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Unformatted text preview: avily influenced by the surrounding stimuli (the other
symbols) you identify as context. The middle symbol, “13” can be an “13” or the letter
“B.” Use of context is important, therefore, because it helps you identify appropriate prior
knowledge to use in perceiving the stimulus.
Selective perception is the critical first step in the processing of information.
What is learned depends on what is attended to, processed, and stored in memory. A
classroom experience that is similar to this perceptual activity is reading decoding. If you Manuscript 9/28/03 22 encounter the word “LEAD” in isolation on an index card, could you decode it? As
presented, there are actually several potentially correct responses. The only way to
determine the correct response is place the word in context. Try this instead, “The fishing
weight was made of lead.” By providing this context, you can select the correct decoding
from memory. The general implication for teachers is to make sure that students have
sufficient context to understand the information they are being presented or the problem
they are being asked to solve. For example, if terms are going to be used in specialized
ways that are unfamiliar to students, students need to know that these terms are used
differently in this context.
Students’ ability to recognize and apply context is dependent on their prior
knowledge. Try this sentence, “The man standing in the bows, tossed the lead and
shouted, “By the deep six.” In this situation, unless you know something about ships and
sailing you may not be able to interpret the pronunciation or meaning of the word “lead.”
When the context activates relevant prior knowledge, learners perception is guided by
top-down processing. When the context does not activate relevant prior knowledge from
the learner’s memory, perception occurs through bottom-up processing. Top-down
processing is in general faster and more efficient than bottom-up processing. For this
reason teachers should insure that learners are reminding of relevant prior knowledge at
the beginning of a lesson.
The next memory store in the information-processing model is the working
memory. Working memory is a memory store where information is temporarily
maintained while it is being used (Baddeley, 1990). The information stored in working Manuscript 9/28/03 23 memory may come from the selective perception of the outside world or through the
retrieval of information stored in long-term memory (Anderson, 1983). The working
memory is extremely important because it is where all the various processes that may be
considered “thinking” occur. For example, the comprehension processes you are using to
read this sentence are operating in working memory. In general, information that has
been selected from the sensory register for additional processing enters the working
memory where it can be analyzed using existing knowledge from long-term memory. It is
at this point that we consider informati...
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- Spring '08