Educational Psychology 101
Peter Papilos 2273207
First Essay ??“ Due 230401
EDST 1101 ??“ Educational Psychology
Tutor ??“ Slava Kayluga
There a few articles involved when discussing instruction, cognitive structure and development. Some of these are the various models that portray the overall outlook of cognition, the assorted experiments used to show that human cognitive architecture has some weaknesses but to these weaknesses there are many ways of overcoming them. And the last article involved is how we can use this information effectively, putting it to the best possible use.
There are two ways of viewing human cognitive architecture: the biological style and the computer style. The biological style views memory much like a neural network, where memory is distributed and information is spread over many locations.
The computer methodology is highly defined, placing single memory in a specific storage location much like data on a hard disk. Memory is discrete and has its own space. There is process of encoding, re-coding, storage and retrieval.
What you may ask is ???how is this related to human cognitive architecture??™
The modal model is the basic format of cognitive architecture. It consists of three major components: Sensory Memory (SM), Working Memory (WM) and Long Term Memory (LTM). In the biological style SM filters into WM where information is rehearsed until it is learnt then it is stored in memory. In the computer style SM encodes, WM re-codes and LTM is the storage.
I hold that the computer comparison is very resourceful and solid. It has an unwavering contrast and it is very effective in putting across its correlation to human cognitive architecture.
In SM there are two registers: the visual and auditory registers.
They both have limitations. Sperling (1960) tested the visual register.
He found that people could remember around three items out of twelve. All twelve items are registered, but due to the limitations on how much we can recall, we lose around seventy-five percent of what we see.
But the other thing we must keep in mind is that what we see is not processed it is simply sensed.
Darwin, Turvey and Growder (1972) tested the auditory register.
They gave people three lists of letters and numbers simultaneously through some headphones. They found that people hold audio material in their SM up to six times longer than visual material. This is good because it gives less chance of forgetting. Main disadvantage of the audio register is that you can not go back and ???re-hear??? something, the same way you can go back and re read something.
But in both cases we do not process for meaning, they are only symbols.
WM is basically consciousness. What we know at any one moment in time is that which is in our WM. There are many limitations on WM. One is the bottleneck limitation; another is the limited resources limitation and the overload limitation and duration and capacity limitations.
By selectively focusing attention students remember more important information; this overcomes the bottleneck limitation.
Some ways of getting around these problems are automation, chunking and rehearsal.
Automation is having a schema and practicing it enough times until it is no longer required to think about it, putting less strain and burden on WM.
Chunking refers to the piling together of information into meaningful chunks so that you can have the maximum number of chunks (Miller ??“ The magic number seven plus or minus two) with as much information as possible in each chunk.
Rehearsal is used to keep information in WM.
There was an experiment that put rehearsal to the test (Peterson and Peterson ??“ 1959)
Basically they got people to remember three unrelated letters off by heart. Then they made them count backwards from one hundred in threes. Not many people got past eighty. What this means is that because the people did not rehearse counting back in threes from one hundred, they could not do it.
It is through practice and rehearsal that we can build up our cognitive structures. It begins when we are born and it does not stop. We assimilate and accommodate throughout our lives. There are two theories ??“ both Piaget??™s ??“ The General and the Stage theory.
Baddeley??™s model showed how we could increase WM capacity by presenting material through both channels. Thus removing certain strains from WM, reducing the possibility of overload.
Ericsson Chase and Faloon (1980) tested memory capacity by taking a man that loved running and studied him for a year. They made him remember numbers. The results concluded Miller (The magical number seven); he remembered seven numbers. The main aim of the experiment was to get the individual to increase the span of seven. Results after one year ??“ the individual could remember up to eighty numbers.
This was possible because the individual loved running records, all he had to do was to translate the numbers into his already well established knowledge base. This relates to constructivism.
The two areas that the above information affects are teaching and learning.
In order to instruct correctly, utilising the facts we now know about the structure and development of young minds, we must somehow incorporate or integrate these into the way we educate and into what we educate.
We can do this a number of ways: by matching activities with student??™s current level of knowledge, design practice of subjects studied regular and varied. We (as teachers) can strategically distribute information-processing load across both channels. We can come to understand that students are flexible and adaptive, break difficult tasks into smaller easier tasks and help students to be more strategic, identify important information and use prior knowledge to expand their cognitive structures.
Because students do not understand how they learn and teachers do, we must avoid certain implications that might impede their learning. Because they are not in complete control of the information they are processing the teacher must set out the material in a certain way so as to avoid any further implications in the child??™s study.
These implications include use of prior knowledge, perception/attention, data limitations, helping children ???manage their own resources??™ and information processing.
Prior knowledge is very important; what we already know greatly affects what we see and hear and how we interpret new information.
Our ability to process new information is not fixed; automaticity greatly expands our ability to do two things at once; this correlates to the garden hose metaphor: where there is no way of increasing the diameter of the hose, but you can increase how much water flows through it.
If a child??™s attention is not focused because there is too much new information coming in then learning is limited. When a child has to make up it??™s own inferences and has to bridge knowledge gaps this adds strain to WM.
Good learners are self-regulated; so if we as teachers can help children manage their own resources and use appropriate knowledge, strategy and motivation then they can help themselves reducing the burden on WM.
By using the WM system more effectively students may actually process more info with less burden.
In culmination, there are two views of human cognitive architecture: the biological and the computational, I give credence to the computer metaphor. There are also many limitations on how we sense, think and remember material. I have discussed these issues and have made suggestions on how to overcome them. I will not give an overview here, simply due to word count constraints. But it is fairly obvious that in order to be a virtuous instructor one must take into account at all times the pressure that is placed on people??™s minds and to understand how they think so as to take advantage and properly instruct.
???Perception is apt to be no better than the knowledge base that supports it.???
Bruning et al (1999)