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Abstract - Abstrakt
Mission Statement

Introduction to G-D
Der dialektische Ansatz
("The Dialectical Approach" in German)


Factual Knowledge


Quadraturbedingung der Cheopspyramide
(in German)

Gustavo Vieyra
Teacher (LAUSD)
75th St. Elem. School
142 W. 75th Str.
L.A. CA 90003

Vygotskyan Factual Knowledge

Case Study:

A Dialectical Interpretation of Factual Knowledge in Vygotskyan Terms vs. Bloom´s Taxonomy as Interpreted by the Teaching Staff at 75th Street Elementary School (Los Angeles Unified School District)

Thesis: Factual Knowledge Exists at a Relatively Low Level of Abstraction

        On July 20, 2004 during staff development at 75th Street Elementary School (Los Angeles Unified School District), teachers were told that factual information is not based on abstract information. According to this thesis, factual information is based on concrete basic elements of a content area. Thus, any facts given to the pupils such as 5 x 5 = 25 are considered to be statements that do not require much abstraction.

        The teachers were told that such factual information, in this case 5 x 5 = 25, is the basic building block for other more complex mathematical operations. Thus, factual information is categorized as one of the lower levels of knowledge in accordance to Bloom´s Taxonomy. It was further explained that because 5 x 5 doesn´t change (it is always 25), this and other similar multiplication facts are considered to be of low levels of abstraction. This explanation was based on a handout given to all teachers, which was written as follows:

Thesis: Factual Knowledge Exists at a Relatively Low Level of Abstraction



Factual knowledge encompasses the basic elements that experts use in communicating about their academic discipline, understanding it, and organizing it systematically. These elements are usually serviceable to people who work in the discipline in the very form in which they are presented; they need little or no alteration from one use or application to another. Factual knowledge contains the basic elements students must know if they are to be acquainted with the discipline or to solve any of the problems in it. The elements are usually symbols associated with some concrete referents, or "strings of symbols" that convey important information. For the most part, Factual Knowledge exists at a relatively low level of abstraction.
Because there is a tremendous wealth of these basic elements, it is almost inconceivable that a student could learn all of them relevant to a particular subject matter. As our knowledge increases in the social sciences, sciences, and humanities, even experts in these fields have difficulty keeping up with all the new elements. Consequently, some selection for educational purposes is almost always required. For classification purposes, Factual Knowledge may be distinguished from Conceptual Knowledge by virtue of its very specificity; that is Factual Knowledge can be isolated as elements or bits of information that are believed to have some value in and of themselves. The two subtypes of Factual Knowledge are knowledge of terminology (Aa) and knowledge of specific details and elements (Ab).
Source: A Handout given to teachers at 75th Street Elementary School (Los Angeles Unified School District) on July 20, 2004 based on a document titled "A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing- A Revision of Bloom´s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives" (name of author or year of publication was not given to the teachers).

In essence this handout (for which the teachers were not given the name of the author or the year of publication) deals with two theoretical postulates. The first one deals with the implication that factual knowledge is based on a relatively low level of abstraction and the second one refers to the elements or bits of information "that are believed to have some value in and of themselves." In Section 2 an antithesis is offered against the first postulate and in Section 3 a correction is proposed on the second postulate dealing with the bits of information on an isolated format. I will try to explain why these two postulates are based on a wrong pedagogical focus and thus fail to bring new insights into the art of teaching.
Please open PDF File "Factual_Knowledge_in_Vygotskyan_Terms.pdf" in order to proceed.