Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chapter 7 Thinking as Doing

Sorry it's late! 

“The current educational regime is based on a certain view about what kind of knowledge is important: ‘knowing that’ versus ‘knowing how’. This corresponds roughly to universal knowledge versus individual experience.”
We need to teach students how not that in order for them to gain the most knowledge. They need to know how to troubleshoot when the technology “isn’t doing what it is suppose to be doing.” I like Crawford’s example of computing a square root on a calculator, and not being about to recognize if the calculator computed it correctly or not.

“If thinking is bound up with action, then the task of getting an adequate grasp on the world, intellectually, depends on our doing stuff in it.” I know that I learn more if I actually do something rather than just being told or shown.

Overall, this chapter reminded me how important “doing” is in education. Providing these experiences will truly help our students. The more real life, hands on experiences we can give our students, the better, It also brought up the point of flexible thinking. If we refer/rely to the manual, engine light, and calculator as always having the correct information and not use our knowledge, we may be steered in the wrong direction. 


  1. I too was struck by the importance of past experiences over algorithms/instructions.

    Some quotes I found interesting that support this chapter's theme.

    "Practical know how, on the other hand, is always tied to the experience of a particular person. It can't be downloaded, it can only be lived" (Kindle page 161).

    "To know a hammer is not by staring at it, but by grabbing hold of it and using it" (Kindle page 163)

    "To really know shoelaces, you have to tie shoes" (Kindle page 164).

    Crawford's example of not really understanding square and square roots if you've only done them on the calculator hit home as that is what I'm currently working on this skill with my summer school students. I know that I sometimes say "Oh just learn the formula or do it on the calculator because it's more efficient". Such as squares/square roots or the algorithm for dividing fractions. This whole chapter reminded me of the importance of having students explore why mathematical principles are true and work with them for a deeper understanding.

  2. The thing about learning about "how to do something" not "what" means you can adjust and adapt over time. We still have "technology" in our Schools.... Hard Copy Encyclopedias for example that are completely outdated.... We also think we can "teach" our students stuff that doesn't exist. Google it! would have gotten you a bunch of crazy looks 10 years ago.

    *also no such thing as late if you change the date to retroactively post.

  3. Learning "how to do something" not "what":

    - Last year I was working with a student after school on some math homework. He was struggling with adding/subtracting integers (he understood the rules to multiply/divide). I showed him the rules I had learned, and would teach kids, and he seemed to catch on. Later that week, his math teacher approached me and thanked me for helping him, but told me that she introduces the rules after they learn to manipulate integers on the number line first. She wanted the kids to actually see what is happening, and why, and not just be using the "rules". Being a new teacher, I was happy to hear this and have stuck it in my "tool box" as I continue on my journey of teaching.

    - Our math curriculum has gone away from problem solving. My math students could do any math problem if it just has numbers and an operation. But if you give them a word problem, they will just add the numbers together 99% of the time, without stopping to think if addition was really what they needed to do.

    - In my high school Pre-Calculus class, our teacher was "mean" and didn't allow us to use calculators. I even learned how to do logarithms using a chart. At the time I wasn't happy. But now I sure am, because I learned how to do the math and not just rely on all the cool functions of the graphing calculator!

    - This fits great into a recent class I took on the reading/writing workshop model. Not too many years ago, my school district invested quite a bit of money into a reading program (it has a large anthology for kids, leveled readers, and more worksheets/workbooks than one could ever want). The program did give us a common language to use K-5, however we were trying to teach our students how to read and write through inauthentic experiences. To teach children how to read, you have to let kids read and have those experiences. You can't read an excerpt from a book that's in the big anthology, and then do a worksheet that tells you which strategy you should have applied while reading.

    Just some thoughts that came into mind while reading!

  4. The interesting thing to think about is the "That" is easily accessed on a smart phone throught the internet. Yet the "How" and the "doing" are not as easy...

    I just recently replaced my breaks... I was able to watch a video on you tube and follow the steps. How ever I was able to complete it.... but I had to redo it multiple times. I found the "that" and complete the "how" but not easily because I had no experience.