How Do Children Know What They Know?by: Brenda Bradshaw and Roberta J. Aram

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New teachers often enter the classroom with a general knowledge of what they can expect in a particular age group of children, but they quickly discover, usually by trial and error, precisely what their students actually know and can do. In the following activity (taken from a site-based science methods course for elementary teacher candidates), teacher candidates interviewed various elementary students about a basic science concept to uncover the “everyday” understandings or prior knowledge children bring to the classroom.

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Reviews (2)
  • on Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:52 PM

The article was about how children come into the classroom with prior knowledge for science concepts, and it's the teacher's job to figure out how to tap into that prior knowledge. The professor who wrote the articles were assessing their teacher-candidates during a fieldwork assignment. The candidates learned to evaluate what their students' had already compiled regarding their science knowledge. Once the candidates understood how to determine their students’ current level of science understanding, the candidates by planned and taught a lesson in the classroom. It's essential for teachers to understand their students because this allows teachers to facilitate connections between new material and the prior knowledge of the student. I appreciated that the article provided real-life applications in ways to tap into a students' everyday science knowledge. It was an interesting experience that can help other teachers figure out ways to understand how children know what they know.


  • on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:11 PM

it was a positive experience to listen to the trial and errors this teacher encountered in order to get to know her students better. The assignment helped her realize her students had a basic understanding that can potentially mature.

Nathalie Rojas  (miami, fl)
Nathalie Rojas (miami, fl)

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