Saturday, January 15, 2011

Section 2

The main concept of this section is that factual knowledge must precede skill. It begins by saying that facts must be taught. When we consider someone smart they are using their critical thinking skills whereas if they are just spouting off facts they come off as boring. The book defines thinking as combing information in new ways. Critical thinking skills such as reasoning and problem solving are mixed with facts that are stored in long term memory. We need to make sure our students are receiving the background knowledge that we can mix critical thinking skills.

In order to understand what someone is stating we need to make sure they have background knowledge. The author also discusses the mind being able to tying several pieces of material together or otherwise known as chunking. This can only happen if the mind has the factual knowledge to cover this information.

Background knowledge is also needed for cognitive skills. People use memory to solve problems on a regular basis. Strategies in all areas could not be applied if they did not have the background knowledge for the subject.

Those who have knowledge in an area gain more because of what they already know. We also remember more if the subject area has meaning to us. Even if we don't realize it happening our minds connects what we are reading to what we already know. Our mind works on the cues about the information that we have in our memories.

Rather than asking what students need to be taught we should ask what knowledge would yield the largest cognitive benefit. There are two ways to answer this question. For reading students need to know what information the writers assume they know and the writer leaves out. The second answer deals with core subjects and their information. The author states that students must learn the concepts that come up again and again. This deals with unifying all subjects and their ideas.

The book suggests that the goal should be that they, the students, have the background knowledge to carry out tasks we give them and the critical thinking skills needed. The author also states the having a vast amount of knowledge about the skill is best but having some is better than not having any at all. We also need to encourage the students to read whatever they can and do whatever it takes to get them to do so.

He also states that knowledge can happen by simply exposing them to the subject manner. The students will also do better if they are exposed early to the material. The author states, "There are no shortcuts and no alternatives to trying to increase the factual knowledge that the child has not picked up at home." The book also states that the knowledge must be meaningful and not just memorized as a list of information.

I agree with the author that if the information is something that the students are familiar with then they will learn the subject manner easier. I also understand the fact that if they can tye all the information together it makes sense. I do wish there was a way to make all parents see that early exposure to learning is ideal. Also that they need to encourage the children to read whatever they can at home. Overall encouragement to learn the material is important from their families.


  1. I always tell my reading students that if they want to be smarter they need to read more books. The best way to increase intelligence seems to be to expose yourself to more ideas.

  2. I agree! My 8th grader who is dyslexic has loved to read since he was little because we have a reading time at home. We have done this since he was real little. I did the same with my daughter who is now in Kindergarten and she loves reading her sight word readers to us. The littlest, our three year old, loves to have the older two read to him all the time.

  3. I especially liked the last section of your posting...where you wrote about the importance of parents exposing their children to a variety of learning experiences. That makes a huge difference, and it shows in the student's performance in the classroom. You mentioned the importance of reading a LOT at home too. Wouldn't it be nice if ALL of our students had that opportunity provided them at home by their parents?