The what and the how in the transmission of knowledge


When this summer season arrives and with the holidays in the making – summer period in terminology of retirees – I always think about the academic year just finished, the shared efforts, their results … and the constant concern that, as a teacher, I have always had: of "How" to translate a "What"?

Own source

In his day I wrote a text that, under the title "Comments on the teaching function", materialized such concern, which – in memory of those times – I want to reproduce next, with some added.

The aforementioned text (of which partial or total reproduction is authorized provided that its origin is mentioned) read as follows:

The formative work is that symbiosis between a “What", or object of explanation, and a "How" to transfer it effectively (strategy, tactics and resources in the exhibition).

It is definitely “of how to explain a what ”, this being the one.

In any training process it is not enough to know the "what", the object of the explanation; it is necessary to establish the "how" to transfer that knowledge.

Probably the differential element between the trainer in a subject and the simple expert in it, lies in the fact that he must be concerned with the “how" Besides of "what".

How many times have we heard from a teacher?it shows that he knows a lot, but it doesn't explain well"?

When a student faces the first knowledge of a subject, he / she needs to understand the basic concepts of the subject (for which it requires an efficient transfer of contextualized information) and, given that he / she is not yet in a position to consider aspects of greater complexity , the need for a pure expert without special didactic skills is still premature and will certainly come to be useful later when, when the bases are established, you want more complex explorations. At that stage, you will need specific answers to questions that you are already in a position to elaborate, without requiring more contextualizations for such answers that will never hurt you anyway. That is why at the beginning the teaching process is better than the knowledge – assured a correct level – and then the tandem is reversed, although the ideal – since it is not incompatible – is high knowledge and a didactic capacity also high in the teacher.

In addition to establishing the "how" to transfer the information, it is undoubtedly a source of satisfaction, for its challenges, which is added to the one already generated by the interest of the subject on which the explanation is based.

The Formator must therefore to work the "how to transfer knowledge"

In other words, how to ensure, to the fullest, the achievement of the objective pursued by any training process, which is none other than to ensure that the image that, of the subject to be presented, is reproduced in the mind of the receiver is reproduced – as logical and coherent. -At the same time- in the mind of the issuer ?. For this, it must establish awareness and motivation strategies, discover the filters or barriers that each receiver opposes and act in ways that are overcome, in order not to generate distortions in that image, meet the expectations generated, etc.

The method proposed below is aimed, precisely, at the effective achievement of the aforementioned transfer of knowledge.

Since the formative process "it's not just transferring information known / investigated, if not create an environment where learning is possible ” and, given, that teaching is the alternative to experience as a way of learning, the more it resembles it (encouraging motivation and participation), the better.

For this reason “the auditorium must not only receive information or to be aware ”, but -and here is the challenge- thanks to the rapporteur's action:

  1. a) must assume that there is a problem (awareness).
  2. b) must collaborate with the trainer in the search for possible solutions (motivation).
  3. c) and it is right now, when the audience is expectant, when the opportunity has come to show what is proposed as a solution to the previously raised problem (thereby achieving the satisfaction of your expectations).

In short, the audience not only “receives", but "wait and want to receive ” the information, which reverts to the benefit of the effectiveness of the exhibition. And on the other hand, when the audience receives / discovers the proposed solution, it is focused on it without dispersing in aspects such as its need, etc. which have already been assumed in previous stages of the explanation, which further facilitates the process of understanding. It is also convenient that the explanation is aimed at achieving global knowledge and not a simple sum of biases.

Based on this, the following basic features of a training presentation will be worked on, combining theoretical explanations with participatory activities:

  1. a) Presentation of the subject object of exhibition.
  2. b) Location of the topic in a broader general context, which will serve as a reference framework, focusing on its case nomenclatures and concepts for subsequent use.
  3. c) Progressive approach to the subject, so that through successive approaches, we can plant elements that, evidencing the existence of different problems, can be retaken later giving meaning and coherence to the exhibition.

* Phases of sensitization (on the existing problem) and motivation (in the search for possible solutions)

  1. d) Presentation / demonstration that the purpose of the exhibition resolves the issue.

* Phase of satisfaction of expectations

  1. e) Detailed final treatment of the subject, which fits with everything worked up in the previous phases, with a final summary of the fundamental concepts.
  2. f) Colloquium / criticism / alternatives / etc.

EXAMPLE OF APPLICATION OF THE METHOD: LEGAL INSTITUTE OF THE EXTRADITION -Dº CRIMINAL- (Whereby a State requests another to hand over a subject who, having committed a crime in the former, is fleeing in the latter)

  1. a) The audience must assume that there is a problem (awareness):

If the object of the explanation is extradition, it should be noted that given the territoriality of criminal law (derived precisely from the values ​​of each group that protects), when a national of A criminals and flees to B … ..

… What happens? … perhaps for state B the action committed in A … is not a crime and then … would there be impunity?

  1. b) The auditorium must collaborate with the trainer in the search for possible solutions (motivation):

Perhaps if State B also typified the offense committed in A … could the rule be applied in B … or is it better that the offender be sent to A so that they can apply it, since that is where he committed the offense?

But … what if the offense committed in A is not a crime in B? Obviously, to punish in B would not be logical, and to return the offender to A … perhaps he would disgust the punishment that awaits him, seen from a state in which that crime is not considered as such … etc. etc.

  1. c) and it is right now, when the audience is “expectant", When the opportunity has come to show what is proposed as a solution to the previously raised problem (thereby achieving the satisfaction of your expectations):

Continuing with the example, it would be time to explain the legal figure treated, with its specificities (consistent with the problems mentioned above), limitations, reservations, agreements, etc. If such an explanation had been made at the outset and without more, it would probably have been more tedious and less understandable.

And to conclude this article, say that perhaps the memories of some subjects taught in some academic courses of the lived, would be better to have followed more efficient methods to explain them, similar or not to the one indicated in the text previously reproduced. That said, let's welcome the restful summer break … and next year, back to the classroom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *