Education | Learning: Theory into Practice
P312 | 6032 | Ofer Levy

Welcome to P312 –
To be a teacher, one needs to develop his best possible understanding
of the processes by which people think, understand and learn:

In this course we will ask questions about Thinking –

•What are the basic operations of thinking? (Definition, argument,
explanation, analogy, example),

•What is knowledge? Are there different types of knowledge? What does
it mean ‘to know’ something?

•What is intelligence and how is it related to thinking?

•What are thinking skills?

•How to develop metacognitive skills?

About Understanding –

•What is it ‘to understand’ something?

•Is ‘understanding’ verbal or visual?

•What are prior knowledge and misconceptions?

•What are fragile and genuine understandings?

•Do students know when they don’t understand?

•Can we measure understanding?

•What is ‘teaching for understanding’?

About Learning –

•What is learning? How people learn?

•What are the relationship between learning and understanding?

•How do we know that learning occurred?

•Are there theories of learning?

•Based on our views on thinking and understanding, what is our theory
of learning?

•How to implement such theory in real class?

•How to motivate students to learn?

•How to assess learning?

Evaluation and Grades

Individual work (33.3%) –

•Quizzes are designed to ensure that we all read thoroughly and
understand the weekly readings.
Quizzes are 5 minutes long; they start at exactly 1:00 PM, and are
taken individually.
They ask for genuine, deep understanding of the text with an emphasis
on its structure – on the relationships between different parts.
Answers should be very short – typically, one sentence each.
There will be no make-up quizzes.

•Individual presentations (5 minutes each) aimed at giving deeper
understanding of a topic (will count as a quiz).

•Individual short assignments: text analysis, reflection paper etc
(will count as a quiz).

Group work – Presentations (33.3%) –
Each group (a trio or a duet) will present to us during the semester
two topics (a book chapter or an article) to provide a broader and
deeper perspective to our weekly readings and discussions.
Group presentations are 15 minutes long.
All presentations should include a lesson plan:

•Background (provide a context for your presentation),

•Objectives (what are you trying to accomplish within your 15

•Rational (why is your presentation important),

•Step by step plan and some activity (optional),

•Handout: parts or all the lesson plan, and relevant texts,
background or activity.
The group should meet with me prior to the presentation.

Group work – Final project (33.3%) –
You will watch three short videos of actual teaching in the Inquiry
Learning Forum (http//, and write your analysis
and reflection to them using the concepts and theories discussed in
Based on this experience, your writings, my comments and the
discussion in class, you will design one real lesson plan, using a
real textbook on whatever field and topic that you choose.

•Susan will introduce the ILF to us, and will provide all the
instructions needed.

•ILF will send us an email with a personal password. Please don't
delete this email.

•My hope is that our products will be good enough for some kind of
publication within the school of education.

This course does not require any previous knowledge. It does require
the ability and willingness to think seriously and thoroughly about
some of the deepest aspects of human thinking, understanding and

Good luck to all of us,