Expert-Novice Gap (1)

This is the title of one interesting chapter in G. Wiggins’ and J. McTighe’s book Understanding by Design that had me thinking (like all chapters, but I will post as  read).

“Our work as designers is complicated by the gap between expert and novice. What we as adults understand and appreciate seems of self-evident value and interest. But to the student the same idea can seem opaque, abstract- without meaning or value.

(Thus)… in addition to knowing our subject we need to know the students – know what will need uncoverage from THEIR point of view. “

I won’t elaborate much but I think it is one of the most difficult tasks we have as teachers. The very breadth (and presumably depth) of our knowledge can act as a barrier to understanding the struggle a student might experience or the lack of interest some students show. It is challenging to assume what might trigger curiosity, to anticipate what might be too complex or confusing to a wide range of learners, and to set all this against curricular requirements.

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