Friday, February 06, 2009

Followup on Alfie Kohn and Content Knowledge

Dan Willingham, a cognitive psychologist, has a critique of Alfie Kohn's educational writings; Kohn responds here.

In an earlier post, Willingham explains why content knowledge can't be separated from critical thinking skills, and Robert Pondiscio follows up on that point with a hilarious discussion of an experiment in which children were unable to figure out that a "tree octopus" website was fake.



Blogger Michael Drake said...

Interesting. I'd guess that by abstracting away from content too much or too early we also lose a lot of the reasoning value added by our natural, innate inferential processes. It's a lot easier for a child (or an adult, for that matter) to reason from a concrete (and therefore easy to remember) case than it is to identify concrete cases that are governed by an abstract (and probably easy to misremember) rule. (Consider in this respect the Wason selection task.) Time enough later in life to get a little more sophisticated about the conditions under which natural inference tends to go wrong.

8:58 AM  

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