are multiple reasons for studying how people learn. By learning
about how people learn, students may be able to learn more effectively
themselves and to know what difficulties they may face. Also, knowing
about the limitations of human learning can help people to anticipate
problems (their own and those of others) in learning how to teach
Kindergarten through Grade 2
level is the time to be sure that all children know that they can
learn almost anything they want to. Children are most interested
in learning about their surroundings. They should be encouraged
to notice how they learn by asking them how they learned something
in the past or how they might learn to do something new or by having
them teach a skill to someone else.
Grades 3 through 5
children's self-awareness increases, they want to know more about
their personal capabilities, what they might be able to do and know.
They should be given many opportunities to explore areas of personal
interest and develop new skills. By the end of 5th grade, students
Human beings can use the memory of their past experiences to make
judgments about new situations.
Learning means using what one already knows to make sense out
of new experiences or information, not just storing the new information
in one's head.
6 through 8
should now be placed on how to figure out what learning has taken
place as a consequence of studying something. Students can design
various tests and administer them to individuals and groups as practice
for longer studies of learning. They can investigate different ways
of learning different things and compare the results they get.
the end of the 8th grade, students should know that
The level of skill a person can reach in any particular activity
depends on innate abilities, the amount of practice, and the use
of appropriate learning technologies.
Learning often results from two perceptions or actions occurring
at about the same time. The more often the same combination occurs,
the stronger the mental connection between them is likely to be.
Grades 9 through 12
is the time to consider some explanations of how learning takes
place. Claims of sophisticated learning by other animals, such as
language in lower primates, can be considered in light of available
the end of the 12th grade, students should know that
The expectations, moods, and prior experiences of human beings
can affect how they interpret new perceptions or ideas. People
tend to ignore evidence that challenges their beliefs and to accept
evidence that supports them.
Human thinking involves the interaction of ideas, and ideas about
ideas. People can produce many associations internally without
receiving information from their senses.
excerpt is from Chapter 6, "The Human Organism: Learning" in Benchmarks
for Science Literacy (1993), reprinted with permission from
the Oxford University Press.