Why This Blog? Why Now? Why This title?

I am no longer blogging under duress. This part remains true: I had a blog once and I lost the password...and then, I gave up. I really am not a giver-upper, but there is a point of diminishing returns to anything that takes energy, passion, and vision and yet, doesn't work out. So, off I go again, wish me luck! AND knock on wood I have had luck. And it is sort of fun.

P.S. Why this title? I read this phrase today 6/16, don't remember where. I liked it. I'm using it. I might change it. It may or may not have relationship to the content.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Anticipating the Hard Parts

This post is about part II of chapter 3, Working on the Hard Parts, in David Perkins' book " Making Learning Whole". I think a teacher at my school said it best, "Always do what you expect learners to be able to do, then you'll know what makes the learning hard...you'll know where the alligators are." Perkins describes these "hard parts" when he talks about understanding competing knowledge or complexity factors (pg 101). He calls them "potholes in the learning road" rather than alligators and names what teachers are really doing when they anticipate the hard parts..."creating a simple theory of difficulty". Back to my colleague, "Do what you expect learners to do and then you'll know what makes the learning hard. Use what you've discovered to plan your focus lessons." Some versions of constructivist learning theory might say, use your theory of difficulty to create a wide range of examples that challenge learners thinking in order for learners to build new understandings...construct new understandings on the backs of competing understandings being the connection here.

More grist for the mill about "playing the whole game". If the whole game is outside the grasp of learners at the moment,  resist the urge to drill and practice until they are ready to play the whole game...simply play a junior version of the whole game. My personal learning story about this has to do with bridge. I come from a dedicated bridge playing family. Family game night was bridge night. Christmas with my aunt and uncle was a bridge marathon. My introduction to bridge was not playing the experienced bridge player version of the game, nor was my introduction to the game counting endless cards, building and analyzing hands, or practicing clue laden conversations. My introduction to bridge was a game that was actually called "Bridge Jr."! This game was a highly scaffolded version of adult bridge, AND it was playing the game.

An important lesson when designing instruction...take you theory of difficulty, design some junior games and keep playing!

No comments:

Post a Comment