Learning is Constructing Knowledge: All new knowledge must be linked to something the learner already knows New and higher-level neural structures have to connect to or grow from structures (knowledge) already there You can’t learn anything completely new
Tidewater oct 07
Teaching Strategies andAssessment in a Learning College Tidewater Community College Workshop, October 25-26, 2007 Rose Mince and Bonnie Startt
Who are We? How does this impact teaching and learning in the classroom?
Who are our Students? Different Generations in the Classroom
The New Generation of CollegeStudents Generations defined by shared core values Consists of approximately a 20 year span Reacts to the generations before them Those born on the “cusp” may have characteristics of multiple generations
Defining Events… 1930s Great Depression Election of FDR 1940s PearlHarbor D-Day Death of FDR VE Day and VJ Day Hiroshima -- Nagasaki
Core Values… Dedication Patience Hard work Delayed reward Conformity Duty before Law and order pleasure Respect for Adherence to authority rules Honor
Compared to other generations… Economically successful but invented “midlife crisis” due to lost adolescence Raised in large, extended families Apprenticeship businesses and farming Average 10 year old spent 4-6 hours daily with significant adult role model Perception of world as “safe” Did not attack institutions of previous generation – just tried to improve and refine them
Defining Events… 1950s 1960s Korean War Vietnam TV in every home Kennedy elected McCarthy HCUAA Civil Rights hearings Movement Rock ‘n Roll Kennedy / King Salk Polio vaccine assassinations introduced Moon landing Woodstock
Core Values… Optimism Personal growth Team orientation Youth Personal Work gratification Involvement Health and wellness
Compared to other generations… TV generation All time divorce rate for families Families moving – GI Bill and industrialization “Nuclear” family Children spend significant time with adult role model Mom stays home; Dad carpools Generation gap with their parents; chose not to raise their children with same “rigidity”.
Compared to other generations Divorce at all time high; single parents the norm; latch-key kids Small families; children at bottom of social priorities Average 10 year old spent 14 ½ minutes with a significant adult role model Perception of world as “unsafe” Children grew to be “me” oriented, pragmatic and self sufficient and determined that there must be a better way…
Core Values Civic minded Optimistic Long-term planners High achievers Self confident Social Diverse
Demographics… Nearly as large, if not larger, than Baby Boomer generation Born to parents of both Baby Boomers and Generation X Highly educated parents with for, the first time in history, mothers with better education than fathers Most racially and ethnically diverse generation in American history
Differences in Values… Parenting Technology Gaming Customer Service Self Esteem movement Communication
Parenting Safety improvements – increasing mortality rates for teens since 1967 (bike helmets, seat belts, etc.) Baby boomer parents raised children differently than their “rigid” parents (raised them to question authority) Created a generation of “negotiators” Parents are becoming over involved – “helicopter” parents Children spend more time with parents, like them, and share their values
Technology Never knew a world without computers Do not live in a 9-5 world Function in an international world Expect technology in the classroom 50% of children under 6 are using computers; 100% of teens use internet, 70% use IM A technology gap exists along SES lines Not a television generation but an interactive technologically savvy generation
Gaming… Involves complex decision making Players take in multiple sets of data and make decisions quickly Learning is through many trials and errors Students expect learning in class to be the same – multiple opportunities to make errors and rewrites
Customer Service… Expect access 24/7 Expect things to work as they are supposed to They want what they have paid for – have students paid for a grade or for learning? Everything comes with a toll-free number and a web address
Self Esteem Movement… 9,068 books written about self esteem in late 80s and 90s Focus on self esteem was not able to eliminate adolescent angst, concern over purpose of existence, need to feel important and valued
Communication… Expect to stay in communication 24/7 Email is becoming outdated Cell phones are a lifestyle management tool and essential Cell phones are for safety as well as casual communication
Teaching Implications… Provide clear objectives and details of expectations Allow students input into educational processes Allow for meaningful activities such as learning communities and service learning Be flexible, sensitive, and enthusiastic Don’t be surprised by how easily they are demoralized – they have high expectations and are high achievers
Last thoughts… A gender gap is emerging… Highly programmed lives have resulted in multi-taskers Prediction is that they change careers multiple times in their lives They want value – not the hard work, stressed-out, fall asleep at the dinner table lives of their parents.
Did You Know? Understanding the diversity of our students and the changing world
Think, Pair, Share Reflect on the information and ideas presented so far. List 3-5 specific implications for teaching your students in your classes. Share your ideas with a partner. Share 1 idea with the group.
Teaching Teaching andUnderstanding Understanding What Students Are What Teachers Do What Students Do
Natural Learning ProcessStages Stage 1: MOTIVATION: Responding to stimulus. Not knowing how to do it or how it works, just trying it. Stage 2: BEGINNING PRACTICE: Doing it (“practice, practice, practice”), learning from one’s own mistakes. Starting to get the feel for it. Stage 3: ADVANCED PRACTICE: Increase of skill and confidence through more practice, more trial & error, getting comfortable.
