Saturday, July 30, 2016

Learning Theory: Scaffolding and Novice Misinformation

I recommend this article for a basis for thinking about the novice-expert split in college teaching.

Whether communication, psychology, economics, or physical sciences, our students come in with having been taught (a) too simplistically in high school about certain concepts (b) having bought into pop culture misinformation about advanced concepts, or (c) constructing their own mistaken knowlege, somehow.  We come to all learning with a set of knowledge and as stated here, if the set of knowledge is incorrect or has significant gaps, the instructor may miss the total point of teaching because they all aren't on a common footing.  I like to start even my basic public speaking class with a sense of where they understand the subject.

As someone who teaches adults in church, I see the same problem.  Biblical learning and theological knowledge can be very nuanced and complicated, so preachers have resorted to shorthand and those are embedded in our spiritual understandings.   Recognizing those, correcting those without being offensive and arrogant (very difficult to do even when we don't want to seem that way), and rebuilding a structure of understanding is a lot harder than realize. The problem is how much we "know" that isn't true.

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