Chapter 3

# Schemata form as learners abstract the common

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Unformatted text preview: ve knowledge people have in a particular domain or area (Anderson, 1990). Schemata form as learners abstract the common elements of their multiple experiences with similar events, forming a representational category described by those common structural elements. For example, after multiple experiences with eating in restaurants, learners often form a schema for restaurant eating that captures the general nature of that event. Their schema contains ideas such as you need to be seated, you need to order, and you need to pay. Similarly, after multiple experiences with mathematical story problems, a schema or schemata may form for the types of problems that occur frequently. Additional characteristics of schema include the following: • Schemata may be as small as a single idea or as large as several interconnected ideas (Marshall, 1990). For example, you may have a schema for your pet cat or for cats as a general category of animals that includes house cats, tigers, lions, leopards, etc. • One schema can become part of another schema, and schemata can interconnect (Schallert, 1982). For example, as you learn more about teaching, your schema for lesson planning may include or be connected to your schema for classroom management or for assessing students’ learning. • As we have more and more experiences with the same event, our schema for that event become richer and more detailed (Schallert, 1982). Manuscript 9/28/03 14 • Schemata are flexible. Because they store the general nature of an event, they can be applied to understanding varying examples of that event (Marshall, 1990). For example, if we form a schema for eating in fast food restaurants, we find we understand what to do pretty much in any fast food restaurant. Several variety of schemata have been proposed. Schemata that store information from our experiences with naturally occurring objects are called natural categories (Gagne, Yekovich, and Yekovich, 1993). Natural categories are often hierarchically organized with other schemata and store information about perceived regularities in our experiences with members of the category (Rosch, Mervis, Gray, Johnson, and BoyesBraem, 1976). Our schemata (concepts) for plants and animals are typically natural categories deried from our personal experiences. Teachers can help learners acquire natural categories for either concrete or abstract ideas by providing them with many examples from a category as part of a lesson. Consider how Margaret Howe helps her students develop a natural category for geometric shapes. ⇒ I begin my unit on geometric shapes with the concept of polygons. First I give them a definition, and then show them a variety of examples, such as squares, triangles, and pentagons. For each example we discuss how it fits the definition. I also provide the students with some non-examples such as circles or ellipses and ask them to explain why they don’t fit the definition. Schema for events are called scripts (Schank and Abelson, 1977). As with natural categories we form t...
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## This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014 for the course EPS 324 at N. Arizona.

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