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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It’s about the Connections

David Perkins has many great points in his book called “Making Learning Whole”. His points in a whole spell out how we should be teaching, learning and the future of teaching. This reading helped me really understand how we can help our students be the best they can be.

This is a great video with David Perkins talking about how we can educate our students when we need to know what is worth teaching.  https://youtu.be/a0YdX2hb_L8

The three concepts/topics that really stood out to me are:

Work on the Hard Parts

Too often we look at a subject as a whole. We don’t take the appropriate time to look at each individual step in an understanding way so we can group them all together and really see the full picture as it should be. When we start something and really do not understand some parts, we really need to focus on these hard parts so we truly understand them. As

we work on them we can move onto the other parts we don’t get and work through them all. If we just take the time to do this, our comprehension of the subject matter grows in a positive way. “Good work on the hard parts is one of the fundamental structural challenges of teaching and learning.” (Perkins, 2009) I can see focusing on the hard parts being a difficult concept when I start teaching. Students want to focus on what they know rather then what they are having problems with. Showing students that understanding the whole problem is important when you are a teacher, teaching them this will only help them in the future of their education.

The Hidden Game of Power

I think the “Hidden Game of Power” (Perkins,2009) relates to how the learning environment cannot be lumped into one type of learner.  The example in Perkins writing is how classrooms have math-classroom-istock_000019475471-490x356the desk chair. This chair is supposed to be a one size fits all type of seat but in reality it is not. This chair would not easily fit a student who may be pregnant which can send a message such as, “does a pregnant student belong in the classroom?”. Classrooms can’t be a “one size fits all” type of deal. There needs to be customization for the students when needed. If there are many learning styles this needs to be addressed as well.  The power here is that if we can realize that not all students are the same, we can help them learn better and in a way that benefits each person individually.

Extreme Team Learning

I have always been someone who benefits from being part of a group when working on something. Usually if you are having an issue with something there is someone in the group who can explain it to me. Different point of views and ideas are beneficial to talk about and can help make the process smoother for all. The different knowledge each Students_work_on_robots_at_Cañada_College students brings to the group is important and it is a great learning experience too. Working hard together can create positives for all students. “It’s heartening that so many participation structures afford opportunities to learn from the team, because vigorous use of this principal may be fundamental to educational transformation”. (Perkins, 2009)

All 3 of these concepts I will be using in the future when I am teaching. These concepts are valuable in the sense that they are simple and doable and can make a huge difference in the classroom. Knowing that we need to better focus on the steps of a problem and not just looking at the entire picture is great advice. We can’t fully understand something if we don’t understand the process. Making sure I focus on the steps and instilling that into my students is key. This can help them navigate any problem they may have better. Understanding that each student is a separate person, not everyone is the same is huge. We have to understand that not every teaching style will be a win in the classroom. We need to focus on our students and really understand how they learn best and work with that. Not everything is a one size fits all here. I will make sure I incorporate many learning styles in my classroom and work with each student so I can understand how they learn. Getting to know my students better will help when they need help. This will also help with trust and being comfortable in the classroom which are two things that are important to me. I always have worked great in a group. I love sharing my ideas and seeing all the strengths and weaknesses that are present within the group. I feel this type of concept helps everyone as a whole. We can learn so much from our peers that can help strengthen our learning processes.

Perkins, D. (2009) Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education, 1st ed. San Francisco, Calif : Jossey-Bass

I Can See the Future

I am currently not in a classroom and with my current work situation may not use my education in a traditional classroom but rather in a training type of classroom where I will be training employees of the company I work for on a specific and special type of information that will allow them to grow their own sales business within the company. Although I may not be in a traditional classroom I have always imagined myself in a classroom and how I would want the classroom to be set up and run. Incorporating the information from this course inspires me to look at everything in a different way.

There is so much that we have learned in the past few weeks of this course (The Cognitive Science of Teaching and Learning) that has sparked an interest for me and has me thinking about the future of education. Artificial intelligence is something that we see all over. When we call a company where an automated system picks up and you are directed or even helped without talking to a real person or when you use SIRI on your IPhone to help you with directions or find something on the internet, robotit is all over! I see AI in the classrooms even more then it is today. There was is a tutor AI program being developed where students can go on the computer and receive tutoring to help them with their studies. “Companies like Pearson have begun to examine the subject; the company recently released a pamphlet called Intelligence Unleashed: An argument for AI in Education that argues software may soon be able to provide instant and deeper feedback regarding student progress, eliminating traditional standardized testing.” (McIntyre, 2016) This type of technology could change the way students learn. Although it will be a robot and not a real person teaching the assisting the student, I don’t feel as though it will take personalization out of the learning process. When I have my own classroom I would welcome this type of learning if it truly was a better form of learning for the students.

Using Logic, rules and concepts are important when we are teaching. We need to make sure that the students are able to have these three items in their learning process in order for them to be able to really understand the subject matter. Logic is something that we use all the time. For example, we read about a window being broken with a feather. We now know a window can be broken with a feather. Although it is a silly example it shows what logic is. “Logic may be defined as the science of reasoning.” (Hardegree, 1994) Rules are related to the if-then process. We can see an example of this using this scenario: If I get good grades in this class, I will be one step closer to getting my Masters Degree. If this happens then this will be the result, basically. There are many sets of rules we follow everyday such as punctuation rules and the rules of the road when we drive. We can relate these types of rules to the process of thought. Concepts can be best described as “concept that symbolizes a category of items or occurrences or their traits.” (MP. P., Unknown). When I think if concepts I related it to grass is green. Whenever I think about grass I am always thinking about the concept of green being grass.

How we learn is an incredible process. The video link here is a great, mini video about how we learn. https://youtu.be/falHoOEUFz0. There are different types of learning process. After taking the Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire (which can be found here: http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html) I was not surprised that my learning style of being a visual learner as well as a tactile learner was my result. When I am learning something I prefer to have visuals and handouts to read so that I can process the information before I start on the task I need to do. I can’t just jump right into a project or answering a question before I have properly read everything and understood what I need to do. I also learn better in a subject when there is a hands on approach. This way I can better understand the subject because I have touched it or made something which can help me directly understand it. learning-styles1There are many people who are verbal learners and only need to be told what to do without having visuals to guide them. There are three main types of learning styles which include audio, visual and tactile. Tactile learning is  “There are some people that learn better by completing the actual.” We are all different in our learning  and we may have a combination of each one of these in our process. Which ever style we have knowing it is a good thing. When we know what type of style we learn better with we can focus more on it and make sure that when we are learning something that we have what we need to learn better and more efficient. I thought this short article was a great article to sum up the learning styles with: http://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-methods-tips/128391-different-types-of-learning-styles/.

There was so much interesting information within the last few weeks in which can be very useful to a teacher going in or already in a classroom. The way we teach our future students will need to be a well thought out process in which all of these subjects will need to be touched upon to make a classroom well rounded. Most importantly here I think the learning processes is something to focus on because we want to make sure we fully understand how our students will be learning. It is a learning process all around!

Hardegree, G. (1994) Basic Concepts of Logic, Retrieved on May 21, 2016 from  http://courses.umass.edu/phil110-gmh/text/c01_3-99.pdf

McIntyre, E. (2016) Using Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom, Retrieved on May 20, 2016 from http://www.educationdive.com/news/using-artificial-intelligence-in-the-classroom/415864/

M.G.. P., (Unknown) What is CONCEPT? Retrieved on May 12, 2016  from http://psychologydictionary.org/concept/

Unknown, (2009) Types of Learning Styles, Retrieved on May 22, 2016 from http://www.learningguide.org/learningstyles.htm