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Final presentation- Learning & CognitionPresentation Transcript
An analysis of how a child interprets,
processes, and mentally organizes the
details of the story of Purim
The Purim Story
◦ Recorded in Ketuvim (Writings) as a
Megilah that is read annually during the
Hebrew month of Adar
◦ Studied by all ages in Jewish Day Schools
◦ Follows a relatively simple storyline, but is
comprised of more complex mini stories
◦ Follows a specific cause-and-effect
literary sequence so that the story doesn’t
What To Look For…
The Purim Story
◦ Sequence of events in chronological order
◦ Understanding cause and effect between
individual events in the story
◦ Ability to organize events of story by
◦ How participant fills in gaps in memory of
◦ Differences in learning styles due to age
Specific Strategies and
Mental Production Systems
◦ If-Then Condition Rules: Sequence and Cause and Effect in
◦ Top Down Vs. Bottom Up
◦ Story Scripts- Characters & Roles, Conflict & Resolution, and
logical cause and effect
Expert Vs. Novice
◦ Does exposure to story and age help chunk events in story?
◦ How child fills in the gaps when the story doesn’t make sense
Visual Vs. Abstract
◦ Ability to interpret pictures and visualize the storyline
◦ How the story in the participant’s mind differs from the pictures
Participants were siblings: 6 years old
and 9 years old
Interviews were conducted partly in
Yeshiva University and partly in the
home of the participants located in
◦ Siblings attended same kindergarten and
had the same teacher
◦ 6 year old seemed timid and afraid in YU,
but was able to find comfort in being at
home when candy and food was
◦ “Can you tell me everything you know
about Purim story?” (Baseline Facts &
◦ Can you teach me the story from the
beginning until the end?” (Baseline
understanding of sequence)
Leora was able to answer both just using Prompt
Explanation of Cards
What part of story does each card represent?
◦ Participants asked to use picture cards to tell
over the story of Purim in chronological order
Prompt: “Speak out loud your thought process- why you are
putting the pictures in that order”
Cause and Effect
◦ Participants asked to reorganize the pictures into
pairs based on cause and effect
Analysis: Are there any differences between the order of
pictures in these two tasks? If so, how could that be?
Back to Chronological Order
◦ This step aims to bring to the participant’s
attention any differences between the first two
Analysis: By observing these three tasks, we can gain
insight into the learning and metacognition of the
◦ Taught pictures and what they
◦ Groups with titles/topics
Zack could not understand the concept of
groups and cause and effect
◦ Taught participant the entire story of
Purim while explaining both chronological
order and cause and effect
Filled in any missing blanks and focused on
specific mistakes that the participant made
Asked participant to retell the story of
Purim but by organizing events
(pictures) by cause and effect
◦ The idea was to see if participant was
able to succeed in this task and by doing
so actually also organizing the pictures in
chronological order as well.
Organized pattern of thought or behavior
o Setting- Shushan, Palace
o Characters- King, Queen, Haman (evil), Mordechai
o Problem- The Jewish people face extinction
o Goal- To stop the plan to destroy the Jews
o Complication- Haman has the king’s approval
o Resolution- King changes loyalties to Mordechai and
finds Haman to be disloyal. Jews are saved
Zach (6 Years Old)
o Top-Down: knew the basic structure of
the story and filled in the details
- Referred to the characters as “Mean
Haman” “Mordechai HaYehudi” and
“Beautiful Queen Esther”
- Had trouble remembering Bigton and
Teresh possibly because they were
conflicting bad guys, or because the
role of antagonist was already taken by
• Leora (9 Years Old)
o Bottom up- Knew the details of the story and
tried to fit it into a story format
- When asked to tell the story, she started
from the middle and then back-tracked as she fit
the details into the story schema.
- We asked her to put the details that she
in order and then we had her group them
into cause and effect groups. She succeeded in
Condition action rules (IF… THEN…)
o We applied this logic to the story script
to see if they could understand the
causal relationship between the
events of the story.
o EX: If we know that Mordechai was
riding on the horse in this picture as a
reward for saving the King’s life, which
picture would have to come before this
Production Systems (2)
Zach- Had trouble using this type of
Interviewer: Good. Now what is this picture?
Zach: Going Sleepy?
Interviewer: Who is going sleepy?
Zach: The king
Interviewer: And is he able to sleep?
Zach: [Shook head no]
Interviewer: Why can’t he sleep? What is he doing?
Interviewer: What story did he read? What almost happened to the King?
Interviewer: By who?
Zach: Bigton and Teresh.
Interviewer: So what had to come before this one? What caused the king to read the story? Which card?
Interviewer: What did he remember? Which story?
Zach: I give up.
Production Systems (3)
• Leora- Had an easier time with it
“for vashti not being queen and esther becoming
queen its first there was a party and vashti
wouldn’t come down so I put the part and vashti
with an x on it, and then esther was queen.”
“And I am going to put Bigtan and teresh talking
and Mordechai hearing them with the pile of
Mordechai going on the horse because that the
reason why Achashveirosh wanted him to go on
Production Systems (4)
• She was clearly able to work within this type of mental
framework, and was aware of when she reached an
impasse and found a repair
Leora: First, Haman… came to Achashveirosh and said
like, “I should be rewarded, because I’m like really cool”
[giggles]. But, he didn’t say like “I”. He said like, there’s
this person like he should be honored and so like
Achashveirosh said that he couldn’t have been talking
about himself because he would’ve said “I” and he was
thinking like yeah this person is really cool and I should
honor him because he like helped me a lot. And he was
going to honor him. No…wait…yeah he gave,
Haman…wait…he said to Haman that “you
could”…like…he said he was going to honor this person.
So then Haman thought he was going to honor him, and
then the next day like, um, I meant that night, he,
achashveirosh, was in his bed and he was like sleeping
kind of, and he like woke up in the middle of the night,
Other Observations- Analysis
• Zack was unable to explain his thought processes, whereas Leora was
able to stop herself and explain her thought processes
• Novice Vs. Expertise
• Leora seemed to be much quicker to interpret the pictures, group connected
events, and organize by cause and effect. This could be because she was
exposed to these events more times and learned about them more times as
well. Although Chess wouldn’t officially call her an expert, we consider her to
have more expertise than Zack
• Visual Vs. Abstract
• The visual images were of much help to leora and she utilized them well.
Meanwhile, they seemed to confuse Zack because he was unfamiliar with the
images and was unable to interpret them with ease.
• Mclosky Naïve Theory
• We observed a significant difference between Zack and Leora when it came to
their post-interview. Leora was able to very quickly remember everything that
she had learned, including the three subtopics, without any prompts. Zack had
trouble remembering anything that we had taught him. This shows us that
learning does not happen instantaneously, but rather systematically.
While Leora was able to quickly retain the systematic learning, Zack couldn’t.
• Learning Experience: No regrets, but
obviously we learned a lot from analyzing our
transcripts that we would change for next
• Do less talking and more listening
• Try not to give too much information. It
isn’t about getting the right answer, but
understanding why the answer was
• Different approach to get insight into
Zacks cognitive processes
Application to Jewish
• Learning isn’t instantaneous, it is systematic.
Set realistic learning goals and expectations
• When a student gets a question “wrong”, it
shouldn’t end with the teacher marking it
wrong, but we should understand how the
student got to that answer.
• Having a conversation with the student, or
having them elaborate how they got to an
answer could improve the learning
• Assessment: Thought should go into the
assessments we give to the students and into
the distance between finishing the unit and