Tag Archives: learning and cognition

John Dewey Dissects Teaching “Content”

“From the standpoint of the educator…the various studies represent working resources, available capital. Their remoteness from the experience of the young…is real. The subject matter of the learner…cannot be identical with the formulated, crystallized knowledge of the adult…. Failure to bear in mind the difference…is responsible for most of the mistakes made in the use of texts and other expressions of preexisting knowledge.”

John Dewey

Democracy and Education

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.

Jerome Bruner on Understanding and Interpretation

I. “Understanding unlike explaining, is not preemptive; for example, one way of construing the fall of Rome narratively does not rule out other interpretations. For narratives and their interpretations traffic in meaning, and meanings are intransigently multiple…. Since no one narrative construal rules out alternatives, narratives pose a very special issue of criteria.”

II. “In a word, narrative accounts can be principled or not but do not rest on stark verification alone, as with scientific explanations. Any constitutional lawyer worth his salt can tell you how Justice Taney’s way of construing history in the Dred Scott decision was excruciatingly tunnel-visioned, unmindful of competing perspective, and therefore lethal in its consequences.”

Jerome Bruner

The Culture of Education

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.

John Dewey on Instructional Planning

“No experience is educative that does not tend both to knowledge of more facts and entertaining of more ideas and to a better, a more orderly arrangement of them…. Experiences in order to be educative, must lead out into an expanding world of subject matter…. This condition is satisfied only as long as the educator views teaching and learning as a continuous process of reconstruction of experience.”

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.

Wiggins and McTighe on Coverage and Uncoverage

“We thus uncover for students what is interesting and vital by revealing it for what it is: a shorthand phrase for the result of inquiries, problems, and arguments, not a self-evident fact. A course design based on textbook coverage only will likely leave students with inert phrases and an erroneous view of how arguable or hard-won knowledge has been. Rather, students need to experience what scholars know if they are to understand their work: how key facts and principles are the revealing and powerful fruit of pondering, testing, shaping, and rethinking of experience….”

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.

The “Exit Ticket”

[The “exit ticket” was all the rage in the last school in which I served in New York City. The peculiarity of the term notwithstanding, the concept is pedagogically sound—particularly when questions are both broad and focused, like these two, which are apparently in common use in classrooms at Harvard.]

  1. What is the big point you learned in class today?
  2. What is the main unanswered question you leave class with today?

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.

Howard Gardner on Assessing for Understanding

“Whereas short-answer tests and oral responses in classes can provide clues to student understanding, it is generally necessary to look more deeply…. For these purposes, new and unfamiliar problems, followed by open-ended clinical interviews or careful observations, provide the best way of establishing the degree of understanding obtained.”

Howard Gardner

The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.

Kierkegaard on Metacognition and Wisdom

“It is the duty of human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand, and what those things are.”

Soren Kierkegaard

Journals

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.