Monday, February 13, 2012

Fish is Fish

What stood out to me the most was the concept of pre-existing knowledge and constructivism“Constructivists assume that all knowledge is constructed from previous knowledge, irrespective of how one is taught….However, teachers still need to pay attention to students’ interpretations and provide guidance when necessary.” 

An example of the importance of engaging a student’s prior knowledge of materials before introducing new materials, is the story of Fish Is Fish.  ( I have added the youtube video of it so you can all watch it. It is rather endearing, and wonderfully portrays this concept)  By identifying this preexisting knowledge and building upon it, students will be guided to see how their conception is different from reality.  If teachers don’t make an effort to do dig deep and not only discover, but address these developed beliefs and thoughts, students will inevitably relate what is taught to what is known, building upon what is already familiar to them (similar to Fish is Fish, where the cows had tails, and the birds and humans had fish scales and fins). This is definitely information that will be invaluable to me when teaching, especially when teaching healthy behaviors to my 2nd grade kids this up coming month! 


  1. What a great post-and so true! Students are instantly more interested and engaged when they have sufficient background knowledge. Even a story from your own life, which they can relate to, totally grounds the topic and can be a fun way to start a lesson. I know my students would love to hear a little anecdote from Ms. A's life!!

  2. Thanks for sharing the youtube video - too cute. The idea of understanding a student's prior knowledge/context is really important, especially as we address health topics with them that are more influenced by circumstances outside school than anything they learn in the classroom (nutrition and healthy eating choices, dental hygiene, sex ed, etc). Definitely something to keep in mind as I lesson plan!