Knowing The Learner Chapter 2 Review

A Renewal of Education Forums Active Conversations Knowing The Learner Chapter 2 Review

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Paul Zachos 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #1294

    Ptaylor1994
    Keymaster

    Hello All, here are my thoughts on chapter 2
    Feelings
    This chapter was good, but a little harder to get through. It’s starting to get into the realm of “Academic Text” which, while educational, is often difficult to get through. I was also confused by a number of things in my first readthrough of the chapter, though I feel I have a better understanding after my second go around. There were a few sections which I thought were very good and really grabbed my attention, like “Assessment: the means for answering question 2”. Overall, I still liked the reading, but I would start to have concerns if reading this in a non-professional setting.

    Questions
    I have no idea what the chart on page 17 was supposed to mean and it just confused me.
    What is the example in “Make it Stick”? I understand it has something to do with a hunter and a doctor, but don’t see how that applies to the discussion of skills and how they relate to concepts.
    I’m not sure I understand the difference between disposition vs traits. It is mentioned that the distinction is nebulous, but if you gave me a list to separate into one column or the other I am doubtful I could do it.
    If I am understanding, concepts are parts of skills and skills are part of dispositions. Is that correct?

    Problems
    Why do we use learning goals instead of intended learning outcomes? This chapter specifically touched upon the importance of precise and consistent language
    While not a problem per say, I believe that Skills Concepts and Dispositions should be added to the summary page.
    Maybe it is just my background, but I found the economics example with disposition difficult to follow. I kind of get it but had to go over the section many times. I found no value in the section about it being referred to as a “dismal science” and the reasoning behind that moniker; on a first reading I thought this was a core part of understanding disciplines but after review it seems to be an unnecessary side note.

    Other.
    Artistic aptitude is listed as an innate trait, which I wholeheartedly disagree with. Artistic aptitude is more of a learned skill, just as much as aptitude with typing or open mindedness. One could make an argument that there are no traits beyond the strictly physical. Is extroversion not a combination of valuing social interaction, habits of being talkative and open, etc… You mention that there are no hard and fast boundaries, but I would argue that there are no real boundaries at all. Looking over this I would not be able to define whether something was a trait or disposition.
    The example with cubes and liquids helped me understand concepts, skills and dispositions more after initial confusion.
    “Instruction can be thought of the artistic function in education” – According to the earlier statement, wouldn’t that make an aptitude for teaching be a trait rather than a disposition?
    “Education is not what teachers do, its what the student learns” – I like this quote a whole lot, its one of those short phrases that really packs a punch and gives a great overview of what we are doing.
    I would reorder “The Contexts of Educational Activities” to Settings, Programs, Activities, Events since that more closely matches their relations. The current order seems mismatched.

  • #1302

    Monica De Tuya
    Moderator

    Hi Patrick,
    I have specific to pieces of your content where I was particularly excited, curious etc. about what you had to say (please see more of that below). But in general, I would like to say that I liked the format of your response, I feel that it prompted a lot of challenges from you – and I mean that in a good way. I sense that you are really digging in to this material, thinking it over, making connections, and confronting the material when it doesn’t fit or doesn’t connect. I am not surprised. I feel like I went through the same struggles. Still do. We are working in a realm that is so beautifully complex and interwoven across disciplines, infused with politics, and wrought with emotion – but perhaps most challenging, working with the insides and outsides of humans. There is a complexity there that is daunting. And yet, it is my belief that the concepts and guidance through KTL brings simplicity and clarity to that complexity. For example, each time I read this chapter, my attention is drawn to the same thing: the 3 questions that reveal the essence of the educational processes. In this way, it is made so simple for me. This is not to diminish the very real, reasonable and important dilemmas you bring up. I guess the point I am making is that this work is, at the very same time, both simple and complex, if that is even possible!

    Here are my specific responses:

    “Overall, I still liked the reading, but I would start to have concerns if reading this in a non-professional setting.”

    I am curious as to what type of concerns. E.g. Comprehension? Feeling the value of the text? Loosing interest?

    “If I am understanding, concepts are parts of skills and skills are part of dispositions. Is that correct? ”

    This is great! What IS the relationship between the three domains of learning? How/do they overlap? How/do they lead from one to the other?

    “Artistic aptitude is listed as an innate trait, which I wholeheartedly disagree with. Artistic aptitude is more of a learned skill, just as much as aptitude with typing or open mindedness…..Looking over this I would not be able to define whether something was a trait or disposition.”

