If the students know the english word then they learn

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Unformatted text preview: ds that are very 3 similar to English words. If the students know the English word then they learn the Spanish word more easily. For instance, the Spanish word barco which means boat is similar to the English word Barque, which is a kind of boat. Students who have this word in their English vocabulary learn the Spanish word more quickly than those who don’t. Bryan’s observations illustrate the benefit to learning when previously learned concepts and skills can be used to enhance the understanding of new material. Bryan’s example also illustrates that transfer depends on what students have learned previously, and may also explain some of the variation in students’ performances. Students who lack relevant prior knowledge are likely to perform less well compared to their more knowledgeable peers. There is also wide agreement that some forms of transfer of learning are difficult for students, and occur less often than we might want as teachers (Alexander & Murphy, 1999; Detterman, 1993; Stark, Mandl, Gruber, & Renkl, 1999). There are many instances when people miss opportunities or make mistakes because they fail to transfer what they’ve learned. Consider the experience of Bob Kennedy with the students in his 9th grade industrial arts class. ⇒ One project my students must complete is to use a blueprint for a shed to create a parts list. For some of the materials, such as shingles, sheathing and paint, the students need to use some basic geometry to determine the area to be covered. I know they’ve all learned how to calculate the areas of squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, and other shapes in their math classes, but for 4 some reason many of the students just don’t use these skills until they’re reminded. Bob Kennedy’s observation is not uncommon. People frequently just don’t notice that a previously learned concept or skill might be useful in a new situation until they are reminded. Much of the research on transfer has been directed at determining the factors that influence whether or not someone will transfer what he or she know at an appropriate time. By understanding these factors you can make it more likely that students will take advantage of what they know. We should also note that the effects of transfer on learning are not always beneficial. Sometimes people attempt to apply an inappropriate concept or skill resulting in slower performance or out-right mistakes. Consider Mary Eddistone’s experience teaching 6th grade mathematics. ⇒ Many of my students have trouble with negative numbers. Specifically when they are asked to subtract a larger number from a smaller number they get the sign wrong. When I ask them to explain how they got their answer, it was clear that they are so used to subtracting the smaller number from the bigger number that they don’t even pay attention to how the problem is written. You may have noticed in each of the preceding examples that the learners were dealing with a problem situation. Tra...
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