Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chapter 10: Content-Area Learning

The discussion from Chapter 10 around the differences between experts and novices is interesting. Research has found that problem solving strategies are the same for both. However, experts and novices differ in how they approach problems. An expert will use facts, concepts, and learning strategies from different domains, whereas, a novice will work backwards to solve the problem.  This discussion reminds me of the time when I worked in sales.  I noticed that new sales employees worked differently than the people who had been in the field for a few years. However, both the new employees and the seasoned ones were successful. I had not been exposed to a contrast like this before and this chapter explains how the success of both is possible. Speaking of success, if an expert is described as knowing the facts, concepts, and principles behind his or her field, then why don’t we spend more time on math concepts in school. In my mind, learning the concept(s) behind the Pythagorean Theorem and how the theorem can be applied in real-life is the key to moving students toward the expert level. Focusing only on the formula will keep them forever at the novice level. Do you agree?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chapter 9: Neuroscience

Constructivist theory suggests that the motivation for certain behaviors comes from the “anticipation” of a reward in contrast to “receiving” the reward. This theory goes on to suggest that when a reward is consistently received for competent behaviors the motivation to continue the behavior is maintained.  I consistently find that my anticipation for a reward motivates me to continue behaviors that will help me achieve that reward (i.e. getting a paycheck).  In addition, the anticipation is much more pronounced when I am anticipating the reward (i.e. dreaming about what I’ll do with the money). When the reward arrives my emotions go back to neutral.  My daughter does the same thing.  The anticipation for the reward of going to Six Flags for good grades keeps my daughter focused and excited long before the event.  When the “reward” day comes, she’s back to a neutral emotional state.  Do you have any examples of being motivated to behave in a certain way in anticipation of a reward?