Sunday, December 19, 2010

Concept Review Of the Assigned Book

After reading this book, the key concepts seemed to be centered around memory wellness of both the student and teacher. Proficient understanding of cognitive learning helps both the students absorb and comprehend material more and allows teachers to improve their classroom knowledge. If a teacher seems bored or does not enjoy the content material that is required, imagine what/how the students feel trying to learn this material.
Since this book seemed aimed at the psychology of the mind and proficient learning, I intended to use some of the concepts I learned from this book, and introduce these concepts into my psychology class this spring. Since psychology is centered around the mind, brain and memory, it is important on my part to instruct this particular class with proficient "working" memory content. I hope to take the principles I learned in this book, to allow students to enjoy their short and long term cognitive skills.

Chapter 9 Super Summary

Chapter 9 is about how we as teachers can improve or refresh our minds in the educational process. As the book states "teaching, like any complex skill, must be practiced to be improved." This section really preaches the importance of the effective mind of a teacher. To think in an effective manner, we as teachers need room in our memory and need the right factual and procedural knowledge for our long term memory. We need to obtain pedagogical knowledge to ease the burnout or drain on our minds.

The section suggests we use procedures to apply cognitive skills to teaching such as 1. space in our working memory 2. factual knowledge and 3. procedural knowledge. In addition, a teacher in their first five years are considered very good, after the 5 year period we become flat and as we progress up to the 20 yr mark we are no better than a 10 yr teacher in mindset.

To become stronger minded professionals we need to practice, practice, practice for improvement and obtain as much positive and constructive feedback as possible. The section suggests ways towards getting feedback
Step 1; Identify another teacher to work with
Step 2: tape yourself and watch tapes alone
Step 3: With your partner, watch tapes of other teachers (be supportive and concrete about what you have observed.
Step 4: With partner, watch and comment on each others topics
Step 5: Bring it back to the classroom and follow up.

To conclude the more we practice and rely on feedback we must in addition we must improve self-management.
1. Keep a teaching diary
2. Start a discussion group with fellow teachers
3. Observe other teachers

In turn we need to look at what aspects of our teaching work well for students, and what areas need improvement. Improvement requires more than just experience, it requires conscious effort and feedback.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jeff Rieckman Animoto

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Key Concept and Review by Jeff Rieckman

The part or concept of the book "Why Don't Students Like School" that I related to and liked was when they talked about a students memory. They talked about the need for a student to make use of their working memory and then being able to transfer that knowledge to their long term memory for later recall.
Getting teachers to utilize different or various teaching methods is the best way to accomplish this, more teachers need to get away from the "drill it" methods.

My thoughts on this book were that I enjoyed it. Seems like I had to hurry through it at times but it was an easy read. I found parts of it a bit repetitive but all in all it contained some great information on that should help out our students in the classroom. I have already recommended the book to one member of our staff.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Reflection by Pat Parks

Final Reflection for Why Don’t Students Like School?
I chose this book because after many years of teaching and many years of seeing many changes I thought I had a little idea of why students don’t like school. My ideas and the authors were miles apart – we are not surprised I know. My thought was students don’t like school because in the world around them. They are constantly surrounded by technology, video games, and a fast moving environment to keep their attention. Let’s see some of the ideas of Willingham.
I found the ideas of the author to be very interesting and they made a lot of sense. I have decided to summarize some of the parts of the book that I found to be of most interest to me. In chapter one, one of the facts that stood out to me was that the brain is not designed for thinking, it is designed to save you from having to think. Thinking is slow and unreliable, but it has been found that people enjoy mental work if they are successful. That reminds me of how we teach, to move a child forward we find where they are and challenge them appropriately with work that is not too hard and not to easy. It said that teachers should encourage students to think and to give them work that is not to difficult. If success is always just out of reach, school will not be a place they want to be. I also found the statement, “successful thinking relies on four factors: information from the environment, facts in long-term memory, procedures in long-term memory and the space in working memory. If any one of these factors is inadequate, thinking fails.”
As teachers, it seems that we are all about getting students to “think.”
I also was intrigued with the question, Is Drilling Worth It? Part of a comment made by Alfred North Whitehead is, “Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.” Through the use of practice we help make mental processes more automatic. To be smart about practice our author tells us the practice must be spread out over time and activities. We need to come up with many creative ways to practice skills and the basic skills will continue to be practiced while students work on more advanced skills.
Not only do students need to be considered in the question of practice, but also educators. According to Willingham, “Teaching, like any complex cognitive skill, must be practiced to be improved.” The program Willingham laid out is something I would be very interested in taking part in. His steps are: videotape teaching so it can be thought deeply about and so what happened can be remembered. Teachers need to see classroom dynamics because experts see the world differently than novices – they see deep structure not surface structure because they have deep experience in their field. To recognize dynamics of your classroom you must see others. Background knowledge is important for both students and teachers. For the teacher the background knowledge is not just subject matter knowledge, but knowledge of students and how they interact with you, each other, and with the material that is taught. We also learned that human intelligence can be changed through sustained hard work. Teachers need to show students through example that hard work does pay off.
“Thus, to ensure that your students follow you, you must keep them interested; to ensure their interest, you must anticipate their reactions, and to anticipate their reactions, you must know them.” “Know your students.”