    I find this discussion similar to (and just as fascinating as) the discussions/arguments that have been held for decades about nature vs nurture. Being the highly complex organisms we are, and with science still struggling to understand aspects of our neurophysiology, neurochemistry, genetics, etc. – all of which play a part in both our traits and dispositions – how can ever untangle this? You might find the writings out there on fixed versus growth mindset interesting…and perhaps they even make this discussion more confusing, because they proclaim a direct effect that beliefs (dispositions) can have on our brains (fixed trait, presumably).

    “I would reorder “The Contexts of Educational Activities” to Settings, Programs, Activities, Events since that more closely matches their relations. The current order seems mismatched.”

    Yes, I see this. It also shows me that you get these concepts!

  • #1338

    Paul Zachos
    Moderator

    Hi Patrick,

    I like the way Monica selected portions of your review and commented on them. I will do the same. Also, I like the fact that you start with an expression of your feelings concerning your reading. It gives an added flavor to the review.

    In general my reaction to the criticisms that you have leveled is that they are valid and point to substantial improvements that could be made in the book. These should be considered if anyone wishes to update the book or carry its points further

    Let’s start with:

    “I have no idea what the chart on page 17 was supposed to mean and it just confused me.”

    This confusion is entirely my doing. I just wanted to give a flavor of what someone would find in Johnson’s Intentionality in Education. I must admit I have a tendency to place puzzles, anomalies and mysteries in the things that I write. My co-author Wil Doane is innocent regarding this particular example.
    ________________

    “What is the example in “Make it Stick”? I understand it has something to do with a hunter and a doctor, but don’t see how that applies to the discussion of skills and how they relate to concepts.”

    I am afraid that the whole section on the distinction between concepts, skills and dispositions is too highly abbreviated. A book could be devoted to this distinction and its significance for curriculum. The references to Brown et al (“Make it Stick”) and to Inhelder and Piaget are meant to lead the reader to works that have addressed the point in greater depth. Waldorf Educators have a simple, concrete way to make this distinction; they talk about head, hand and heart, respectively. The important point is that if we concentrate on only one or two of these two types of capabilities, we are not educating the full person. In general ,our mainstream educational institutions focus on learning goals that target knowledge (concepts), less so skills and only very slightly, dispositions. This is particularly true regarding the assessment of these capabilities. Many new initiatives are appearing in the field of educationfocused on social emotional learning are targeting what we call dispositions.
    _______________________________
    “Why do we use learning goals instead of intended learning outcomes? This chapter specifically touched upon the importance of precise and consistent language.”

    ‘Intended learning outcomes’ for me gets the idea across effectively. But it is too much of a mouthful and has a very technical feel to it. ‘As long as the idea of ILOs is grasped then ‘learning goals’ serves as a precise equivalent in ordinary and familiar language.

    ________________________
    .
    “Artistic aptitude is listed as an innate trait, which I wholeheartedly disagree with. Artistic aptitude is more of a learned skill, just as much as aptitude with typing or open mindedness. One could make an argument that there are no traits beyond the strictly physical. Is extroversion not a combination of valuing social interaction, habits of being talkative and open, etc… You mention that there are no hard and fast boundaries, but I would argue that there are no real boundaries at all. Looking over this I would not be able to define whether something was a trait or disposition.”

    I see enough problems with our presentation to not want to push the case further at this point. Thank you for the clarifications you have offered.

    ________________________

    “The example with cubes and liquids helped me understand concepts, skills and dispositions more after initial confusion.”
    Yay! Cubes & Liquids saves the day again!

    ____________________________

    “Instruction can be thought of the artistic function in education” – According to the earlier statement, wouldn’t that make an aptitude for teaching be a trait rather than a disposition?

    More problems with our distinctions. Thank you for pointing them out.
    ___________________________________

    “Education is not what teachers do, it’s what the student learns” – I like this quote a whole lot, it’s one of those short phrases that really packs a punch and gives a great overview of what we are doing.

    To be more precise I would say that education IS what teachers do, but only when they are acting to help students attain learning goals. ‘What the student learns’ is the outcome of education but only when educational activities have been successful. Thank you, Mauritz Johnson, for helping me to see how to think clearly about these things.
    ____________________________

    “I would reorder “The Contexts of Educational Activities” to Settings, Programs, Activities, Events since that more closely matches their relations. The current order seems mismatched”

    I would like to learn more about why you find the original order mismatched.

    ____________________________

    The Idea of organizing the review around Feelings, Questions and Problems, as you did has been very productive from my point of view. I would like to encourage its continuation.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.