Learning in Three Dimensions or More 2

I assume that typical children come to classrooms with some sort of knowledge related to the facts/skills they will be taught. The parents might have taught them to count.  The children observed the parents counting money or writing checks.  The children saw sale signs spread all over stores.  Moreover, when those children leave the classroom the same signs, symbols they were exposed before are now perceived in different context.  There are many micro elements in the environment that  allow typical students  to generalize and practice the skills by  adjusting  them flexibly to different contexts. THE BEFORE and THE AFTER of the  lesson are integral part of that lesson.

I don’t believe there is a “BEFORE ”  that prepares Robert for a particular lesson and I don’t believe that any  “AFTER” plays the same role in Robert’s learning as it plays in typical children’s schooling.

This is not exactly what I meant.  Robert might posses some relevant information, but his teachers (or I) don’t have the access to it, so we cannot use it to support teaching him.  And that  also might be the case with Robert applying the newly gained information to interpret his world. How appropriate is that interpretation and where it leads Robert can be impossible to understand.

I  was often afraid to start teaching something new to Robert, because I suspected that he had never had any experience which  I could use as a reference point and support his learning this way.

That led me to   the multilayered teaching.  Almost every day I teach Robert something he is not ready to fully (and sometime even partly) understand.  This part supposed to expose Robert to new concepts.  I do most of the talking (Although I do not talk  much as too many sounds  interfere with learning.) I show the proper answers and explain why they are correct.  I don’t ask questions, although often/sometimes  I leave a room for Robert to finish my answers. I don’t expect Robert to learn and use the skills later.  I do expect him to later recognize some of the same concepts as  vaguely familiar, more familiar, very familiar. So we might do the same or similar worksheets many times, but not on the same day. For reasons I don’t understand, doing the same page many times during the same session doesn’t improve Robert’s retention of the material, the way repeating it over a few days period does.

Then there are sessions for “typical” teaching/learning. We practice the same skills for a few days or a few weeks using  almost the  same approach with almost the same wording.

Finally, Robert practices using his newly gained knowledge to solve problems presented in new contexts and with a small changes in presentation.   That is why I use many curricula to teach the same skills. They present the same tasks in slightly different forms, in different order, or with different language and thus allow for flexible application and generalization of the skills.

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