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.
- Spring '08