Yale University

Knowledge of Students

Student learning is at the heart of any teaching practice. The transition from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning demands skills in connecting to and understanding how students learn and what forces influence that learning. New discoveries in the cognitive sciences about the nature of learning are altering our understanding of development and sense-making. Teaching for "unlearning" is an entirely different way of planning instruction, and cognitive science has pointed to a number of important areas where unlearning is essential. Robust theories of developmental and social forces are uncovering ways schools can become places that limit as well as enhance academic achievement. Candidates are expected to know and apply a variety of ways to know and understand students.

High school students enter classrooms with many years of academic experiences, both formal and informal. Students bring expectations of teachers, of classrooms and of themselves as learners and in doing so set the initial ground for bargaining between student and teacher (Cohen et al., 1985). Candidates are expected to understand those habits while devising scaffolding for new, more rigorous and engaging habits of heart, mind and work (Costa & Kallick, 2000).