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?


  1. I agree with you, more time should be spent on teaching concepts and how they should be applied to real-life. As for the expert-novice theory, the chapter didn't explain how an expert gets to the point of being considered an expert, in my opinion, an expert at one point had to be a novice and with the right knowledge and strategies eventually becomes an expert. So yes, we need to teach them the basic concepts and also how to apply them to other areas.

  2. Ranea Molden’s Blog

    I agree Ranea. It is important as educators that we teach students not only how to use these theories but the method behind them as well. Children are not small adults but young minds ready to be molded. Every day they are learning new concepts and how they work in real life scenarios. If they understand why the concept was in place or why a theory was developed they will have a better understanding on how to use these theories and concepts in real life applications.

  3. Renae, I agree, I totally agree. One of the most important things I have learned from this class is that being able to from connections to everyday life really enhances learning. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, its like our brain is saying, you don’t need that get rid of it, but oh wait that kind of pertains to this other part of your life, you might want to hold onto it. I really wish my math teacher would have taken the approach you are talking about.