Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Ken DeRosa and Facts

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Sept 30, 2009

Originally posted on Half an Hour, September 30, 2009.

Ken DeRosa asserts that I am being "crafty" when I talk about his use of "facts". He writes:

"The accuracy of this statement depends on whether the reader can fill in the missing "knowledge" (not facts)... Notice the crafty substitution of "facts" for "knowledge" -- A lovely misleading rhetorical flourish..."

I will be polite and not tell DeRosa what kind of crock that is, but it's a crock, as a look at DeRosa's own words shows clearly:

  • Ken DeRosa, February 7, 2009 "The conventional wisdom is that that learning facts in a domain will improve the ability to reason in that domain."

  • Ken DeRosa, September 20, 2007. "Here are a few of the facts, rules, and perspectives that are developed in Reading Mastery III."

  • Ken DeRosa, October 9, 2006. "During that time he's probably worked at least a thousand actual math problems and is starting to develop some real procedural fluency with simple addition and subtraction facts."

  • Ken DeRosa, September 12, 2006. "'By fourth grade, the report says, students should be fluent with "multiplication and division facts" and should start working with decimals and fractions'...To think that this is in any way controversial boggles the mind."

  • Ken DeRosa, April 19, 2006. "As you'll see from the upcoming story and independent work exercises, the facts taught in these articles will be used by the students and must be known by them"

  • Ken DeRosa, July 19, 2008. "To the rest of us, this is superficial understanding. History without historical facts or understanding of those facts. See the way that works?"

  • Ken deRosa, April 14, 2009. "For purposes of instruction a facts is a true and verifiable statement that connects one specific thing (Constitution) and another specific thing (Philadelphia)."

  • Ken DeRosa, April 15, 2009. "In the last post, we discussed the six forms of knowledge: ... * verbal associations - facts and lists: (this one thing goes with that one thing);"

  • Ken DeRosa, Auigust 8, 2008. "I think that Murray overestimates the ease at which facts can be taught to and retained... facts are difficult to learn because facts must be mostly learned on a case by case basis which is not readily amenable to acceleration."

  • Ken DeRosa, June 27, 2008 (quoting Daniel Willingham) "The student who does not have simple math facts at his or her disposal will struggle with higher math."

  • Ken DeRosa, September 12, 2006. "a science teacher may want students to know a set of facts about certain species so that she can introduce an important abstract concept concerning evolution that depends on these facts."

  • Ken DeRosa, September 22, 2006. "What happened to "quick," as in "quick recall" of basic facts. I'm sure many hours were spent arguing over that term. Odd, that you would forget to include it in your email to the troops. Idiot."

  • Ken DeRosa, September 21, 2006. "This means that students have to keep less facts in their head to solve the problem. This benefits kids who do not have quick recall of the multiplication facts and prevents them from over-taxing their working memory."

  • Ken deRosa, July 1, 2008. "so long as the child is able to use finger-counting operation or a number line, what motivation is there for learning facts?"

  • Ken DeRosa, March 5, 2009. "Knowledge is defined as (i) expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject, (ii) what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information or (iii) awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation."

  • Ken DeRosa, April 9, 2009. "This level assumes that students have mastery of a wide range of math facts and operations."

  • Ken DeRosa, July 21, 2008. "We all can agree that history instruction should not be a parade of facts; however, facts will need to be learned"

  • Ken DeRosa, October 20, 2006. "It's also not sufficient for you to have some facts for the analytic cognitive processes to operate on. There must be lots of facts and you must know them well."

  • Ken DeRosa, September 7, 2006. Schools do a miserable job at teaching facts, if anything they deride the entire process and consciously avoid teaching facts in favor of teaching students how to "learn how to learn," which you know, if you've read the articles I linked to, is a crock.

  • Ken DeRosa, April 15, 2009. "facts and Lists Facts and lists (statements that connect specific things) are learned by simply memorizing the connection."

  • Ken DeRosa, January 7, 2007. "There's a great post up at TextSavvy about how students found it easier to recall facts from a complicated reading passage"

  • Ken DeRosa, January 7, 2009. "Shallow understanding requires knowing some facts. Deep understanding requires knowing the facts AND knowing how they fit together, seeing the whole."

  • Ken DeRosa, May 13, 2006. "The problem with Core Knowledge is that it only sets forth a body of information that it wants kids to learn without specifying how kids are to learn it or if that amount of facts is even learnable."

There's many more, but I think I make the point.

I take this as irrefutable proof that DeRosa has either had a midnight conversion experience, or that 'facts' play a central role in his argument, as I assert.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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