October 27, 2013
A quick, Sunday post.
“Transfer of learning occurs when learning in one context enhances a related performance in ANOTHER context. “ (David N. Perkins, Harvard Graduate School of Education)
1. Transfer is not ordinary learning.
Although “learning” as a psychological phenomenon does embed a minimal change (cognitively speaking) it differs from “transfer” in that it does not extend beyond its original context. Example: a student may show certain grammar skills on the English test (ordinary learning) but not in everyday speech (the hoped-for transfer). The student may solve the problems at the end of the chapter (ordinary learning) but not similar problems when they occur mixed with others at the end of the course (the hoped-for transfer).
2. Near versus far transfer.
Near transfer refers to transfer between very similar contexts. Example: in an exam the student solves similar types of problems s/he has previously practiced.
Far transfer implies application of knowledge and skills to problems or domains that seem remote (e.g. math and art, math and architecture etc.).
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July 27, 2013
EVERYTHING SHOULD BE MADE AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE, BUT NOT SIMPLER.— (possibly – sic!- Albert Einstein)
Critical thinking. It is perhaps the second most used phrase these days (first being “creativity”). Everyone uses it, especially in the context of (can I smile here?) “21st-century skills” ideology. I am always intrigued by two categories of things: those that everyone seems to agree on – the obvious, the visible, the collective agreement, the mainstream, the trend – and the those that few seem to question – the hidden, the assumed, the overlooked, the forgotten.
As such I started reading and rereading. Among other articles, one caught my eye: Common Misconceptions of Critical Thinking. Because I do not want to simplify the issue I urge you to read it in full (and because the original PDF is quite difficult to read due to formatting I made a new one – see below).
The authors begin by deconstructing the three main views on critical thinking – as skills (the most widely-held), as mental processes and as procedures (these found at the more pragmatic level, that is, in teaching strategies we employ).
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