A Whole New World

This mod at Post University has been a very interesting one. We have learned many different concepts that will help us all when we are in the classroom or help further develop the teaching practices of the students who are already in an established classroom teaching. We were asked to choose only 3 of the concepts that we learned this mod to write about, but I could write so much more with all that I have learned here. But, the three that I will write about stood out the most to me and I know I will be using them in the future with my teaching career.

We were lucky enough to be able to have our main textbook be David Perkins “Making Learning Whole: Seven Principals of Teaching can Transform Education.” With this reading I have learned many things that I would have never really thought about when I get into teaching. The two of the three  concepts that stood out to me the most are Working on the Hard Parts and Learn from the Team.

Working on the Hard Parts

What Perkins was trying to get across here was that when we are working on a particular problem or subject we look at it at its entirety. Far too often we forget to look into the nitty gritty and really understand the problem step by step. We almost always gravitate to the parts that we know best and are good at rather than the parts that we are having trouble with and need to work on. Important parts of working on the “hard parts” Perkins (2009) we have to understand what the parts are, acceptance of them, knowing that there will be hard parts and understanding it all. When we do all the steps that Perkins writes about it better helps us all understand what we are looking at. Without fully understanding the hard parts we may never fully understand what we are learning. In my own experiences with this I can say I always have trouble with Math. I have struggled with this from since I can remember in school and it only got harder for me when I was in high school. I would get so overwhelmed looking at the entire problem that was given to me and I could not even think about dividing the problem into sections and trying to solve it that way. But when I did I would get only parts of it and not be able to finish the problem at all. My teachers never really gave me much guidance and when they saw that I got part of it we would move on to the next subject and I didn’t really even learn much because of it. The anxiety feeling I get even now when I have to do math is something I feel could have been eliminated if I just had a little extra help understanding. If I had worked on the parts that I didn’t really understand and worked through them, it could have made all the difference for me. Because we focus so much on what we already know, we are missing a very large part which is what we don’t know. When I am in the classroom, I will try to be there for my students who are struggling and give or get them the help they need in order to understand what they are being taught. How can we get through a class and only understand parts of what we are being taught? How can we better allow our students to understand the materials and help them work on the hard parts?

 Learn from the Team

Learning from the team is a concept that I think Perkins really wanted to instill in teachers. Often students work alone and as he gave as an example “keep your eyes off your neighbors paper”. Perkins (2009). It is very important to allow students to learn from their peers. Each student has their own ideas and ways of doing things and all students can learn from each other. Groups of students can help each other gain the necessary information they can be missing and there is no better way to learn than from peers. Again for me I can go back to my worst subject in school, math. IMG_2475When I worked in a group of my peers, I was able to watch them in their own way complete a problem and steps I may have had issues with. I watched how their problem solving worked and was not afraid to ask “How did you do that?” or “What is my next step?” It was so much easier for me to work with someone who I was friends with and was going through the same thing I was. “When people learn to play baseball, they generally learn together, watching one another and helping one another.” (Perkins, 2009) This statement stood out to me because it is exactly true. When I am in the classroom I want to make sure that I allow my students to learn from one another. I will allow some assignments to be worked on as a group and allow everyone to have this type of experience. I have been in a ton of classrooms taking courses myself and could have benefited greatly from this type of group work. Why don’t teachers understand the importance of students being able to learn from each other? Learning from the team is a great benefit to learning.

There is a wealth of information on the importance of working with peers and I wanted to share this article called “Working with Peers” from a partner at UTS. I think it is a good overview  of the importance of students working together in groups. http://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/teaching-and-learning/assessment/assessment-futures/key-assessment-elements-6

 The last part that stood out to me was the mental representations of logic, rules, and concepts. “Logic is the science or study of how to evaluate arguments and reasoning. It’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a science of how arguments must be formed to be reasonable or correct.” (Cline, A., 2016) Logic to me in more simple terms is the reasoning behind different things we do. Simply we brush our teeth to keep them from getting cavities. Logically we don’t want cavities so we take care of our teeth! Rules relate to more of the if-then thought processes. We follow many rules every day that we don’t even think twice about such as rules of the road or when doing a math problem following the “rules” to get the correct answer. In the article we read in Unit 2 called “Do Unicorns Exist?” the author describes concepts as “Our minds have the capacity to create concepts that do not refer to anything in reality. We can do this by grouping objects based on similarities and differences.” (Jenson, G., 2011) We can relate our concepts that we have in our minds and use them in our everyday lives. Simple concepts are shoes go on the feet, pants on the legs and shirt on the upper body. Concepts such as these and more complex ones we use and they help us go about our everyday living.

I know logic, rules and concepts are 3 different concepts but they go together as a whole package. Without these together we would have a difficult time getting through our everyday lives. We need to teach with logic, rules and concepts in ways that the students can grasp the information and really be able to use and understand everything they are learning. Using Logic, Rules and Concepts as a guide it can be helpful to teachers when presenting materials to their students. When we use these 3 concepts together the materials can be thoroughly presented and taught. Here is a link to a mental representations explanation video called Mental representations – Intro to Psychology  that I thought was interesting and will help understanding it better!  https://youtu.be/_pZTavpju90

I have gained a wealth of knowledge in this class and can honestly say that most of the materials I will be able to use in my classroom. I think this class was a smidge different from other classes I have taken in the sense that I learned ways on How to teach, How to be a better and more thorough educator. Questions I ask myself about this class are: When will I use this information? And How will I use this information to better educate and learn myself?


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