Natural Learning ProcessStages Stage 4: SKILLFULNESS: More practice, doing it one’s own way, deviating from the norm, taking risks, creativity, branching out. Stage 5: REFINEMENT: Automization or becoming second nature, creativity, learning new methods, strong satisfaction. Stage 6: MASTERY: Increased creativity, broader application, teaching it, continuing improvement, expert (or dropping the activity).
Physical Processes of Learning When we are learning a particular skill or concept: Learning occurs through the growing and constructing of physical structures in the brain Learning, thinking, and remembering are the brain’s natural physical, electrical and chemical processes. We construct physical structures in the brain every time we connect new information to previous knowledge. Neural networks need time to grow. Our brains are “plastic”!
The Natural Learning Organ Has a natural learning process Has an innate logic Is a natural problem-solver Is a natural pattern-seeker Is internally motivated Feels pleasure when learning
Principles and Implications Principles Implications Learning and growing Teaching is like brain structures are the gardening – we need to same thing help students grow. New brain structures We learn by making and grow with practice – a lot correcting mistakes and of practice. trying again. Brain structures grow Students need authentic exclusively for what is practice with the target practiced knowledge.
Principles and Implications Principles Implications Each person has The first step is to make his/her own unique a personal connection pattern of structures between the students that grow off what they and the new thing to already have. learn. Students need to Expect students with construct basic prior experience to have pathways first before an advantage to move to they can develop the higher levels sooner. pathways for higher order/creative neural structures.
Principles and Implications Principles Implications Brain structures grow Keep activity levels high. when learners are Provide a learning active. environment that is Emotions affect growth. positive and supportive DNA can affect how and believe in your quickly brain structures students. grow for different things. Recognize difference in aptitudes.
5 Rules of How the Brain Learns 1. Dendrites, synapses, and neural networks grow off what is already there. Like twigs on a tree. Can’t grow off of nothing. Learning starts by making a connection to prior knowledge or experience. To learn something new we must start with something familiar.
5 Rules of How the Brain Learns 2. Neural networks grow from what is actively, personally, and specifically experienced and practiced New networks are constructed for each new concept or skill. As people practice, they build better structures for that particular skill or knowledge. Practice means making mistakes, learning from them, correcting and starting over. Making mistakes is a natural part of learning.
5 Rules of How the Brain Learns 3. Neural networks grow from stimulating experiences. The chemical electrical process needs to be stimulated. Stimulating experiences activate the brain.
5 Rules of How the Brain Learns 4. Use it or lose it Neural networks will be lost if you don’t use them. Pruning occurs naturally if skills or ideas are not used or practiced.
5 Rules of How the Brain Learns 5. Emotions affect learning. Emotions can have a major impact on learning and remembering. Negative emotions can help students forget or not connect new information. Self-doubt, fear and other negative emotions can keep you from learning and remembering. Confidence, interests and other positive emotions help the learning and remembering process.
“All human beings areborn as natural learners.”Our brain has a natural, innate thinking and learning process.It knows how to learn and remember and is thinking soon after birth.Learning by the brains natural learning process helps students become the motivated, eager, successful learners they are born to be. Dr. Rita Smilkstein “We’re Born to Learn”
Fuzzy Question Is there anything from today’s presentation so far that is unclear to you? If so, what is it? What type of follow-up would be helpful to you?
Assessing our Students… Tying it all together: Teaching/Learning/Assessment
Why Grades Don’t Make the Grade Don’t tell the whole story May not be based solely on student learning outcomes May be subjective Are not always valid and reliable
Basic Assumptions ofAssessment • Quality of learning related to quality of teaching • Teachers need feedback on extent to which their explicit goals and objectives are being met • Students need feedback often and early • Assessment should be faculty driven, collaborative, and systematic • Allow teachers to become the researchers Angelo & Cross (1993)
Classroom AssessmentTechniques Definition: An approach designed to help teachers determine what and how well students are learning in the classroom. Characteristics: • Learner-centered • Teacher-directed • Mutually beneficial • Formative • Context specific • Ongoing • Rooted in Good Teaching Practice
Learning Outcomes AssessmentGoals and Objectives Document improved and expanded student learning Create continuous improvement process for learning outcomes assessment Provide continuous curriculum improvement
Assessment Design 5 Stages of LOA Projects 1.Designing and Proposing a Project (RFP) 2.Implementing the Design and Collecting and Analyzing the Data 3.Redesigning the Course/Program to Improve Student Learning 4.Implementing Revisions and Reassessing 5.Communicating Final Analysis
Rubric: A definition “…a one- or two-page document that describes varying levels of quality from excellent to poor for a specific assignment” Heidi Goodrich Andrade Two main components: A detailed list of criteria Gradations of quality
Rubrics Holistic vs. Analytic Holistic: all criteria are factored in together to determine the final grade for that assignment (one overall or total score) Analytic: considers and evaluates each criterion separately (sub-scores)
Grading Rubrics: Advantages Assess student work more quickly and more efficiently Provide a clear justification to student for the grade received Act as a teaching tool to support student learning Put more responsibility into the hands of the students
