• Interference of Instrumental Instruction in Subsequent Relational Learning

    Dolores D. Pesek, David Kirshner
    To balance their professional obligation to teach for understanding against administrators' push for higher standardized test scores, mathematics teachers sometimes adopt a 2-track strategy: teach part of the time for meaning (relational learning) and part of the time for recall and procedural-skill development   (instrumental learning). We explore a possible negative effect of this dual approach when relational learning is preceded by instrumental learning. A group of students who received only relational instruction outperformed a group of students who received instrumental instruction prior to relational instruction. Interview data show aspects of cognitive, metacognitive, and attitudinal interference that may have been caused by the juxtaposition of instructional modes.    

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