Willingham on Background Knowledge and Its Impact on Critical Thinking Processes (Coursework Sample)
research on What the background knowledge/unifying ideas in subject areas that the client will need to teach students before they can do critical thinking in that subject
i had to Consider the principles of constructivism as i developed the response
How does this research reflect the principles of constructivism, disequilibrium (Piaget), and the Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky)
Willingham on Background Knowledge and Its Impact on Critical Thinking Processes
This coursework concerns itself primarily with the work of Willingham, specifically his views on background knowledge and its impact on critical thinking processes as illuminated in his book “Why don't students like school?” The main supporting material will be from Prof. Moreno’s 2010 book, “Educational Psychology”.
One of Willingham’s (2009) principles is that one needs knowledge to learn, it is impossible to incorporate new knowledge without having some prior knowledge gleaned from previous experience. One can conclude that the more we know, the easier and more we can learn. Any teaching efforts must have some relation to the state of the learner's knowledge. By knowing the state of the learner's prior knowledge, can we map a path for learning into the course for the learner. (Hein, 1998)
Willingham implores teachers to make deep knowledge the spoken and unspoken emphasis. They should instill “deep structure”, that is, the classroom should pursue deep knowledge and meaning. To do so, teachers must structure assignments and questions that force students toward achieving meaning, instead of normal fact-retrieving questions.
To complete this coursework, I will answer the following three questions.
1 Willingham states that critical thinking processes are tied to background knowledge – that students must first learn foundational information before they can be expected to think critically about the material. He also states that “students must learn the concepts that come up again and again – the unifying ideas of each discipline.” Think of examples where this will be true in your teaching. What are the background knowledge/unifying ideas in subject areas you will teach that students will need before they can do critical thinking in that subject?
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