. Seeing others ideas definitely provides broader insight, as well as offer more questions.


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