Didactic transposition: characteristics of this teaching process.
A process by which scientific knowledge is adapted for students to learn it.
Didactic transposition is a process in which scientific or academic knowledge undergoes a series of transformations to adapt it to a less technical level, accessible to non-specialized students. to adapt it to a less technical level, accessible to non-specialized students. In other words, it consists of modifying learned or erudite knowledge to make it plausible to be taught.
This idea was originally proposed by Michel Verret (1975) and later reintroduced by Yves Chevallard, a theorist of mathematics didactics who originally applied it to this discipline, although this concept has subsequently been extrapolated to other fields of knowledge.
This process is of great importance in the teaching of mathematics. because, if it is done in an adequate way, it will be possible to provide students with useful, current and scientifically based knowledge, but without abusing technical terms or too much specialized information.
What does didactic transposition consist of?
Scholarly or scientific knowledge is that which has been obtained and elaborated by institutions specialized in a certain field of knowledge, such as biology, chemistry, psychology, among many others. Since it is highly technical knowledge, it must be modified in such a way that it can be learned by people who are not specialized in the subject.
The didactic transposition implies a series of phases in which the scientific knowledge is progressively adapted to the students' level. This knowledge is molded according to the objectives of the curriculum proposed by the education authorities, and both the authors of school textbooks and the teachers themselves in the classroom are involved in this process, making the knowledge useful for the students.
Scientific knowledge undergoes two main transformations. First, it is modified in such a way that it can be taught and transformed into a teaching object. In this first transformation, didacticians and experts in the field of education are involved.
Subsequently, the second transformation takes place, in which the teacher takes this knowledge, which has already been modified, and adapts it to the and adapts it according to the characteristics of his classroom.
It is of fundamental importance that the teacher, as a participant in the didactic transposition, takes into account the characteristics of the students in the classroom: socioeconomic differences, developmental stage, cultural diversity, learning difficulties, linguistic differences, number of students in the class, etc.
The teacher must ask himself three questions in relation to the knowledge to be taught:
- What is he/she going to teach?
- What will he/she teach it for?
- How is it going to be taught?
How to adapt the knowledge to the students' level?
When transforming knowledge, it must be done in such a way that it is not distorted or presented in too generalized a way that the essence of its content is lost. It is essential to avoid that, in the reformulation and simplification of this knowledge, it contradicts the scientific knowledge from which it is based.
It is very important to be updated on scientific knowledgeScience advances very quickly and what was taken as true until relatively recently may well be refuted after a while. If teachers do not update their knowledge, they may run the risk of teaching knowledge that has become outdated and lead their students into error.
As an example of outdated knowledge to be taught, we have the famous case of Pluto when it was relegated to the category of dwarf planet. Many textbooks continued to present it as the ninth planet of the Solar System for years.
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Approach to teaching.
The teacher must take special care when teaching content in the classroom, since two types of distances can occur:
Distance between the knowledge to be taught and the knowledge taught 2.
The teacher must be vigilant that the knowledge to be taught and that which is finally taught in the classroom correspond to each other, or at least are not too far apart in terms of their fundamental content.or at least are not too far apart in terms of their fundamental content.
2. Distance between the knowledge taught and the knowledge learned by students
Students have a knowledge base prior to the acquisition of a new one, which can facilitate or hinder the new learning. It may also be the case that the new it may also be the case that the new learning has not been correctly adapted to the learners' level. to the level of the students.
It is very difficult for all the content taught to the students to be completely learned. The teacher must take this into account, in addition to encouraging motivation and the desire to learn in the students.
When the end of the process has been reached, the knowledge to be taught presents a series of characteristics which facilitate its learning:
1. Disincretization of knowledge
The knowledge to be taught, although originally belonging to a certain field, differs from it in that it is less specific. It is still based on the field in which it originated, but it can be formulated to explain a more general knowledge. explaining a more general knowledge.
2. Depersonalization of knowledge:
All academic knowledge has one or more authors behind it. As it adapts to less specialized levels, it becomes detached from the name of the one who elaborated it.
3. Programmability of knowledge acquisition
The knowledge to be taught has been elaborated in such a way that it can be it can be introduced, explained and concluded in a clear way.. That is to say, it is programmed to be explained in a school context in a progressive way and to guarantee that students understand and learn it.
4. Publicity and social control of learning
By being modified to reach less specialized levels, the knowledge to be taught can reach a wider public, allowing it to be exposed in the media. Thanks to this, a certain social control can be exercised over the general culture of the population.
- Gómez-Mendoza, M. Á. (2005). La transposición didáctica: historia de un concepto. Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Educativos, 1, 83-115.
- Chevallard, Y. (1991) La Transposition Didactique du Savoir Savant au Savoir Enseigné. Grenoble, La Pensée Sauvage éditions.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)