The Importance of Frameworks to Learning
Reading time: 8 minutes
Teach your children to put what they’re learning into frameworks.
Frameworks are important. They act as the internal architecture for our brains, creating “rooms” for the information we receive. Most educators, even many who are well trained, fail to appreciate the importance of this. Without a framework, new information will be harder to input, quickly forgotten, or hard to retrieve when needed.
This is why, as an instructor, you don’t start or finish a lesson without providing a proper framework to the learner. Help them see the connections. Don’t assume the learner can figure this out.
For example, have you ever found yourself with a blank expression when another person started talking about new information, but without providing you context? At first, it’s confusing – you didn’t know where to put the information, or what to do with it.
The value of frameworks to learning date back to psychologist Jean Piaget, who first used the term schemas in the 1920s to describe the process of categorizing information into consistent patterns.
Schemas — or frameworks — help us retain new information by associating it in a structured, repeatable way with what we already know. We remember and recall information when it is tied to an existing latticework of knowledge. Even when we know this intuitively, we often forget to accommodate it when we explain things to others. It’s easier to find your watch if you put it on your night stand rather than if you put it in a roomless warehouse.
You will make your lessons more productive by beginning with context or a connection that already exists. It’s a good habit to start your lesson by briefly reviewing a prior lesson or another subject that relates to what you are about to teach. During your lesson, provide examples that use other ideas or subject areas that connect to what you are explaining.
Ask good questions that encourage the learner to connect this information to other things they know. This is where “compare and contrast” questions serve a useful purpose. They force the student to think about frameworks.
To make this concrete, after reading this, think about the next lesson you will be teaching. What will you say and do to tie it to the already existing information you child has?
In summary, as you teach a topic, provide comments that populate the framework you’ve created, making tweaks to your children’s’ existing understanding, and frequently relating the new information to what they already know. Develop the habit, before you begin each lesson, of thinking how you will help your student children connect this information to what they already have. Yes, and then, during your instruction ask those “compare and contrast” questions.
For more ideas, also see synthesizing information in Bloom’s Taxonomy.