Category Archives: Food for Thought

literary review: Notes CH 3 Thinking about Teaching and Learning: Developing Habits of Learning with First Year College and University Students by Robert Leamnson

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.

CH_3_Thinking_about_teaching_RLeamnson

“Thoughts…”

First, METACONGITION, it is like judging your own thoughts, and be aware of yourself as problem solver.
Some strategies I use in classroom are:
1- Break the ice between the students and myself by letting them understand that we are equal partners in the learning process.
2- Encourage my students to ask questions. When students ask questions, they start to be involve in the learning process.
3- Throw these questions back to the class, and students will hit back.
4- At each objective of the lesson I ask my students if they understand or not. If a student express that he/she did not understand, I will erase the board and explain it again. Most of the time it is not about what teachers say, it about what they hear.
5- I make my students work the problem with me in class. For example; if the lesson about bending stress, and I need first to find the shear, and moment diagrams plus the moment of inertia…I ask my class to work as groups to figure out all the above, then I add what is the bending stress. So, I use what they already know to be able to apply these concepts to view the context.

As McGuire mention; we are excellent teachers, but do we help our students to be active learners!!!

Thoughts…

From my teaching experience I have learned to remember to reinforce the new material (concepts and equations) as well as still remind the student to be mindful of their base knowledge (converting units for example). I was shocked after one exam when i saw I had a group of students who had all the engineering concepts applied correctly and had errors when it came to converting the units, even though units were discussed as part of the first lecture.

I do think I need to increase awareness (my own and the students) of the learning process, to help students think about the way they are thinking. I do try to present information in different ways to encourage them to think about the concepts but I need to follow up more with questions of how they understand the concept rather than explain my understanding over and over.

 

Sharing your thoughts about teaching and learning…

This page is where we can share our personal teaching experiences and thoughts or revelations we may come across in our growth as professors.  Many times I have felt frustrated because I cannot make every student understand and pass my class. I’ve worked on my classroom techniques and delivery yet every time I sit down to grade exams with optimism, I find have the typical 65 average and feel the frustration.   I am hopeful that perhaps metacognition is the key.  That I have been focused primarily on the teaching, not realizing that teaching is in fact only ½ of the equation.  I am enthusiastic about the potential impact that metacognition my have on my classes and hope to hear from you as we embark on this journey together.