October 21, 2003
Additions, revisions, extensions are encouraged in the Forum
and/or at emergent.brynmawr.edu
We discussed the points made in two articles by
Dan Willingham/U Virginia with background references to the work
of cognitive psychologist Jerome Brunner, a proponent of 'discovery
Discovery learning encompasses the scientific model
and matches cognitive development. Teachers must carefully plan
questions to be asked and examples used in the lesson to help
students attain the principles being taught. Encouraging students
to feel comfortable making mistakes is a tenet of discovery learning,
but the method is criticized because it requires extensive preparations
that do not always guarnatee success. Students may simply play
with the materials instead of learning from them, and discovery
methods may make too many demands on lower-ability students lacking
background knowledge and prolem-solving skills needed.
"Students Remember...What They Think About"
(Students will remember incorrect discoveries as well as correct
ones and many never learn that what they discovered was incorrect.)
"Inflexible Knowledge: The First Step to Expertise"
(Rote learning, shallow knowledge, inflexible and flexible knowledge.)
During a session this summer, the group discussed "how much
editing/guidance/goal-direction is consistent w/ an 'emergence'
rubric for pedagogy?" Jan wondered if it was useful for the
group to continue with this or if the nature of "errors,"
their causes (garden path problems, hindsight bias, etc. etc.),
how they are observed, and consequences (remedy, failure, discovery)
would move us forward more helpfully in discussing human emergent
Oct 21: Jan Trembley, Karen Greif, Jim Marshall, Mark Kuperberg,
Alan Baker, Anne Dalke, Ted Wong,
Doug Blank, Tim Burke, Al Albano, Paul Grobstein, Deepak Kumar,
Jason Coleman (13)