How (you can help) People Learn (biology)

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Peter Newbury
Center for Teaching Development, UCSD
April 21, 2014

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How (you can help) People Learn (biology)

  1. 1. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology) 1 What do you notice? What do you wonder? impaled by Yersinia on flickr CC-BY-NC-SA How People Learn
  2. 2. HOW PEOPLE LEARN Peter Newbury, Ph.D. Center for Teaching Development, University of California, San Diego pnewbury@ucsd.edu @polarisdotca ctd.ucsd.edu #ctducsd slides available at tinyurl.com/HPLBiologySp14 April 21, 2014
  3. 3. How (you can help) People Learn3
  4. 4. Survey How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)4 Which of these do you associate with a typical university lecture? A) listening B) absorbing C) note-taking D) learning
  5. 5. The traditional lecture is based on the transmissionist learning model How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)5 (Image by um.dentistry on flickr CC)
  6. 6. Let’s have a learning experience… 6 How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  7. 7. Here is an important new number system. Please learn it. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)7 1 = 4 = 7 = 2 = 5 = 8 = 3 = 6 = 9 =
  8. 8. Test How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)8 What is this number?
  9. 9. Scientifically Outdated, a Known Failure 9 How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology) We must abandon the tabula rasa “blank slate” and “students as empty vessels” models of teaching and learning.
  10. 10. New Number System: tic-tac-toe code How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  11. 11. What is this number? How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)11
  12. 12. Constructivist Theory of Learning How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)12 New learning is based on knowledge you already have. You store things in long term memory through a set of connections that are made with your existing memories. (Images by Rebecca-Lee on flickr CC) Creating memories (aka learning) involves having neurons fire and link up in networks or patterns. (fMRI is allowing us to observe learning as it happens.) learning is done by individuals
  13. 13. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)13 What are the patterns of how people learn? How do we use them?
  14. 14. How People Learn How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)14 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. Available for free as PDF www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=9853
  15. 15. Key Finding 1 How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)15 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 the purposes of a test but revert to their preconceptions outside of the classroom. (How People Learn, p 14.)
  16. 16. Key Finding 2 16 To develop competence in an area, 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.) How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  17. 17. Key Finding 3 17 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.) How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  18. 18. Aside: metacognition How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)18 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. ([2], [3]) cognitionmeta
  19. 19. Key Finding 3 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.) How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  20. 20. Please gather into groups of 2-3 How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)20 Each set of colored cards has  3 Key Findings  3 Implications for Teaching  3 Designing Classroom Environments TASK: Match the cards into 3 sets of 3 cards Designing Classroom Environment Key Finding 2 Implications for Teaching Key Finding 3
  21. 21. 21 How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  22. 22. Key Finding 1 How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)22 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 the purposes of a test but revert to their preconceptions outside of the classroom. (How People Learn, p 14.)
  23. 23. Implications for Teaching 1 How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)23 Teachers must draw out and work with the preexisting understandings that their students bring with them. (How People Learn, p 19.)
  24. 24. How (you can help) People Learn24 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 (tic-tac-toe board) Transmissionist Constructivist
  25. 25. Classroom Environments 1 How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)25 Schools and classrooms must be learner centered. (How People Learn, p 23.)
  26. 26. Learning requires interaction [4] How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)26 1 2 3 4
  27. 27. Key Finding 2 27 To develop competence in an area, 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 (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology) (How People Learn, p 16.)
  28. 28. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology) 28
  29. 29. Implications for Teaching 2 How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)29 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. Classroom Environments 2 To provide a knowledge-centered 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 20.) (How People Learn, p 24.)
  30. 30. Development of Mastery [5] How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)30 conscious unconscious incompetent competent 1 Level of Expertise Behavior
  31. 31. Development of Mastery [5] How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)31 conscious unconscious incompetent competent 1 2 Level of Expertise Behavior
  32. 32. Development of Mastery [5] How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)32 conscious unconscious incompetent competent 1 2 3 Level of Expertise Behavior
  33. 33. Development of Mastery [5] How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)33 conscious unconscious incompetent competent 1 2 3 4 Level of Expertise Behavior
  34. 34. Why Your Students Don’t Understand You How (you can help) People Learn34 Expert brains differ from novice brains because novices:  lack rich, networked connections, cannot make inferences, cannot reliably retrieve information  have preconceptions that distract, confuse, hinder  lack automization (“muscle memory”) resulting in cognitive overload
