Just the Facts? ‘Common Core’ says, ‘Not Necessarily’

Published on May 12, 2013

Called “constructivism” in the field of psychology, this theory of learning says that students are not simply passive vessels for receiving knowledge. Instead they are active participants who construct knowledge as part of the process of making it their own. Acquired knowledge acts as sort of a mental Velcro attracting and holding new knowledge until it can be integrated into an ordered mind. Without a foundation of factual knowledge, new information is assimilated poorly, slipping easily from the mind as soon as it enters.

If the goal of our schools is to create “lifelong learners” we have to understand how learning occurs. We cannot afford to disdain the learning of facts simply because we have access to those facts via technology. To do so would be to fail to set the foundation for future learning. In the jargon of today’s educator, we can do little “critical thinking” unless we have something (that’s ours) to think about.

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