DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

May 6


Erikson Ch. 6: Presenting and Explaining

  • Research indicates that lecture is less effective than other methods when instructional goals include retention of information beyond the end of the course, application of information, development of thinking skills, modification of attitude, or motivation for further learning
  • Our first encounter with new information occurs through the senses
  • By presenting information in chunks, we reduce the load on short-term memory and help make the info easier to remember
  • If new information in short-term memory has meaning or can be made meaningful, it is transferred to long-term memory
  • If the information in long-term memory is organized around meaningful concepts and if those concepts are connected, the chances of remembering information and procedures substantially increase
  • Students often take the surface-processing approach to learning, where they set out to learn information exactly as it is presented
  • Students should take the deep-processing approach to learning, where they integrate, elaborate, and extend new ideas by connecting them to what they already know, considering them in other contexts, thinking of new examples, and applications, noting similarities and differences
  • Covering content for 50 minutes straight is counterproductive and is destructive in a course with first-year students
  • Lecturing without pause tends to reinforce passive listening, verbatim note taking, and superficial-information processing strategies that many first-year students bring to college
  • Ten minutes is enough time to introduce a concept or procedure and give an example or two, with students being given enough time to think about the ideas
  • Defining objectives and telling them how the information will be presented gives students a way to know the content that will be covered during the class that day 
  • A good introduction captures the students' attention and focuses it on the objectives
  • It is crucial that the examples and illustrations embody the key ideas you want your students to remember
  • Explanation should begin with relatively clear cut examples and gradually introduce more complex and subtler illustrations
  • Examples, illustrations, and problems should come from a variety of situations and settings
  • Give enough examples so that students will clearly understand the topic being taught. Have a few other examples ready in anticipation that some students will require more explanation
  • Converting ideas into images because they are the easiest thing for the human brain to remember
  • Summarizing at the end of class helps students to re-look over concepts that they may have missed during the lecture, since students cannot control the pace of the lecture they are attending
  • Taking five minutes at the end of class to ask students to summarize the ideas presented, solve a sample problem, or apply information to a new situation is a good strategy for finding out what students understood and what they did not

Erikson Ch. 7: Creating Involvement in the Classroom

  • Dividing up the class into groups of 3 to 5 and posing a question that requires a group response, we are able to monitor each group and hopefully spark a discussion that involves the whole class
  • Writing to learn exercises are short, where students only write a paragraph or two to learn for themselves in the interest of collecting their thoughts and getting them down on paper, where they can be inspected, extended, organized, and revised
  • Writing to learn activites show students who have idle pencils and need extra help understand the concepts, and it helps students confront what they can and cannot do
  • Case studies often bridge the gap between theory and practice, between the abstract and concrete, and between the classroom and the world beyond
  • Starting with simpler case studies that have more explicit directions for analyses and then moving gradually to more complex cases with less guidance does not overwhelm first-year students
  • Role playing places students in the situation and asks them to assume the role of a character in the story
  • Role-playing a theoretial perspective engages students and faculty in thinking about multicultural issues
  • The difference between talking about a situation and being in the situation is subtle but powerful
  • When thinking about activites to get students involved, begin with a clear notion of learning objectives
  • The more we learn about cognition, the clearer it becomes that incorporating several kinds of practice tasks is important
  • Planning instruction to involve students requires both creativity and time, more so than planning a straight lecture
  • Prepare to help students deal with challenges that might be beyond their developmental level
  • When introducing activities designed to involve students, explain why it is important that they participate
  • Structure is a major source of support for beginning students, and explicit instruction about what students are to do when actively involved is one way we can offer it
  • Once students become engaged in an activity, help them take notes and structure discussions
  • Look for ways to make personal contact with students, especially when class activities and tasks are likely to challenge students' epistemological views
  • Allow for enough time for students to get involved and complete the task

McKeachie pg. 312-314: Improving Thinking Quality

  1. Be explicit in your syllabus that your goal will be to help them improve their thinking, especially learning to think like a (historian, psychologist, biologist, etc.)
  2. Explain frameworks to your students in sufficient detail so they can more easily understand what you expect to see in their work
  3. Provide ample opportunities to practice thinking during class
  4. Welcome student questions that give you an opportunity to think out loud to demonstrate a dsicipline in action
  5. Acknowledge examples of good student thinking
  6. Ask students to judge the quality of their own contributions
  7. Design challenges that will appeal to diverse learning styles
  8. Give yourself permission not to cover all of the content
  9. Be patient when students express greater comfort with shallower learning challenges
  10. Ask students "What do you think and why do you think this?" to develop their scientidic cognitive abilities of how college is helping them
  • Learning how to think more effectively is not easy, but students are unlikey to make systematic progress in their thinking skills without specific practice through well designed pedagogy
  • Students needs to develop habits of reflection about their experiences, their successes and failures, their plans and purposes, and their choices and consequences
  • Building thinking into course design, making expectations explicit, providing significant practice opportunities, and delivering accurate feedback facilitates achievement of desired thinking outcomes

I thought class went well today. I enjoyed both presentations and learned new ways to create involvement in the classroom and how to clearly and cohesively present topics and ideas to my future class.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.