Friday, April 08, 2011

building on a base of knowledge

If you understand the concept of scaffolding, you will also understand a few of the basic principles suggested in early pedagogy. Followers of Pestalozzi including Otto Salomon, laid their principles out as follows:
Move from the known to the unknown, from the easy to the more difficult, from the concrete to the abstract, and from the simple to the complex, building upon the interests of the child.
Today, I am launching myself on a learning adventure in that this is (for me) the first day of "Turning around America." Beth Ireland arrives today and we are planning a bit of time in the Clear Spring School wood shop in preparation for tomorrow's demonstration and hands-on learning at ESSA. Saturday, 9-4 PM!!!

When you already know something about a subject, you are in the best position to learn more. And so I am looking forward to what I can learn from Beth to supercharge my own learning (and teaching) as she takes her turn teaching my kids and in my community. I expect my students to learn a few things as they already have time invested in the lathe. I will learn even more, because I have even greater time invested in building my own knowledge working and teaching on the lathe. Get it?

We have a few things backwards in education in the US. If you go to a university, they will first present the theorem, then present the proof. The assumption is that what they present is true, and yet, it is difficult for students to integrate knowledge without experiential foundation for it's support. Bruner, Pea and others have described that as scaffolding, a construct that supports advancement in learning.

In teacher's colleges, students should start with practice teaching on day one. In chemistry students should start in the lab. What is there about this that people have so much difficulty understanding? In other words, I am here to present an otherworldly notion.

Make, fix and create. Do first, learning follows.

1 comment:

Chris Sagnella said...


I am envious of the time that you'll get with Beth Ireland. I watched some of her videos on line and she seems like a wonderful teacher.

Have fun. I hope you and your students enjoy yourselves.