Performance and Learning

Performance and learning, I am struggling to get my head around this.  Firstly the fact that performance does not equate to learning.  I can understand that, however the fact that improving performance could actually retard learning, that is where I don’t understand the research.

Is the reason that short term performance an inhibitor of learning because once somebody thinks that they have understood something, they then stop trying to improve upon their position?  Is it because once something is in the short-term memory, it is impossible to wipe it so you don’t have to try to recall the information from long term storage?  Is it because the task seems like a closed book, finished, no longer needing to be opened?

Does this mean that when I help a student in class, I am actually interfering with his long term learning?  Should I wait, and wait, and wait?

Surely if somebody doesn’t understand something in the short term, there is no way of gaining understanding in the long term?  For example, if I think that 5x + 15 is 20x, then there is no way 6 months later I will ever think that 5x + 15 is a simplified form?  Or, should we be giving methods of checking if something is right, like a ‘check digit‘?

I am slowly going out of my mind trying to reconcile this position, I am totally at a loss.  I have no idea how best to teach any of my students to ensure that long term learning is achieved.

Please help!


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