Knowing How to Study Can Mean the Difference Between Success and Failure for First-Generation Students. Here’s How Instructors Can Help. — from chronicle.com by Beth McMurtrie

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Some of the mistakes first-gen students make are common to undergraduates: They focus on re-reading and memorizing to absorb what they’re learning, rather than summarizing material in their own words, or quizzing themselves, which are more effective techniques. But many also carry the burden of imposter syndrome – feeling like they don’t belong in college – or simply don’t know how college works. That, says Horowitz, discourages them from seeking out their professors during office hours or heading to the tutoring center for help. As a result they may spin their wheels even more furiously as they fall behind.

Horowitz, who now works at Bard High School Early College Newark as a faculty member in chemistry, reached out to me after I wrote about the importance of helping undergraduates develop the metacognitive skills necessary to become effective learners. It turns out, she’s written a book about some of those strategies, tailored to the needs of first-generation students.

Horowitz designed the book to appeal to a mass audience of STEM faculty. “The most effective person to tell students how to study for a particular course is the instructor,” she says. “They can easily put little pointers in their classroom about how students should be studying. I believe that could be revolutionary for first-generation college students.”

Horowitz suggests putting study tips into the syllabus and then reviewing them in class. 

Explain how to use problem sets effectively.

In reading-oriented classes, she recommends that, after reading each chapter, students write a single paragraph that synthesizes and summarizes the material. And on tests she often lists the amount of time students should spend on each problem.

Reach out, she says. It will pay off for both of you.

“For most of them it’s a big sense of relief that they’re having a conversation with you,” she says. “Most have been suffering in silence for a long time.”

 

 

For you actors/actresses out there, read this excerpt from Make it Stick:

 

Image from this article.

 

 

 

Recommended tech tools to make retrieval practice quick and easy — from retrievalpractice.org by Pooja Agarwal

Excerpt:

Here’s a roundup of tech tools that harness retrieval practice and provide features in line with the science of learning. Each tech tool has free options, can be used during and outside of class, and includes instant feedback.

 

This is likely the No. 1 thing affecting your job performance — from fastcompany.com by Art Markman
Hint: It all starts with figuring out what you don’t know.

Excerpts:

Learning on the job is probably the single most important factor driving your performance at work. You won’t know everything you need to about your job when you’re hired, no matter how good your education is or how much experience you had in previous positions. The road to learning starts with a willingness to admit what you don’t know and an interest in learning new things.

The ability to know what you know and what you don’t know is called metacognition—that is, the process of thinking about your thinking. Your cognitive brain has a sophisticated ability to assess what you do and don’t know. You use several sources of information to make this judgment.

One important social aspect of the Dunning-Kruger effect is that it often leads to tension between younger employees and the firms they work for. People who don’t really understand what skills are required for success in a particular domain may overestimate their own abilities and minimize their perception of the gap between themselves and more senior members of a firm. As a result, they won’t understand why they aren’t being promoted faster and will quickly get frustrated in the early stages of their career. The more you appreciate everything involved in expert performance, the more patient you can be with your own development.

 

After you get the hang of a new position, be strategic about what you learn. You probably need a wider range of expertise than you think. Solving hard problems at work requires drawing not just on expertise from within the domain of your work, but also on knowledge about other areas that may not have seemed relevant at first.

 

 

Four research-based strategies every teacher should be using — from cultofpedagogy.com  by Jennifer Gonzalez

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

[Per Jennifer] Cognitive scientist Pooja Agarwal and K-12 teacher Patrice Bain have collaborated on a new book, Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning. In the book, they go into detail about what it looks like when we actually apply four research-based “Power Tools” in the classroom: retrieval practice, spaced practice, interleaving, and feedback-driven metacognition—which is one we haven’t covered at all on this podcast. Today I’m going to talk with Pooja and Patrice about these strategies, the research behind why they work, and some ways you can start using them right away in your instruction.

 

Instead of assigning homework to give students practice with course material, give mini-quizzes at the start of each class that ask 3-5 questions about the prior day’s learning. These should either receive no grades or be given a very low point value, because the goal of these is to reinforce the learning, not measure or grade student work. 

In her social studies classroom, Bain used to assign homework most nights, and found that not only was she spending up to two hours a night grading it, it also was doing nothing to help students retain information.

 

 

 

Recommended books from RetrievalPractice.org
Check out our recommended books and reports that describe research on the science of learning and provide practical tips for classroom teaching.

 

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…plus several others

 

 

5 Research-Backed Studying Techniques — from edutopia.org by Edward Kang
Teachers can guide students to avoid ineffective studying habits in favor of ones that will increase their learning outcomes.

