When Are Labels Appropriate (or are they?)

After finishing Mindstorms, I have a better sense of the kinds of learning that happen in LOGO and the concepts of which students make sense. I really like the idea of experiencing and exploring concepts  prior to learning the “official definitions” and terms used in a particular domain. It allows the learner to make sense of the material in a way that is meaningful to them, so that when labels are attached, those concepts have more meaning than they would if they were being memorized for an exam.

I am still curious, though, about how readily the knowledge learned in LOGO can transfer to a physics class. When do you start teaching the labels for the concepts the learners are exploring. It is a delicate issue because the learners need time to internalize the concepts before making them formal, but I feel like they should become formal at some point so that they are recognizable when learners run into them again in a different setting. Or should they? I’m not sure.

-Rebecca

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3 Responses to “When Are Labels Appropriate (or are they?)”


  1. 1 Kylie Peppler February 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Good question! We certainly privilege formalisms in Western society — so I would argue that in education it’s extremely important for youth to articulate their understandings.

  2. 2 liyuh February 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Hi, Rebecca, I definitely agree with your idea that at some point the exploring activities should become formal since it’s different from random exploring in anyway. Students do need some time to internalize the concept before they can articulate or externalize what they learned, but my understanding is the self construction process can not accelerate but also deepen their understanding, because the learning process is not transforming knowledge from the teachers’ head, instead, it develops from the students’ mind and thereby it meaningful learning process can benefit the transfer at some time. thanks for your thoughtful questions, and hope my answer can help : )

  3. 3 amstrack February 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    In our standards oriented education system, I think learners must be introduced to the domain specific vocabulary. In a different world, maybe not? However, it is difficult to converse with others if we all have a different way of describing gravity, instead of just using the term gravity.
    The question of when, is a great one though. I’m not sure Papert gives a “when” recommendation, but it seems like it will be different for each learner and based on when they are personally ready for it.


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