House building metaphor of learning

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House building metaphor of learning is often quoted by Sal Khan, and may be incorrectly interpreted as the need for the curriculum in efficient learning.

Khan says that in learning, we should never build a house starting from the roof. This is exactly what happens to kids who develop debilitating gaps in knowledge, e.g. of basic math. Moving on to calculus without a good grounding in algebra will always feel like starting a house from the roof.

However, knowledge is structured in the brain as a network (semantic network), and there are different abstractions available for all represented objects. All abstractions may have their dependencies, and each brain with a specific prior knowledge may be ready only for a limited set of abstractions.

There are abstraction's suitable for kids as well. A 5-year-old may start his venture into calculus from his lower ability angle. For example, a car chase videogame can teach a child about acceleration, which can be the first abstraction of a derivative without any knowledge of any formulas. This way, calculus can precede adding numbers or reading. Learning calculus at 5 does not need to be like building a roof. It is more like having a first peek at an object from a narrower perspective suitable for a preliterate kid.

In free learning there is no need for the curriculum. Each child or adult can follow her interests in a dendritic and unlimited manner. In the ideal case, each child will have her own unique trajectory of growth that will reflect an optimum adaptation to the surrounding world in proportion to needs and passions.

For details see: semantic learning.

This glossary entry is used to explain "I would never send my kids to school" (2017-2024) by Piotr Wozniak

See also: