Variations on a Scheme: What You Learn Is What You Know

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(10), 721–723. Reviews the book, Schooling and the Acquisition of Knowledge edited by Richard C. Anderson, Rand J. Spiro, and William E. Montague (1977). The message in this book is that what learners already know exerts a profound influence on what they can learn. In order to turn this uncontroversial generalization into explicit proposals for instruction, it will be necessary to formulate precise, empirically supported statements about the organization, acquisition, development, retrieval, and use of knowledge, while concurrently developing procedures for mapping the external structure of the subject matter onto the internal mental structure of the learner. The view that old knowledge influences the acquisition of new poses a puzzle when we consider the earliest forms of knowledge acquisition. What rudimentary knowledge enables a young child to learn more about the world? (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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