David Pace and Joan Middendorf created a model for decoding the disciplines as a method for faculty to uncover the ways students think and learn in various disciplines. Following their seven step process allows faculty members to understand the role they play in students’ misunderstandings of course content.
Did you ever wonder why students don’t understand what you have told them over and over? When did you first notice that students were getting lost in your course? Recognizing the bottleneck is the first of the seven steps. The second step is uncovering the assumptions you make about what students need to know to understand further the new knowledge. One way to determine your assumptions is to repeat the same explanation to someone, not in your discipline. Then, ask them what part they don’t understand. Suddenly you realize “Oh, I have to explain this first, so that can understand that.” . . .