Highlights from Articles
Case for Learner-Centered Instruction", by Joe Cuseo, Marymount
College, CA, (in Skip Downing's OnCourse newsletter, Jan. 2006) "...Learner-centered
teaching strategies work by implementing one of the following research-based
1. Active Involvement--learning becomes deeper and more durable when students become actively engaged in the learning process, i.e., when they spend more time "on task" and invest a higher level mental energy in that task (Astin, 1984, 1985a, 1985b, 1993; Kuh, 1991, 2001; National Institute of Education, 1984; Pace, 1984, 1990; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991, 2005).
2. Social Integration--learning is strengthened through student-instructor and student-student (peer) interaction and
collaboration (Astin, 1993; Bruffee, 1993; Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 1998; Slavin, 1996; Tinto, 1987, 1993).
3. Self-Reflection--learning is deepened when students "step back" and reflect on how they are learning (i.e., engage in "meta-cognition") and reflect on what they are learning--transforming it into a form that makes sense or has personal meaning to them ("elaboration"), which enables them to build relevant conceptual connections between what they are trying to learn and what they have already know (i.e., knowledge is personally "constructed") (Flavell, 1985; Joint Task Force on Student Learning, 1998; Piaget, 1972; Vygotsky, 1978; Weinstein & Meyer, 1991).
4. Personal Validation--learning is facilitated when students feel personally significant, i.e., when they are recognized as individuals and sense that they matter to their instructor and their classmates (Rendon, 1994; Rendon & Garza, 1996; Schlossberg, Lynch, Chickering, 1989).
If learner-centered teaching strategies effectively implement all four of these principles simultaneously, they can be expected to exert synergistic effects on multiple positive outcomes, including deep learning, intrinsic motivation, and student retention.
"Building Pedagogical Intelligence", Students
as Partners in Improvement
Pat Hutchings, Vice President of Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Carnegie Perspectives, A different way to think about teaching and learning, Jan. 2005
a faculty member for many years, I saw first hand how difficult it is for students
to reflect on and assess their own experiences as learners, to get past the
idea of learning as something that happens to them (or not), to see their education
as something they can create and control. But when teachers continue to create
opportunities for such self-assessment, students get better at identifying and
seeking out what they need to advance their knowledge and abilities. In short,
we can help students get smarter about what it takes to get smarter.
The notion of multiple intelligences has had wide play for more than a decade. Howard Gardner postulates a whole set of them: linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, body-kinesthetic, and personal intelligences. Daniel Goleman has popularized the idea of an emotional intelligence. The word "intelligence" invites some misunderstandings since it seems to suggest traits that are inherited and static. But the idea that multiple capacities and dispositions are both possible and, indeed, necessary to function effectively in the world is a right one, and I would propose that we need yet another as well. Let us call it a "pedagogical intelligence"—an understanding about how learning happens, and a disposition and capacity to shape one's own learning. Whatever the term, it is something that is increasingly needed today as the world becomes more complicated, as boundaries of all kinds shift, and as change becomes a constant expectation...
Carnegie Conversations: A public forum to discuss the issues and ideas from Carnegie Perspectives, with access to monthly articles and dialogue from Oct. 2003 to present
Interpretation Construction Approach to Constructivist Design"
John B. Black and Robert O. McClintock
Teachers College, Columbia University
Study is a key concept in making design more fruitful in education. We propose that what students are doing when they construct knowledge is studying. Specifically, we think that the term study captures better what should be going on during knowledge construction then does the term learn. Thus, in designing for knowledge construction we see ourselves as designing Study Support Environments (SSEs) instead of "instructional systems" or "learning environments." Creating SSEs allows us to create "a place for study in a world of instruction" (McClintock, 1971, "Toward a Place for Study in a World of Instruction"). The core of study is the hermeneutic activity of constructing interpretations. Hermeneutics as a field focused initially on interpretation of texts, but has broadened to interpretation in general (Palmer, 1969; Gadamer, 1976). From this perspective, the basis for cognition (and being in general) is interpretation based on background knowledge and beliefs (Heidegger, 1962; Winograd and Flores, 1986). Consistent with these philosophical arguments for the centrality of interpretation in cognition are the many research results from cognitive psychology showing that understanding involves making a large number of inferences (Black, 1984; Black, 1985). Thus, the key consideration in designing a SSE is fostering the construction of interpretations based on observations and background contextual information.
... In this paper, we describe a framework for SSE design and describe its application to three specific SSEs created as part of the Dalton Technology Plan. After describing the SSEs we report evaluations that demonstrate their effectiveness.