  35. 35. Key Finding 3 35 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.) How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  36. 36. Implications for Teaching 3 How (you can help) People Learn36 The teaching of metacognitive skills should be integrated into the curriculum in a variety of subject areas. Classroom Environments 3 Formative assessments — ongoing assessments designed to make students’ thinking visible to both teachers and students — are essential. We need to give our students opportunities to practice being metacognitive: having an internal dialogue about their own thinking (How People Learn, p 21.) (How People Learn, p 24.)
  37. 37. Putting theory into practice
  38. 38. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)38 student-centered instructiontraditional lecture
  39. 39. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)39 peer instruction with clickers interactive demonstrations What do you notice? What do you wonder? surveys of opinions reading quizzes worksheets discussions videos student-centered instruction
  40. 40. Clicker Question 40 The molecules making up the dry mass of wood that forms during the growth of a tree largely come from A) sunlight. B) the air. C) the seed. D) the soil. Question credit: Bill Wood How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  41. 41. Typical episode of peer instruction How (you can help) People Learn41 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 prompts students, “Turn to your neighbors and convince them you’re right.” 4. After the peer-to-peer discussion, [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.
  42. 42. In effective peer instruction How (you can help) People Learn42  students teach each other while they may still hold or remember their novice preconceptions  students discuss the concepts in their own (novice) language  each student finds out what s/he does(n’t) know  the instructor finds out what the students (don’t) know and reacts, building on their initial understanding and preconceptions. students learn and practice how to think, communicate like experts
  43. 43. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)43 peer instruction with clickers interactive demonstrations What do you notice? What do you wonder? surveys of opinions reading quizzes worksheets discussions videos student-centered instruction
  44. 44. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology) 44 Chemistry Day 4 by pennstatenews on flickr CC-BY-NC
  45. 45. Clicker question How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)45 A ball is rolling around the inside of a circular track. The ball leaves the track at point P. Which path does the ball follow? P A B C E D (adapted from Mazur)
  46. 46. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)46 peer instruction with clickers interactive demonstrations What do you notice? What do you wonder? surveys of opinions reading quizzes worksheets discussions videos student-centered instruction
  47. 47. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology) 47 What do you notice? What do you wonder? impaled by Yersinia on flickr CC-BY-NC-SA
  48. 48. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)48 peer instruction with clickers interactive demonstrations What do you notice? What do you wonder? surveys of opinions reading quizzes worksheets discussions videos student-centered instruction
  49. 49. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)49 Veritasium (Derek Muller) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KZb2_vcNTg As you watch the video, notice how Derek talks to the people he interviews.
  50. 50. Active Learning in Discussion Sections 50  peer instruction with clickers, colored ABCD cards, ABCDE pdf on smartphones,…  1-minute papers: What is most confusing right now?  2-minute pause: Give students 2 minutes to “catch their breath”, answer questions they have  Problem Solving in Groups  Ask what steps would you take to solve problem (versus actually solving them)  Critique or “fix” sample work/problem  overhead slides, document cameras, board?  If there’s a skill expert biologists have (drawing, identifying structures in diagram, etc.) give students a worksheet which gives them practice doing it. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  51. 51. How People Learn 51 Learning is not about what the instructor does. It’s about what students do for themselves. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  52. 52. How People Learn 52 Learning is not about what the instructor does. It’s about what students do for themselves. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology) 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 [6], p.108)
  53. 53. How People Learn 53 Learning is not about what the instructor does. It’s about what students do for themselves. Students will not learn (just) by listening to the instructor explain. How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  54. 54. How People Learn 54 Learning is not about what the instructor does. It’s about what students do for themselves. Students will not learn (just) by listening to the instructor explain. BE LESS HELPFUL How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  55. 55. If in doubt, ask yourself… 55 Who is doing the work, you or the students? How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)
  56. 56. References How (You Can Help) People Learn (Biology)56 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. Flavell, J. H. (1976). Metacognitive aspects of problem solving. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), The nature of intelligence (pp.231-236). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. 3. Brame, C. (2013). Thinking about metacognition. [blog] January, 2013, Available at: http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/2013/01/thinking-about- metacognition/ [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013]. 4. 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. 5. Sprague, J., & Stuart, D. (2000). The speaker’s handbook. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt College Publishers. 6. Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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