Curse of Knowledge


Teachers should never stop learning.

This week, I came across a very interesting phrase, the “curse of knowledge”. In their book, Make it Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die, Dan and Chip Heath write about this “curse” in which teachers have loads of knowledge but find it hard to deliver the nuances of their subject area. It made me sit up! It explained a little more about what some teachers have said to me repeatedly, that they  do not understand why a student had not grasped an idea, a grammar rule or a concept despite doing various activities, exercises and talking about it over and over again. BINGO!

You know too much, Mr Teacher. You know lots of background knowledge in your subject area that you are finding it hard to whittle it down to the essential or the core, so students can understand it.

This is the book.

Make it Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die

This is a video on the concept of the curse of knowledge

This lands itself well to the course I’m conducting at the moment – TESMC. The teaching and learning theories that underpin the course talks about the need to deconstruct a concept, a writing task, an outcome so that students understand the components that make up that concept, task or outcome. We need to provide proper scaffolding so that we guide the students in the direction they are suppose to go. Then when they have the necessary tools, we set them off to work on tasks individually, just like our parents letting go off our hands as we learn to walk.

I love learning new things. I hope you do, too.


About mrsmissoveness

I'm Heading the EAL dept and Teaching ESL Students in the Mainstream Classroom (TESMC) trainer on Jeju island, South Korea. I'm enjoying the IT revolution in the classroom and discovering new IT tools to support my lessons. Reading is at the top of my list: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go" Dr Seuss, I can read with my eyes shut. Learning Korean is my biggest challenge at this point in time. However, a word a day is my target.

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