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Cognitive_Apprenticeship

Cognitive_Apprenticeship - Cognitive Apprenticeship Making...

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Cognitive Apprenticeship: Making Thinking Visible This article has exercised a great influence on the 21st Century Learning Initiative's thinking. It originally appeared in the Winter, 1991 issue of American Educator , the journal of The American Federation of Teachers, and is reprinted here with permission. By Allan Collins, John Seely Brown, and Ann Holum In ancient times, teaching and learning were accomplished through apprenticeship: We taught our children how to speak, grow crops, craft cabinets, or tailor clothes by showing them how and by helping them do it. Apprenticeship was the vehicle for transmitting the knowledge required for expert practice in fields from painting and sculpting to medicine and law. It was the natural way to learn. In modern times, apprenticeship has largely been replaced by formal schooling, except in children's learning of language, in some aspects of graduate education, and in on-the-job training. We propose in alternative model of instruction that is accessible within the framework of the typical American classroom. It is a model of instruction that goes back to apprenticeship but incorporates elements of schooling. We call this model "cognitive apprenticeship" (Collins, Brown, and Newman, 1989). While there are many differences between schooling and apprenticeship methods, we will focus on one. In apprenticeship, learners can see the processes of work: They watch a parent sow, plant and harvest crops and help as they are able; they assist a tradesman as he crafts a cabinet; they piece together garments under the supervision of a more experienced tailor. Apprenticeship involves learning a physical, tangible activity. But in schooling, the "practice" of problem solving, reading comprehension, and writing is not at all obvious -- it is not necessarily observable to the student. In apprenticeship, the processes of thinking are visible. In schooling, the processes of thinking are often invisible to both the students and the teacher. Cognitive apprenticeship is a model of instruction that works to make thinking visible. In this article, we will present some of the features of traditional apprenticeship and discuss the ways it can be adapted to the teaching and learning of cognitive skills. Then we will present three successful examples -- cases in which teachers and researchers have used apprenticeship methods to teach reading, writing, and mathematics. In the final section we organize our ideas about the characteristics of successful teaching into a general framework for the design of learning environments, where "environment" includes the content taught, the pedagogical methods employed, the sequencing of learning activities, and
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the sociology of learning. Toward a Synthesis of Schooling and Apprenticeship Although schools have been relatively successful in organizing and conveying Iarge bodies of conceptual and factual knowledge, standard pedagogical practices render key aspects of expertise invisible to students. Too little attention is paid to the reasoning and strategies that
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