Facts Before Critical Thinking
|Above copied from Vehra Fonte's Facebook page|
Presumably, this learning material is an attempt to teach students the virtues of the Aquino administration. Interestingly, this has backfired.
But seriously, what facts need to be taught? The answer to this question depends on the discipline or domain. In chemistry, facts about the atoms are essential. In biology, there is a central dogma. And, of course, in mathematics, there are arithmetic facts. These facts need to be taught, and ideally with examples of how these are connected to each other. These important facts need to be taught with meaning. And it is never too early to introduce to young minds how we think about these facts.
Agarwal from the Washington University in St. Louis recently published a paper in the Journal of Educational Psychology with the following abstract.
With a quick glance at the above abstract, it may seem that Agarwal has just disproved Willingham's principle of "Factual knowledge must precede skill". However, one must consider that Agarwal's study is confined to reading comprehension. The work simply looks at how students fare in tests that are based on reading eight passages adapted from eight books included in the “Taking Sides” McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Series. This is obviously not chemistry, not mathematics, not biology. It is not about a body of knowledge or discipline, but only about reading comprehension.