Teaching Toward Expertise
These notes accompany the slides
of the Teaching Toward Expertise presentation at
Loyola Marymount University on 2006-09-28. These notes reside at
The purpose of the presentation is to briefly look at our current
understanding of how experts think and act and discuss teaching
strategies that guide students toward achieving expertise (or
What the talk is and is not about
Learning, Understanding and Expertise
What is an Expert?
The Expert Mind
Mistakes and Misconceptions
Teaching for Expertise
What we have covered so far
Good news and bad news
An Amazing Example
What we are doing in CMSI
Remarks on the Slides, with References
Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira
Incredibles has a (refreshing!) anti-mediocrity message.
Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development
- Cognitive: Knowledge → Comprehension → Application → Analysis → Synthesis → Evaluation.
- Affective: Receiving Phenomena → Responding to Phenomena → Valuing → Organization → Internalizing values
- Psychomotor: Perception → Set → Guided Response → Mechanism → Complex overt response → Adaptation → Origination
- Sensorimotor → Preoperational → Concrete Operational → Formal Operational
- Thought-based: Verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, naturalist
- Sensory: Visual-spatial, body-kinisthetic, auditory-musical
- Communicative: Interpersonal, intrapersonal
- These people have a lot of raw talent plus...
- Wolfgang Mozart — trained intensively by one of
the great music teachers of his day (Leopold Mozart)
- Andre Agassi — was batting tennis balls suspended above his
crib as an infant and was hitting thousands of balls per day as a
- Tiger Woods — started golf at 3
- The steps are crucial. "...it is possible for enthusiasts
to spend tens of thousands of hours playing chess or golf or a musical
instrument without ever advancing beyond the amateur level and why a
properly trained student can overtake them in a relatively short time"
- Norvig's quote is from this
article, where you will find references to the cited work of Benjamin
Bloom and John Hayes
- There's an
article in Psychology Today on the Polgár sisters.
- Misconceptions from Howard Gardner's
Unschooled Mind, Chapters 8 and 9, include
- "Six times as many students as professors" rendered as 6S=P.
- Soil loses weight as plants grow on it
- Balls shot out of curved tubes will continue moving in a curved path
- Upward force of the hand acting on a coin thrown into the air
- Preference of J.C. Pellow poems to John Donne and G. M. Hopkins
- "Is it more likely Linda is a bank teller or a bank teller and a feminist?"
- There are biological differences that
may influence how some cognitive tasks are approached,
but that need not in any way impact outcomes.
- Watch the entire Alan Kay video at
video or at archive.org.
- The Dewar-Bennett Mathematical KEG is online.
Socratic Method teaching transcript ranks #2 on Google when
searching for "socratic method", right under Wikipedia's article.
- Read about Carol Dweck's work
- Dr. Jackie Dewar, Professor of Mathematics, and Director of the
Center for Teaching Excellence, for reviewing an early draft of this
- My colleagues in Computer Science Division (Drs. Phil Dorin, Stephanie August, Dondi Dionisio
and Profs. Caskey Dickson and B.J. Johnson) for years of twice-weekly lunches
many of which included discussions of teaching.
- Dr. Richard Plumb, Dean of the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and
Engineering, and Drs. Barbara Marino (Chair) and Dr. John Page (and
the aforementioned Dorin, Dionisio, and Johnson) for supporting my
nomination for the award for which this talk is given.
- The Fritz B. Burns Foundation, who seems to be lacking
a Wikipedia presence (not for long, I bet), for years of
support to LMU.
Errors and gaffes in the presentation are mine, not theirs.
— Ray Toal