How long it took you to answer that? Did you picture the alphabet and go counting from A to Z?
Our brain is not a coherently designed and engineered organ. It carries a myriad simultaneous and independent activities. Among these activities, the brain processes information for learning. That information, which is obtained from outside, is transformed into knowledge. This is the knowledge that helps us to name, explain and talk about matters. It is called declarative knowledge.
That is the knowledge assisted you to come up with the answer — 26.
Then, what about the first question — the number of doors in your house?
Naming the number of doors in your home requires declarative knowledge. Although you are an ‘expert’ about your home, that knowledge is not available to you in declarative form. Therefore, your expertise was in walking through all areas. This is the type of knowledge that helps us to act and perform tasks. It is called procedural knowledge.
Most of us can ride a bicycle maintaining our balance. What does our body do exactly to keep the bicycle from falling down? We may come up with answers such as pedaling or holding on to handle bars and so forth, but all we know is — we can do, but not readily explain.
Most expertise develops that way. The majority of what we have learned to do has been acquired that way. Over the time, through trial and error, we have built up the capacity to do so.
Now, here’s where that presents the problem when we train our student a skill.
Teachers’ expertise is in procedural knowledge. In the classroom, the teacher is expected to transmit the knowledge through explaining, giving examples and by providing contexts. — in declarative form. Then the learner converts that declarative knowledge back into procedural knowledge to meet with their expectation of being able to do the required task.