Evidence of Understanding

Topics: Knowledge, Understanding, Perception Pages: 10 (3741 words) Published: September 6, 2013

Evidence of Understanding


Unoma Chanda Ashibuogwu

Table Of Content
1. Introduction ----------------------------------------------------------4 2. My concept of understanding----------------------------------------4 3. Research Focus-------------------------------------------------------5 3.1 Data Collection----------------------------------------------6 3.2 Observations------------------------------------------------7 3.4 Research Summary-----------------------------------------8 4. Conclusion------------------------------------------------------------9 5. References-----------------------------------------------------------11 6. Appendices------------------------------------------------------------12

When teaching a topic on fractions to my year 2 pupils in the 3rd term I had almost taken it for granted that they would remember the prior information they had on fractions as we had treated it in the first term but I found out this was not always the case. This led me to discover that while the whole class knew what fractions were only a handful actually understood that fractions involved sharing objects and not just being able to colour in worksheets on diagrams of halves and quarters. This helped me discover that as a teacher I needed to be sure understanding had taken place in my class because ‘new understanding performances are built on previous understandings and new information provided by the instructional setting’(Perkins,1997). I realised that while the higher ability children understood fractions as being part of a whole number of objects the lower ones saw fractions as no more than the shapes they had coloured in their books. This made me realise that the concept of fractions was quite different for each individual in my class and as such I needed to discover how they were able to express their understanding. My focus in this exercise was to investigate the ways in which I could see some sort of evidence that a concept had been understood in my classroom. Was it by verbal explanations only when the child is able to talk about the mental representations(Perkins,1997) they have formulated in their mind or was it by performance(Perkins,1997)only when the child is able to carry out an activity based on the mental representations formed or by a combination of the two in which they would be able to use the knowledge gained flexibly ?

2.My concept of understanding
Understanding, intelligence and knowledge are three very closely related concepts which usually occur simultaneously in education but not in all cases. Gaining knowledge is very different from understanding as far as I am concerned because if knowledge gained cannot be applied and used flexibly in real life situations then complete understanding has not taken place in the individual. Intelligence has been defined as ‘a general ability that is found in varying degrees in all individuals.(Gardner,1993:14)’. This must mean that an individual’s level and type of intelligence will affect that individual’s ability to gain the knowledge that is required to get proper understanding of a concept. To quote David Perkins , understanding is defined as the ability ‘’to think and act flexibly with what one knows’’(Perkins,1997:40).It has also been stated that ‘…..understanding is in essence the reshaping of old knowledge in the light of new ways of seeing things’( Barnes,1992:125) .Since thinking is an internal process that goes on in the human mind this means then that if an individual cannot interpret and act on or build on the knowledge of a new concept or activity then that concept has not been fully understood. Understanding, to me, is therefore internal and mental (representational )(Perkins,1997) but should be manifested through human activity(performance)(Perkins,1997) as well. I believe understanding...

References: 1. Barnes, D. (1992)The Role of talk in learning. In Norman K. (ed)Thinking Voices. The Work of the National Curriculum Project London: Hodder and Stoughton
2. Black, P
3. Gardner,H(1993)’A Rounded Version’from Multiple Intelligences the theory in practice.New York: Basic Books
6. Maybin l., Mercer, N., Stierer, B (1992) Scaffolding learning in the classroom. In Norman K.(ed) Thinking Voices.The Work of The National Curriculum Project London: Hodder and Stoughton
7. Perkins, D
10. Vygotsky Lev (1978) Mind and Society . Cambridge Massachusettes, Harvard University Press.
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