- Feb 2022
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Learning requires effort, because we have to think to understandand we need to actively retrieve old knowledge to convince ourbrains to connect it with new ideas as cues. To understand howgroundbreaking this idea is, it helps to remember how much effortteachers still put into the attempt to make learning easier for theirstudents by prearranging information, sorting it into modules,categories and themes. By doing that, they achieve the opposite ofwhat they intend to do. They make it harder for the student to learnbecause they set everything up for reviewing, taking away theopportunity to build meaningful connections and to make sense ofsomething by translating it into one’s own language. It is like fastfood: It is neither nutritious nor very enjoyable, it is just convenient
Some of the effort that teachers put into their educational resources in an attempt to make learning faster and more efficient is actually taking away the actual learning opportunities of the students to sort, arrange, and make meaningful connections between the knowledge and to their own prior knowledge bases.
In mathematics, rather than showing a handful of methods for solving a problem, the teacher might help students to explore those problem solving spaces first and then assist them into creating these algorithms. I can't help but think about Inventional Geometry by William George Spencer that is structured this way. The teacher has created a broader super-structure of problems, but leaves it largely to the student to do the majority of the work.