Construction (ICON) Design Model
1. Observation: Students make observations of authentic artifacts anchored in authentic situations
2. Interpretation Construction: Students construct interpretations of observations and construct arguments for the validity of their interpretations
3. Contextualization: Students access background and contextual materials of various sorts to aid interpretation and argumentation
4. Cognitive Apprenticeship: Students serve as apprentices to teachers to master observation, interpretation and contextualization
5. Collaboration: Students collaborate in observation, interpretation and contextualization
6. Multiple Interpretations: Students gain cognitive flexibility by being exposed to multiple interpretations
7. Multiple Manifestations: Students gain transferability by seeing multiple manifestations of the same interpretations.
Some of these constructive design principles are adaptations from proposals by others. For example, the Cognitive Apprenticeship principle comes from Collins, Brown and Newman (1988), the Multiple Interpretations one from Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobson and Coulson (1992), and the Collaboration one from Johnson, Johnson, Holubec and Roy (1984). The Observation principle is a combination of recommendations by Brown, Collins and Duiguid (1989) and the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1990), but our focus on authentic artifacts is unique. Further, our emphasis on Interpretation Construction, Contextualization, and Multiple Manifestations is distinctive.
Original article published: In B. Wilson (Ed.) Constructivist learning environments. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications, 1995.
4. Successful CEOs with Dyslexia: "Overcoming Dyslexia" by Betsy Morris is an excellent article in the May 2002 issue of Fortune magazine on very successful CEOs who are "coming out" about their dyslexia to help others. To read, please go to www.fortune.com/fortune, and search for "Overcoming Dyslexia".
'Stupid. Dumb. Retard. Dyslexic kids have heard it all. According to a March 2000 Roper poll, almost two-thirds of Americans still associate learning disabilities with mental retardation. That's probably because dyslexics find it so difficult to learn through conventional methods. "It is a disability in learning," says Boies. "It is not an intelligence disability. It doesn't mean you can't think."
He's right. Dyslexia has nothing to do with IQ; many smart, accomplished people have it, or are thought to have had it, including Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein. Sally Shaywitz, a leading dyslexia neuroscientist at Yale, believes the disorder can carry surprising talents along with its well-known disadvantages. "Dyslexics are overrepresented in the top ranks of people who are unusually insightful, who bring a new perspective, who think out of the box," says Shaywitz. She is co-director of the Center for Learning and Attention at Yale, along with her husband, Dr. Bennett Shaywitz, a professor of pediatrics and neurology.
Dyslexics don't outgrow their problems--reading and writing usually remain hard work for life--but with patient teaching and deft tutoring, they do learn to manage.'
5. Professional Development: Some of these articles refer to K-12, but seem pertinent for our concerns in SBCC's Committee on Teaching and Learning. The first two are about students, the last is about professional development efforts and says what I believe faculty here have been saying. They're from the PEN Weekly Newsblast at "Public Education Network". Jody Millward
The first two articles are not available because the webpages have been changed,
but they are left here should you be interested in reading the short summaries.)
PUPILS SHUNTED INTO VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
Some school leaders are learning that just because you are poor and
Latina, it doesn*t mean you want to become a cosmetologist. Vocational
education programs are designed to prepare youths for entry-level jobs in
technical, trade, office and service fields. Many educators praise its
success in teaching marketable skills and helping students attain jobs
after graduation. Others say some vocational classes serve as dumping
grounds for students in overcrowded schools. In some classes, as many as
half the students are enrolled in vocational classes because there are not
enough teachers available to offer more academic courses and electives.
And with a shortage of counselors to give good advice, many teens don't
realize until too late that such vocational classes will not help them get
into a university.
POINT RACIAL ACHIEVEMENT GAP FOUND ACROSS NEW YORK SCHOOLS
New York State has broken down elementary and middle school standardized
test scores by race and ethnicity for the first time and found that white
and Asian students do much better than black and Hispanic students in
English and mathematics. The findings also show that black and Hispanic
students continue to lag as they go through school and that in many cases
the gap worsens. The findings reinforce other national studies suggesting
that race is a stronger predictor of academic success than income.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT INTO PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
Research over the last decade has repeatedly highlighted the need for
better support and better working conditions for teachers. This article
proposes that the shortcoming of current professional development is not a
lack of available offerings. Rather the problem lies in the fact that most
of these offerings fail to connect professional development to
professional practice, leaving lessons isolated in a seminar or classroom.