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Content Counts and Counting Content #rhizo15

3 min read

I haven't had much time to for lines of flight this week. I wanted to incorporate so many of the great conversations around so I just want to quickly share some of my thoughts.

I will explore this more later but wanted to get some pre-writing done in the open.

What is Content?

Content is stuff. It means to contain.

What is Content Knowledge?

Content Knowledge to me is information th reified into the discourses of specific communities. It involves power signifying what information matters over other information.

I see this most frequently in "content area reading" or "content reading strategies" or in "content and pedagogical knowledge." Basically it is the idea that there are certain bits of knowledge students need to know.

I am okay with this. I also think that this is dependent on the domain. As Rand Spiro in his cognitive flexibility theory, well defined domains such as science and math can rely on set "content" and more direct instruction.

The times tables are content knowledge. Someone decided its important for kids to know. They are right.

In terms of your fuzzier content areas such as the humanities its starts to get fuzzy. The atomic weight of an atom is a constant. The same can't be held true for theories of reading or literature response. Messiness is the only constant.

Sam Dyson, in a post on unlearning, I think brought up the idea of preconception and misconceptiion on a path to deeper learning. I am not a fan of "unlearning," but I need more time to dive into the literature.

The learner can elevate information to content if given the chance.

Are People and Community Content?

Yes. If you are specific in your pedagogical choices you can make people the content if connections is something you want them to take away.

This was a major goal in . We stated at the beginning that community was our content, but we were exploring identity not Bohr's law.

There was room to play with content.

Content Area Reading is it Worth It?

No. While a set of general comprehension strategies skills are helpful, especially when working with students with great cognitivie diversity, the gains over time are minimal.

Content=Comprehension. I can think of no situation in reading where knowing less would make one a better reader than knowing more. 

Instead of generalized strategies we need to focus on the ways and being within specific disciplines. We need to focus on how meaning is signified within these very specific discourses.