The College Classroom Week 2: How People Learn


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The College Classroom
Peter Newbury
Fall 2013

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The College Classroom Week 2: How People Learn

  1. 1. The College Classroom October 8 and 10, 2013 Week 2: How People Learn
  2. 2. 2 #tccucsd
  3. 3. Evidence-based teaching #tccucsd 3 We know How People Learn. [1] There is research that informs us. Let’s exploit the patterns of learning to make instruction more effective.
  4. 4. “…exploit the patterns…” 4 Put up your hand when you recognize what this is: NBCFBIOMGUSAIRS #tccucsd
  5. 5. How People Learn, Chapter 1 matrix 5 #tccucsd
  6. 6. Key Finding – 1 Students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works. If their initial understanding is not engaged, they may fail to grasp the new concepts and information that are taught, or they may learn them for purposes of a test but revert to their preconceptions outside the classroom. (How People Learn, p 14.) 6 #tccucsd
  7. 7. Discussion #tccucsd 7 1. Introduce yourselves if you haven’t yet. 2. Tell the others at your table about how, in the class you observed, the instructor successfully engaged the students’ preconceptions and initial understanding. (5 minutes) 3. Tell your group about a time when the instructor failed to engage the students’ pre-existing knowledge. How did you know? (5 minutes)
  8. 8. Implications for Teaching – 1 Teachers must draw out and work with the preexisting understandings that their students bring with them. (How People Learn, p 19.) 8 #tccucsd
  9. 9. Designing Classroom Environments – 1 Schools and classrooms must be learner centered. (How People Learn, p. 23) Students need to “encounter safe yet challenging conditions in which they can try, fail, receive feedback, and try again without facing summative evaluation” (What the best college teachers do, p.108) 9 #tccucsd
  10. 10. Learning requires interaction [3] #tccucsd 10
  11. 11. Learning requires interaction [3] #tccucsd 11 % of class time NOT lecturing Learning gain: pre-test 0 100% post-test 0.50
  12. 12. Learning requires interaction [3] #tccucsd 12 1 2 3 4
  13. 13. Key Findings – 2 To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must: (a) have a deep foundation of factual knowledge, (b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and (c) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. (How People Learn, p. 16) 13 #tccucsd
  14. 14. #tccucsd 14
  15. 15. Tic-Tac-Toe code 15 1 = 4 = 7 = 2 = 5 = 8 = 3 = 6 = 9 = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 unsupported, unfamiliar content built on pre-existing knowledge and organized for retrieval #tccucsd
  16. 16. Implications for Teaching – 2 Teachers must teach some subject matter in depth, providing many examples in which the same concept is at work and providing a firm foundation of factual knowledge. (How People Learn, p. 20) 16 #tccucsd
  17. 17. Discussion #tccucsd 17 Tell the others at your table about how, in the class you observed, the instructor talked about (or never talk about) the framework of concepts and the organization and retrieval of the concepts. (5 minutes)
  18. 18. Designing Classroom Environments – 2 To provide a knowledge-centered classroom environment, attention must be given to what is taught (information, subject matter), why it is taught (understanding), and what competence or mastery looks like. (How People Learn, p. 24) 18 learning outcomes (Week 4) development of expertise (Week 3) #tccucsd
  19. 19. Key Findings – 3 #tccucsd 19 A “metacognitive” approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them. (How People Learn, p 18.)
  20. 20. Aside: metacognition #tccucsd 20 Metacognition refers to one’s knowledge concerning one’s own cognitive processes or anything related to them. For example, I am engaging in metacognition if I notice that I am having more trouble learning A than B. ([4], [5]) cognitionmeta
  21. 21. Aside: metacognition #tccucsd 21 I wonder why I wonder why? I wonder why I wonder? I wonder why I wonder why I wonder why I wonder? Richard Feynman Image: Wikimedia Commons
  22. 22. Key Findings – 3 A “metacognitive” approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them. (How People Learn, p. 18) 22 #tccucsd
  23. 23. Implications for Teaching – 3 The teaching of metacognitive skills should be integrated into the curriculum in a variety of subject areas. (How People Learn, p. 21) 23 #tccucsd
  24. 24. Designing Classroom Environments – 3 Formative assessments — ongoing assessments designed to make students’ thinking visible to both teachers and students — are essential. They permit the teacher to grasp the students’ preconceptions, understand where the students are in the “developmental corridor” from informal to formal thinking, and design instruction accordingly. In the assessment-centered classroom environment, formative assessments help both teachers and students monitor progress. (How People Learn, p. 24) 24 assessment (Week 5) #tccucsd
  25. 25. Designing Classroom Environments – 3 Another way to “teach metacognitive skills”  write a blog post  ask students to write blog posts  provide them with the tools to write posts  help them set up their own blogs 25 #tccucsd Writing blog posts help you to be metacognitive: it’s something the students should do. So what should the instructor do? upcoming TCC homework If you’re interested, talk to Peter
  26. 26. Your classroom observations #tccucsd 26 Did anyone observe a time when students had an opportunity to be metacognitive – to have an internal dialogue about their understanding of the concepts?  How did the instructor prompt them?  e.g.  What task did the instructor give them?  e.g.
  27. 27. Introductory Chemistry #tccucsd 27 Today, we’ll be learning about changes of state.
  28. 28. Clicker question #tccucsd 28 Melt chocolate over low heat. Remove the chocolate from the heat. What will happen to the chocolate? A) It will condense. B) It will evaporate. C) It will freeze. (Question: Sujatha Raghu from Braincandy via LearningCatalytics) (Image: CIM9926 by number657 on flickr CC)
  29. 29. Typical Episode of Peer Instruction (PI) #tccucsd 29 1. Instructor poses a conceptually-challenging multiple-choice question. 2. Students think about question on their own and vote using clickers, colored ABCD cards, smartphones,… 3. The instructor asks students to turn to their neighbors and “convince them you’re right.” 4. After that “peer instruction”, the students vote again and the instructor leads a class-wide discussion concluding with why the right answer(s) is right and the wrong answers are wrong. an “agile” instructor can try variations on 3 – 4
  30. 30. In effective peer instruction #tccucsd 30  students teach each other while they may still hold or remember their novice preconceptions  students discuss the concepts in their own (novice) language  the instructor finds out what the students know (and don’t know) and reacts, building on their initial understanding and preconceptions. students learn and practice how to think, communicate like experts
  31. 31. Effective peer instruction requires #tccucsd 1. identifying key concepts, misconceptions 2. creating multiple-choice questions that require deeper thinking and learning 3. facilitating peer instruction episodes that spark student discussion 4. resolving the misconceptions before class during class 31 Teacher C (HPL p. 12)
  32. 32. PI and How People Learn #tccucsd 32
  33. 33. The College Classroom October 15 and 17, 2013 Watch the blog for the Week 3 Homework Week 3: Development of Expertise
  34. 34. References #tccucsd 34 1. National Research Council (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. J.D. Bransford, A.L Brown & R.R. Cocking (Eds.),Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 2. Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 3. Prather, E.E, Rudolph, A.L., Brissenden, G., & Schlingman, W.M. (2009). A national study assessing the teaching and learning of introductory astronomy. Part I. The effect of interactive instruction. Am. J. Phys. 77, 4, 320-330. 4. Flavell, J. H. (1976). Metacognitive aspects of problem solving. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), The nature of intelligence (pp.231-236). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. 5. Brame, C. (2013). Thinking about metacognition. [blog] January, 2013, Available at: about-metacognition/ [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].
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