Making Meaning – Constructing Learning.

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If learning is about taking in the facts that someone else knows, then the only reason a pupil would  ever be wrong would be because he or she was taught incorrect facts. In essence, if learning really is simply a child  remembering what they’ve been taught then they would never get things wrong, would they? All teachers would need to do would be to teach ‘blar, blar, blar’ and then the child would know ‘blar, blar, blar,’ unless they forgot ‘blar, blar, blar of course.

The thing is, if learning is just remembering what you’re told, read or see then a child could not be taught ‘blar, blar, blar,’ and then come out with ‘yadder, yadder, yadder’, which unfortunately for us happens all the time. These mental errors occur because learners themselves make meaning from what we put before them and sometimes they arrive at the wrong meaning. Something happens between the teaching and the learning and we have to pay carefully attention to this space so that real meaning is made and misconceptions avoided.

Children make their own mental constructs out of what we teach, they do not just remember what we know and tell them. Because of this it is imperative that teachers facilitate,  in a very thoughtful way, children making their own meaning. This is why all our sweat over creating platforms for active, engaging learning is so important, along with all that scaffolding and questioning to stoke the meaning making and literally create those new neural connections in our children. It’s just not good enough to teach and hope osmosis will occur. We have to probe, check, question and be active ourselves too. We may wag our fingers at passive learners folks, but passive teaching (and/or parenting)  is likely to have come first.

For more detail on this go to Teacherstoolbox – an excellent site.

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