This chapter focuses of the notion of Language within the context of learning. It argues that language and understanding are not mutually inclusive – in other words it leverages that a student may be capable of understanding a concept but that does not necessarily mean that he/she can articulate with words the idea. Still, Leamnson recognizes that language is necessary as a device for articulating thoughts/ideas and convening information. The article further exposes that as professors we must recognize that students, particularly first year students, language skill may not be adequate enough yet within in the context of their field of study. Therefore, it is not only our responsibility to help them develop critical thinking skills and strategies for learning, but also, we need to teach them how to properly communicate ideas by introducing, practicing, applying and reinforcing of Vocabulary.
Something I have started to experiment with is using some of these strategies in an organic manner in the classroom environment. This meant my teaching style had to be adjusted, but have found some success in making the process intuitive by breaking lectures into a series of micro lectures that are interlaced with short in-class exercises that build in complexity. The students are asked to work in teams allowing them to review the concepts right after they are introduced and teach each other.
After mapping your objectives to Blooms taxonomy, did anything surprise you?
I would say I was more surprised when mapping the objectives to the Study-Cycle. At first glance, I was skeptical of whether some of the steps were realistic, specifically the notions of preview and review. But once the digested the idea, I started come up with strategies to help them achieve these – for example giving the students a list of vocabulary words to review (not memorize) so that in the next lecture they have already been introduced to the terminology and can remain focused on the concepts.
How could the use of Bloom’s model with your students promote independent learning?
The key components of bloom’s taxonomy in helping students become independent learners are in the analysis and synthesis (evaluation) stages of the process. Once the students develop the skills to identify a set of rules and/or framework for solving a problem they are able to extract concepts and extrapolate based on those.
McGuire presents the Study Cycle, what is your reaction to it? Why?
At first, I was surprised at the recommendation to wait until after the first exam to introduce the study cycle to the student body. McGuire later explains that by giving the student something tangible that they can compare to gives them the ability to see the performance improvement first hand, making their application of the strategies more impactful.
How are we going to meet our goal of increasing retention 5-10% starting in the fall?
By not only using Blooms Taxonomy to scaffold my own teaching, but also sharing it with the students as a strategy they can apply. Specially, with first year students, it is of the essence to help them establish a study cycle that is efficient and focuses on processes and understanding concepts rather than being outcome centric.
In reading CH 3 of Mcguire’s book “Teach Students how to Learn” it made me reflect on what are the expectations in order to improve student performance in class. She mentions that sometimes it is not about working harder but about how we work. She suggest that giving students strategies for thinking about how they are problem solvers and what is the process that get them there will help them evaluate their level of learning.
McGuire’s thought’s on learning focus on meta-cognition; thinking about thinking and helping students develop strategies for understanding concepts instead of memorizing. She argues that by taking this approach student will be able to tackle more complex problems.