First, initial learning is necessary for transfer. Students need to gain enough knowledge before they can apply their knowledge to new context. Second, contextualized knowledge is helpful to students, but it should be noted that overly contextualized knowledge can harm students’ ability to transfer from one context to new context. Third, transfer can be improved by helping students become more aware of themselves as learners who actively monitor their learning strategies and resources and assess their readiness for particular tests and performances.
To teachers, however, promoting transfer is not a easy task even when they know well about the aforementioned principles of transfer. Students’ ability to transfer their knowledge can be hindered by previous experience and cultural difference. What is a suitable amount of motivation to promote transfer and how much environment gap there is between school and home are not easily identifiable. Moreover, individual students have different personal backgrounds.
In this sense, Wiggins and McTighe (2008)’s 12 steps of meaning making and transfer proceeding instruction can be very useful to improve students’ metacognition that help transfer their learning from one context to new context. In addition, I personally think that providing multiple contexts in each class will really help stimulate students’ metacognition and thus conduct transfer (Please see my posting of “the reflection of reading week 1”. In the posting, I offered my experience in which students did not understand properly the pros and cons of political system in various countries until I provided multiple cases).