Today kicks off the reading activities for our annual common read, which is How Learning Works by Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, and Norman. There are several ways to participate, including reading and reflecting on this series of blog posts. For more details, see our website.
One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about this reading is the way this book addresses concepts that I think I knew (instinctively or unconciously, perhaps), but I had not necessarily thought about how to address in specific ways through curriculum, course design, in-class activities, and assessment activities.
The first concept the authors present is "Students’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning" (13). Because we all work in disciplines with content knowledge, I would not be surprised if many examples of this came to mind as you read the chapter on this concept.
Below are a few questions for reflection on the first chapter and concept. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments (which is where I'll share my reflections as well).
- How do you gauge prior knowledge of students? What assumptions do you make about what they do or do not know when entering your courses?
- Do you use activities to “activate prior learning” (15)? What strategies might you recommend to your colleagues about this?
- What examples of inaccurate prior knowledge do you encounter in your courses? To what extent are they “isolated” or “integrated” misconceptions (24)?
- When you encounter integrated misconceptions or stereotypes, what strategies do you think best work to unseat, suppress, or replace them?