Use of context is important therefore because it

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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. Working Memory 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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