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LEARNING AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE APPLIED TO TEACHER EDUCATION







definition of learning behavioral psychologists define learning as a change in behavior, while cognitive psychologists define learning as a change in the meaning of experience.



the philosophy of education being proposed by the cognitive scientists is that education can be both an art (or craft) and a science; also, that human potential is influenced by environment as well as heredity.



nature of knowledge from the cognitive standpoint knowledge is constructed, not discovered. Discovery is only one of the many activities involved in the production of new knowledge.



construction of knowledge construction of new knowledges begins with observation; specifically, observations of events and objects through concepts we already possess. Knowledge is not discovered like oil or gold, but constructed like pyramids and computers.



events an event is anything that happens or can be made to happen. Lightening is an event that happens; atom splitting is an event people make happen.



objects an object is anything that exists and can be observed. Dogs, stars, planets are naturally occurring objects. Houses, pottery, totem poles are objects people construct.





learning as enrichment learning should empower the student to enrich his or her experience, and the students' experiences involve not only thinking and physical activity, but feelings as well.



a sense of mastery over events and confidence in one's abilities seems to come best from the employment of educational practices that lead the student to give meaning to what they are being asked to learn.



cognitive science for the teacher, cognitive science involves learning how to help students learn about learning, about the nature of knowledge and the construction of new knowledge, about strategies for better curriculum design, and about teaching in such a way that liberates and empowers the learner/student.







role of the teacher from the perspective of the behavioral psychologists, the teacher is responsible for causing learning in students; from the perspective of the cognitive psychologists, the learning must be caused by the learner.



the goal of teaching now becomes finding ways of achieving shared meaning.



cognitive tools two principal tools are concept mapping and Vee diagramming. There may be other strategies, but these are two suggested by Novak and Gowin.



concept mapping concept mapping is a way to help students and educators see the meaning of learning materials.



Vee diagramming Vee diagramming is a device to help both teacher and student penetrate the structure and meaning of what they are trying to understand.



Helps students to see that in learning, authority resides in the events and objects observed, the validity of the records we choose to make, and the quality or adequacy of the ideas guiding the inquiry.



concepts a concept is a regularity in events or objects designated by some label, like "chair" or "wind". People can and do recognize regularities in events or objects and are capable of inventing and using language or symbols to label and communicate any perceived regularities.



culture culture consists in part of the collection of concepts constructed by a society through which the values and traditions of that society are communicated to the children. The capacity that enables the infant to sort out regularities and to recognize and/or apply labels and thus acquire speech is an innate capacity. By the time the child begins school, a network of concepts and language rules have been acquired. These play a crucial role in school learning.



learning and knowing learning is personal and idiosyncratic; knowledge is public and shared. Both learning and knowing are important for successful teaching and schooling. Thinking, feeling, and physical activity are present in an educative experience and contribute to the meaning students may assign to their schooling experience.



definition of education "educating is the process by which we actively seek to change the meaning of experience."



observation to observe regularities we would have to begin with selecting specific events or objects in our environment, observe them carefully, and make some kind of record of our observations.



we do not start from nothing. In selecting something to observe and making a record of what we have observed, we would have to start with concepts we already know. These concepts that we already have will, of course, influence what events or objects we choose to observe and what records we choose to make.



elements of new knowledge there are three elements needed in acquiring new knowledge: concepts, events/objects and records of events (which we call facts).



to teach in this sense is to help the student (meaning: selecting a strategy to help the student) to recognize:

1) what events or objects they are observing

2) what concepts they already know that relate to these events or objects.

3) what records are worth making



learning and instruction Important to distinguish the type of instructional strategy being used and the learning process this encourages in the student.



Learning can vary from being almost rote to being highly meaningful; rote learning is described as reception learning where information is "fed" to the learning, while highly meaningful learning is described as autonomous discovery learning, where the learner identifies and selects the information to be learned.



metalearning The study of how science work to produce new knowledge is called metascience; it is not learning science it is learning about science.



The study of the structure of knowledge and the process of producing knowledge is called metaknowledge; it is not learning concepts like addition, nouns, verbs, and the like, but about learning how concepts are produced.



Metalearning, similarly, is not about learning how read, or add, or write, but learning about learning or how to learn in general.



Metalearning and metaknowledge are interconnected bodies of knowledge that characterize human learning. Learning about the nature and structure of knowledge helps students to understand how they learn, and knowledge about learning helps to show them how humans construct new knowledge.



Metalearning and metaknowledge strategies have been found to promote intellectual honesty on the party of both teachers and students, and thus leads to a new sense of responsibility (see Vee diagramming).



learning to learn To quote: "it is a common belief that learning is automatic and without effort, and that it is continuous and cumulative over life. Yet we have reason, and some evidence, to doubt this belief. Learning has been confused with development, and the biological metaphor of autonomous developmental growth is so powerful that it permeates our thinking....Most people have a word vocabulary of ten to thirty thousand words, yet Shakespeare is responsible for inventing and writing over three thousand separate puns and had a vocabulary ten times greater than that of most people....Weavers and textile artists of all kinds have a vocabulary of concepts, feelings, and facts about cloth and its colors that vastly surpasses the range of labels comprehensible to most of us. Every human activity, when carried to a point of sufficient proficiency, creates its own concepts, labels, words, actions, and ways of working and wondering that simply exclude the rest of us who are untutored in the events, objects, concepts, and facts about that activity."



concept maps Some characteristics of a concept map:



represents meaningful relationships between two or more concepts



a schematic device for representing a set of concept meanings embedded in a framework of propositions



makes clear to both students and teachers the small number of key ideas they must focus on for any specific learning task



after learning task has been completed, concept maps provide a schematic summary of what has been learned.



should be hierarchical, that is, the more general, more inclusive concepts should be at the top of the map



an effective tool for showing misconceptions.(1)



learning the meaning of a piece of knowledge requires dialog, exchange, sharing, and sometimes compromise. Learning as an activity cannot be shared; it's an individual responsibility. Meanings can be shared, discussed, negotiated, and agreed upon.



frequently students will detect ambiguities or inconsistencies in text material at which point it is helpful for the teacher to step in and clarify concepts or propositions not well presented in the text. It also communicates to the students that they are not dull or stupid, but rather that texts can fail to provide the knowledge needed for shared meaning.



concept maps, in curriculum planning and organization, are useful for separating significant from trivial information and for choosing examples.



can foster cooperation between student and teacher in a battle in which the "monster" to be conquered is meaninglessness of information and victory is shared meaning.



objective of cognitive To help students understand the nature and role of science concepts and the relationship between concepts as they exist in their minds and as the exist "out there" in the world or in printed or spoken instruction. Note that it may take months or years for students to recognize that what they hear, see, touch, or smell is in part dependent on the concepts they have in their minds. This is what it means to learn how to learn.

1. According to Novak and Gowin, research shows that the best method for correcting a misconception is to identify one or more missing concepts that, when integrated into the individual's conceptual framework, will obliterate the misconception.