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Role of Content Knowledge in Cognition & Information Processing

Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

In this lesson, we will talk about content knowledge, what it is and what is its role in cognition and information processing. Building on students' content knowledge can help them construct new knowledge.

What is Content Knowledge?

Content knowledge is knowledge about a particular content area, such as a math teacher who has content knowledge about math. Cognition is learning, or the processes of increasing knowledge through senses, experience, and thinking. Information processing describes the ways cognition can take content knowledge and integrate it into one's knowledge base. When teachers have strong content knowledge, they are better able to assist in the cognition and information processing of their students.

Teachers as Experts

Content knowledge alone is necessary, but it is not sufficient for effective teaching. Specific content knowledge within a discipline like math, science, literature, or social studies can add expertise and in-depth knowledge within a particular field.

In addition to content knowledge, effective teachers also need to know about classroom management, student development, and instructional strategies to create effective, meaningful, and informative lessons that will enable students to acquire that knowledge to help increase and form their learning experience. Most of these pedagogical skills are interdisciplinary and generalizable across the curriculum.

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