Essay Example: Declarative vs. Procedural Knowledge in EFL/Esl

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Vanderbilt University
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Declarative knowledge is based on facts, for example, knowing that letter F is the 6th letter of the alphabet, it is aware of something. Procedural knowledge is mastering how to do things, for example, riding a bicycle (Ten Berge & Van Hezewijk, 1999). John Anderson of Carnegie Mellon University says that declarative information precedes Procedural knowledge and views procedural knowledge as a higher level of understanding. Cognitive designs of learning have different views on the two forms of knowledge, Shiffrin and Schneiders dual processing theory puts the two forms in different levels whereby procedural knowledge is at a higher level.

Another model, the Emergentist model argues that procedural knowledge can grow without a declarative phase, this explains those skills we can execute, but we can't explain how for example dribbling skills demonstrated by footballers.From the two explanations, it is deduced that Declarative knowledge relies on an authority to impart the instructions while procedural knowledge depends on continuous learning and coaching following a framework delivered by a teacher. Declarative knowledge uses a grading system to gauge the understanding of the content while the latter is open ended, flexible and focuses on progress (Ten Berge and Van Hezewijk, 1999). It is key to note that In EFL/Esl classes Declarative knowledge should be fast gained then the desired procedural knowledge follows. The set of facts and instructions imposed in declarative knowledge sets the foundation for procedural knowledge. For this reason, Procedural knowledge is considered more efficient, since unlike its predecessor the knowledge acquired is retained for a longer period, executed without supervision. Procedural knowledge is, therefore, more effective but it relies on Declarative knowledge for its development

Activity involving Nouns

The activity involves the use of flashcards. The tutor will prepare flash cards with letters of the alphabet starting from A to Z. Then he will arrange the flash cards in a pile in a way that student can not see either side of the cards. He will then prepare four other flash cards separate from those cards that had letters written on them (Perles, & Wistrom, 2013). These four flash cards will have the words person, idea, place, and thing indicated on them. The tutor then picks two random class members and tells them to pick any flash card from the pile of four. After the card has been selected the instructor will pick a letter from the pile, with the letters of the alphabet and shows it to the class. He then prompts the students chosen to give an example of a noun corresponding to the type of noun they chose starting with the letter randomly selected letter. The student who answers first goes to the next student's desk, and the other sits down. The objective of the activity is to familiarize learners with the different types of nouns in the English language. To enable the student to identify nouns that represent a place, person, thing or idea. It is best suited for first to third graders since it involves the core elements of the English language. It is useful for learners within the age bracket of 6 to 8 years old. The activity will be more effective within a time frame of 2hrs for a class, spread in at most two sessions of teaching.



Perles, K. & Wistrom, E. (2013). Elementary school activities. Retrieved on July 2017 from

Ten Berge, T., & Van Hezewijk, R. (1999). Procedural and declarative knowledge: An evolutionary perspective. Theory & Psychology, 9(5), 605-624.


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