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How Do We Use Knowledge?

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There is a difference between simply knowing a fact and putting information to use. It is one thing to memorise the times table, but a much better thing to balance our finances, calculate the expenses for a vacation, or produce the blueprint for a bookshelf. We need basic mathematics and knowledge for many aspects of our life. We need more advanced maths and knowledge for most career paths. Putting this knowledge to use is imperative.

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A common criticism of education is that it focuses on simple memorisation, retaining fact and figures. This is at least partly true, more so in the past. This type of rote learning is easy to test for, easy to teach, and it works for students of even less than average intelligence. Its downside is that it is boring, and it reduces everybody to the lowest common denominator. The smart students get about the same results as the less able students. And there is little if any application of the detached facts that have been learnt.


OC Coaching Sydney – Higher Order Thinking

Higher level Thinking makes use of the knowledge we have, and applies it to solving problems or understanding situations.

Three terms important to Higher order thinking are:

Transfer – Of course we need to first retain information. But then we have to apply it in a useful way. Think of skills rather than memory. We need skillful use of what we have learnt.

Critical Thinking – We are presented with a lot of facts, especially in this day of the Internet. But not everything we are told is true, and some information depends on the situation. Critical thinking is about reasoning and questioning. Which facts are reliable? Do facts fit together, or are their incongruities? Why might somebody be convinced of a false fact or idea?

Problem Solving – A problem is anything that does not have a preset solution; we can’t just solve it with something in our memory. Some problems are closed, like a maths question. These tend to have one right answer. Other problems, like setting up a business, living within a budget, scripting a film, are open problems. These require thinking across disciplines, and have many possible solutions, as well as many failed solutions.

Problem solving requires a broad understanding of how information fits together and interacts. We use a vast store of knowledge to solve legitimate problems.

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Education is about helping develop an individual to their potential. This should be reflected with improved grades.

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