Two Working Hypotheses for Teaching

If instructors and school leaders seek to create schools in which practices and structures are aligned with the realities of human learning, then they must work from two hypotheses: First, the students who arrive in schools are experienced learners. Their experiences are affected by their culture, motivation, academic, and personal experiences. Any list of the relevant factors will be incomplete, and the nuances of how these have culminated in the individual entering your classroom cannot be known. Students are not blank slates, nor do they have exactly the prior knowledge you want them to have. Realize the students who entered may not be the students your wanted, but they are the students you have. 

Second, learning comprises many different types of abilities and actions. While not every field requires al types of thinking and learning, every field depends on learning being able to demonstrate more than declarative knowledge. Statistical learning (based on pattens), observation (especially watching experts), perceptual learning (one’s ability to interpret as expertise develops), and design (iterative practical problem solving) are all examples of learning that teachers must facilitate. Your job as an instructor is to support all of them.