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By Nicholls Gill

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Extra info for Learning to Teach: A Handbook for Primary & Secondary School Teachers

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One of the most fundamental problems which pupils have in learning is that of transfer: the transfer of knowledge between domain and/or contexts. There are two well-known teaching approaches to help with transfer. The first is to teach children < previous page page_47 next page > < previous page page_48 next page > Page 48 very specific strategies for solving specific types of tasks. Brown (1981) found that this sort of teaching produced little transfer. However, more recently Cristafi and Brown (1986) found that when there was some variety in the original teaching materials, and the teaching included a specific generalization element that emphasized the underlying target (the reasons that make the strategy useful), then pupils showed a reasonable degree of transfer, within the specific type of problem.

Using these theories educators have considered the implications for teaching and learning for a range of aspects of education. The following are important to consider if our pupils are to achieve effective learning: < previous page page_42 next page > < previous page page_43 next page > Page 43 • stages in cognitive development; • ages and education levels of pupils; • existing preconceptions; • prior knowledge; • influence of the learning environment; • social influence and cognition; • children's attitudes towards learning, fellow pupils and themselves; • influence of literacy and numeracy skills.

As we know there are still many examples of such teaching strategies today, but this theory did not take account of the stages in the intellectual development of all children nor the effects on learning of such factors as the learning context and the social milieu. Piaget It was Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist who studied the development of children for more than 40 years (Piaget and Inhelder, 1969), whose theory presents, in detail, specific universal stages in human development and provides a possible explanation connected with when and how a child is ready to learn or develop specific forms of knowledge and understanding.

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