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Cognitive Views of LearningPresentation Transcript
Cognitive Views of Learning
Information Processing is how we all learn. We must process the information provided to us by the educator. Information procession “involves gathering information and organizing it in relation to what you already know” (Wollfolk, 250).
Encoding, storage, and retrieval are key components used to successfully process information. There are several manners in which each of these functions take place.
In a Social Studies class students need to be able to get the facts about King Henry VIII and relate his influence to the The Protestant Reformation
As the teacher I would approach the students sensory memory, “initial processing that transforms these incoming stimuli into information so we can make sense of them”, with images that would make one think of royalty, religion, and revolution (Wollfolk, 250).
I would have the class listen, with their eyes closed, to testimonies from The Tudor dynasty at the time of the Reformation so they would create their own sensory memories of the Reformation.
Perception, “the process of detecting a stimulus and assigning meaning to it,” is an integral part of successful learning (Woolfolk, 251). Allowing the mind to wander, in a good way, lets students find their own meaning and significance in the subject matter. Not every part of The Reformation will interest each student, but if each student can find a piece that intrigues them, then learning can be exciting and successful.
Allowing for perception assists in teaching and learning, as well as allows for new thoughts, ideas, and opinions which can create enthusiasm for the subject. Some of history’s greatest revisionist theories are based, in my opinion, on perception. For example, King Henry VIII was not a murderous tyrant, but a political and religious soldier for England and the Protestant faith.
Most people will agree that paying attention is paramount to to successful learning but what does that mean. Through “focus on a stimulus” or paying attention students are being influenced by outside factors, such as bulletin boards, pictures, or who just walked past the window, and much more (Woolfolk, 252).
As teachers when we ask students to pay attention perhaps we need to consider the impact our classroom climate has on the stimulus of the children. As Woolfolk states, “attention is affected by what else is happening at the time, by the complexity of the task, and by your ability to control or focus your attention” (Woolfolk, 252). I hope to be able to set up my room and bulletin boards to coincide with the unit plan. When studying the Tudors and the Reformation, the room will be inspired to evoke thoughts of 16 th Century England.
Woolfolk also emphasizes “eye-catching or startling displays or actions can draw attention at the beginning of a lesson” (Woolfolk, 253). I would open the lesson plan on Anne Boleyn by announcing my husband wants to cut off my head or recounting the testimony from her trial at which her father and uncle acquiesced.
Gaining attention through flickering the lights, saying SALAME, or give me five are great, but “students have to maintain attention – they have to stay focused on the important features of the learning situation” (Woolfolk, 253). If a class can relate attention to the lesson plan, even better.
In my opinion, the working memory is probably the one cognitive ability teachers can see growth in. “The ‘workbench’ of the memory system, the interface where new information is held temporarily and combined with knowledge from long term memory, to solve problems or comprehend a lecture” is important because it is where the Kindergarten learns about kings, the 7 th Grader stores information about monarchies, and the 12 th Grader realizes how Henry VIII used his powers as King to further the Protestant Reformation (Woolfolk, 253).
One tool I would not use as a teacher is maintenance rehearsal, “keeping information in working memory by repeating it . . .” (Woolfolk, 256). The reason I would not use this method is I am not a fan of note taking in the middle school classroom. Students need to be eager to learn, not forced into repetitive lectures and note taking which does not allow for a form of self expression and personal involvement.
I believe that elaborative rehearsal is best for keeping students interested in the material. Elaborative rehearsal involves “keeping information in working memory by associating it with something else you already know” (Woolfolk, 256).
In a Social Studies class it would be great to use debate, sketches, or discussion as a way to expand students memory through elaborative rehearsal.
Teachers are responsible for helping students know how to learn. As educators we can help develop the strategies “that pull from long-term memory the information needed at the moment” (Woolfolk, 258). The techniques teachers use to help students develop formulas for problem solving and retrieving information may differ for each student, this is why there may need to be different forms of assessment.
Good learning or studying habits need to be taught just as the lesson plan needs to be taught, we cannot expect students to know how to study and retain information. I intend on making a lesson plan on good studying habits a part of the first unit plan each semester.
In my Social Studies classroom the students will have an opportunity to demonstrate declarative, procedural, and conditional knowledge.
Declarative, Procedural, and Conditional Knowledge
The students will demonstrate declarative knowledge, “knowledge that can be declared through words or symbol systems,” by multiple choice tests, warm-ups, and trivia games. Although tracking and self-procession are negative side effects of declarative knowledge, it is imperative that students be able to know the correct answers when asked how many wives Henry VIII had. The class needs to be able to answer or declare that he had six wives.
Procedural knowledge or “‘knowing how’ to do something” in a Social Studies class is best demonstrated in research papers or moderating discussions based on prompts (Woolfolk, 258). The students could write an argumentative research paper on the legitimacy of Henry VIII divorce from Katherine of Aragon and in doing so demonstrate the procedure for researching and writing a Chicago style, argumentative research paper.
The absolute best experience in a Social Studies class is debates. Debating allows students to demonstrate conditional knowledge, perhaps the most important of the three. Debates would require “‘knowing when and why’ to apply your declarative and procedural knowledge” (Woolfolk, 258). Having the students debate the legitimacy of Elizabeth I reign as Queen of England would prove the class can take “the facts and can do the procedures” to quickly make their case in a timed debate. What good are the facts and procedures if students do know know when and why to use them.
Social Studies teachers are at the best advantage to mold episodic memory. This is important because experiencing events brings them alive to most individuals, not to mention that history is usually being made everyday. Even in the City of Fredericksburg there are an enormous amount of resources that would create an episodic memory. I would make the Battle of Chancellorsville come alive by taking students to the battlefield; taking a class to the auction block downtown would no doubt create an episodic memory; or visiting Ferry Farms. Sometime it is hard for students to imagine that Henry VIII or George Washington or even Martin Luther King Jr. really existed and as teachers it is our responsibility to bring our subject matter to life. I still remember going to Jamestown in 4 th Grade and the American History Museum in 11 th Grade, yet it seems that the importance of episodic memory is being pushed aside. With budget cuts and standardized testing there is little room for field trips which, in my opinion, can bring our subjects to life and leave a lasting episodic memory.
Flashbulb memories are just as important, if not more then episodic memories. Flashbulb memories or “ dramatic or emotional times moments in your life” are the topics of discussion we never forget, they stir men and women into action, they are engraved in our minds and hearts. I believe that flashbulb memories are what create history and the topics are the basis for content in Social Studies. Teachers need to recognize the importance of flashbulb memories in helping students understand the times they live in. For example, 9/11 was not only a time to discuss how we felt as people, but it would have been a great lead into a discussion of different religions and cultures, forms of governments, and how the policies of the United States affect other countries. Flashbulb memories are going to be what shapes students thoughts and opinions, it is up to us as teachers to throw out different perceptions and prompt discussion, such as “How would you use diplomacy to control this event and calm Americans?”