Friday, March 01, 2013

Reflection is Knowledge Transitivity

There are two renown researchers I encountered in my days doing writing modules in the university: Carl Bereiter and Marlene Scardamalia.
I can still remember their names and the article they wrote: It's on high road and low road writing. Low road writers engage in knowledge telling. High road writers engage in knowledge transformation. It is a theory that has so much meaning for me I have been able to think of teaching using this writing model. I have added a new dimension for myself: the sliproad from the low road to the high road is knowledge transitivity.

In the last 2 weeks, I have been a student. I have sat through class for most part of the day, as a student would. And at the end of the day, I have no time to think, reflect and consolidate my learning.

They move from lesson to lesson and after school ends, you are tired when you get home. You have homework to do, lessons to revise and tests to study for. Meanwhile many thoughts crosses my mind, there are some good ideas I think, but I have not the time to immediately document them. They will be lost.

Perhaps that is what our students go through. One lesson to another with just as much to cover, They have not the time to recollect and consolidate. They come to class the next day with general impressions. I could clarify those impressions into concrete concepts but that will take a lot of time to cover everyone and we will be sticking around the same topic for too long. As the teacher who has to cover the syllabus, I cannot afford to be off schedule. I need to move on. Yet I need them to know what is going on in the class. [Granted I am a mature student. I want time to reflect. It is possible that students left to themselves will not know what to reflect. Hence teachers exist to create worksheets and learning activities to facilitate reflective learning.]

The bad solution? "Teach" in the traditional didactic knowledge telling mode. My preferred solution, some form of time to consolidate learning is would be a form of knowledge transitivity.