Grading Rubrics: Advantages Facilitate students’ progress in completing assignment Are easy to use and explain Support the development of students’ skills and understanding Provide informative feedback and detailed evaluations
Developing a Rubric Validate the objective/s you want students to achieve (verb). Create the assignment. Develop the rubric: 1) Identify the criteria 2) Weigh the criteria 3) Describe the levels of success 4) Create and distribute the rubric/grid
Rubric Adjectives/Anchors 6=evidence beyond the expectations (present, and, and) 5=evidence is present; student has gone slightly beyond requirements (present, and) 4=evidence is present without any extra supporting material (present) 3=something lacking from the requirement (present, but) 2=some evidence, but something important is lacking (present, but, but) 1=very little evidence that skills have been achieved
Some Excellent Resources Scoring Rubrics in the Classroom by Arter and McTighe (2001) “Primary Trait Analysis: Anchoring Assessment in the Classroom” Benander, Denton, Page, and Skinner (2000). The Journal of General Education, 49, 280-302. “Oral Presentations in Math Classes” (grading using a rubric) in Innovation Abstracts, (2002), XXIV, 23 www2.acs.ncsu.edu/UPA/assmt/resource.htm
Common Graded Assignments Common – similar format, varied content; applied in more than one class to allow comparison Graded -- required by the instructor so that students put effort into the assignment; faculty provide feedback to the student Assignment -- evaluation of the “routine” ongoing work of the students
Sample CGAs Critiques Lab Reports Article Reviews: Comparison/Contrast Projects (individual or group) Research Papers Case Studies Essay Questions The list goes on…
Steps to Creating a Rubric Look at several models of anonymous student work from previous classes. Identify the characteristics that make the good ones good and the bad ones bad. List the evaluation criteria. Determine the gradation of quality for the selected evaluation criteria. Begin by describing the best and worst levels of quality and then fill in the middle levels based on your knowledge of common problems. ( Use the "yes, yes but, no but, no" system!) Have students evaluate the models from step 1. Allow students to ask clarification questions and make comments. Use students feedback to revise the rubrics.
Critical Thinking Engaging Ideas by John C.Bean
Using Writing to PromoteThinking Writing in the Disciplines/Across Communities Understanding Connections Between Thinking and Writing Designing Problem-Based Assignment Coaching Students as Learners, Thinkers, and Writers Reading, Commenting On, and Grading Student Writing
From Passive to Active Learners The learner’s engagement depends on the type of problems/assignments the learner is asked to think about and act upon. Key teaching tasks: Design interesting problems for students to think about. Develop strategies for giving critical thinking problems to students. Create a course atmosphere that encourages inquiry, exploration, discussion, and debate while valuing the dignity and worth of each student.
Key Teaching Tasks (continued) Be a mentor and a coach. Develop a range of strategies for modeling critical thinking, critiquing student performances, and guiding students toward the habits of inquiry and argument valued in their disciplines.
Link Between Writing and CriticalThinking The most intensive and demanding tool for eliciting sustained critical thought is a well- designed writing assignment on a subject matter problem. Writing is closely linked with thinking and in presenting students with significant problems to think about—and in creating an environment that demands their best writing, faculty can promote cognitive and intellectual growth.
Using Writing to PromoteThinking Teachers who successfully integrate writing and critical thinking often report a satisfying increase in their teaching pleasure: class discussions are richer, students are more fully engaged, and the quality of their performance improves Teachers must plan for writing/thinking activities and foster them throughout the course.
Central Activities of CriticalThinking Identifyingand challenging assumptions Exploring alternative ways of thinking and acting Brookfield (1987) Critical thinkers are engaged with life.
Writing as a Process vs. a Skill Writing is more than a communication skill. It is a process and product of critical thought. We want to have more than clear, accurate writing. We want interesting writing: Active engagement with a problem; writing that brings something new to the reader; writing that makes and supports an argument Make the course assignment-centered versus text or lecture-centered Require multiple drafts/steps in the writing process
Some ways to give tasks tostudents Problems presented as formal writing assignments Problems presented as thought- provokers for exploratory writing Problems presented as tasks for small group problem solving Problems presented as starters for inquiry-based class discussions
Some ways to give tasks tostudents (continued) Problems presented as think-on-your- feet questions for in-class “cold calling” Problems presented as focusing questions for in-class debates, panel discussions, cases, or fishbowls Problems presented as practice exam questions
Practical Suggestions Avoid “and then” assignments (example, student gives you a summary when you want an argument) Avoid “all about” writing (do the subtopics add up to an argument or an encyclopedia?) Ask students to consider multiple points of view, to confront clashing values, and to imagine, analyze, and evaluate alternative solutions to problems Encourage revisions
Practical Suggestions(continued) Require a series of short essays instead of a term paper Use write-to-learn assignments (apply what has been taught) Give students clear, written directions Have a colleague fine-tune your assignments Begin assignments in class so that students can ask questions Incorporate reflection papers Use grading rubrics
Presenters’ Information Rose Mince: firstname.lastname@example.org Bonnie Startt: email@example.com