Knowledge v. Application

One question that really stuck out to me during our class on Monday was the idea of which is more important for teachers to teacher their students, knowledge or application.  Well, funny thing is, this was exactly what was talked about at my Professional Learning Community (PLC) at Appoquinimink High School, where I do my student teaching observation, so it was interesting to see what professionals in the education community thought about what we talked about in the classroom.

I was given a handout, from the leader of the PLC about the four levels of learning.  The goal of teaching is therefore to get students to the fourth stage of learning, which was under discussion because apparently very few teachers get students there.  The steps in order from lowest to highest are:

1. Recall

2. Represent

3. Analyze/Reason

4. Apply

To break that down even further, recall is simply students being able to remember and recall information.  Represent is that students can recall the information but also represent it in their own words or ways.  Analyze and Reason means that students can make new insights about the content that they are learning, and finally the final step is application.

Professionals do think that application is the most important things that they can teach their students, but this seminar also admitted that this is not typically done by the teachers.  With respect to knowledge, it definitely wasn’t underestimated.  It was said many times that knowledge is absolutely necessary for students to move on.  Application cannot be achieved if students do not have the knowledge to apply it.

It was very interesting to have teachers in the field own up to not doing their job perfectly.  We talked about ways that teachers in each field can try to get all the students in the classroom doing application level assignments at least once in each unit.  I just thought it was very interesting to get a professional insight into what we were talking about.

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