Excerpts:

Ineffective techniques include:

  • Studying for long periods of time
  • Studying a single subject for a long period of time and repeating phrases over and over to memorize them (known as massed practice)
  • Reviewing one topic repeatedly before moving onto another topic (blocked practice)
  • Reading and rereading a text
  • Highlighting or underlining important concepts in a text and then reviewing
  • Reviewing notes

The book Make It Stick identifies several research-proven studying techniques.

  1. Pre-test
  2. Spaced practice
  3. Self-quizzing
  4. Interleaving practice
  5. Paraphrasing and reflecting
 

From DSC:
Re: the Learning from the Living [Class] Room vision of a next gen learning platform

 

Learning from the Living Class Room

 

…wouldn’t it be cool if you could use your voice to ask your smart/connected “TV” type of device:

“Show me the test questions for Torts I from WMU-Cooley Law School. Cooley could then charge $0.99 for these questions.”

Then, the system knows how you did on answering those questions. The ones you got right, you don’t get asked to review as often as the ones you got wrong. As you get a question right more often, the less you are asked to answer it.

You sign up for such streams of content — and the system assesses you periodically. This helps a person keep certain topics/information fresh in their memory. This type of learning method would be incredibly helpful for students trying to pass the Bar or other types of large/summative tests — especially when a student has to be able to recall information that they learned over the last 3-5 years.

Come to think of it…this method could help all of us in learning new disciplines/topics throughout our lifetimes. Sign up for the streams of content that you want to learn more about…and drop the (no-longer relevant) subscriptions as needed..

 

We need to tap into streams of content in our next gen learning platform

 

From DSC:
Pastors, what do you think of these ideas?

  • Summarize your key points and put them up on slides at the end of your sermons (and/or at discussion groups after service)
  • Summarize your key points and post them to the churches’ websites — including links to resources that you referenced in your sermons (books, devotions, other)
  • Have an app that folks in your congregation could complete during the sermon (like “fill in the blanks” / missing words or phrases). Or, if you’d prefer that your congregation not have their smartphones out, perhaps you could provide “quizzes” mid-week to assist in information recall (i.e., spaced repetition). That is, people would need to try to fill in the missing phrases and/or words mid-week. Answers would be immediately available if someone asked for them.

Along these lines…should there be more classes in seminary on learning theories and on pedagogy? Hmmm….an interesting thought.

 

From DSC:
Through the years, my mom was an incredible person — in a variety of ways. She was a wonderful mother to us, as well as a spouse to my dad. But she was also a wonderful daughter, aunt, grandma, friend, teacher, counselor, investor, and more. She was a philosophical, deep thinker and a person of action — often doing several things at a time (from the moment that she woke up until the time that she finally called it quits at the end of a long day). Amongst other things, she was an incredible musician. After graduating from college, my mom taught classical piano (to kindergarten through 12th graders) decade after decade…well into her 70’s.

But then, like her mom, she developed Alzheimer’s Disease and as things go with Alzheimer’s, things got progressively worse. Fast forward to today, and her short-term memory is now completely gone and the person who she once was continues to increasingly leave us. She lives with my dad in a memory care unit. (My dad has also experienced physical and cognitive decline…though not nearly as much as my mom.)  My mom will ask you the same question many times over, as she can’t remember asking you the question before and she can’t recall your answer (for but a moment). She still recognizes us — though for how much longer that will be the case, we’re not sure. She doesn’t use our names nearly as much as she used to.

Below is a picture of my mom at her memory care unit…and, by the way, she didn’t recall that the piano that she was playing on was actually the exact same piano that she used for years to teach kids how to play classical piano.

 

Mom at the piano - 1

All that said — and as you can tell from watching the video below — she can STILL:

  • Sight read music (i.e., recognize notes, rhythms, dynamics, etc.) 
  • Play songs she remembers from long ago
  • Sing along to songs/hymns from years ago
  • Recognize and/or recall many of the lyrics from songs that she once knew

Wow!

The human mind is absolutely incredible to me! Scary and tragic when it stops working as it once did — but incredible nevertheless.

Glory to GOD in the highest! 

 

 

Also see:

Facts and figures regarding Alzheimers

 

 

 

An excerpt from a recent e-newsletter from Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D. from RetrievalPractice.org

Want more tips for building rapport with students? We highly recommend Professor James Lang’s series in the Chronicle of Higher Education on how to make the most of:

We love his book, Small Teaching. It’s full of practical teaching strategies and the science behind them. For example, combine retrieval, spacing, feedback, and more with quick and easy Connection Notebooks!

 

Excerpt from the last 5 minutes of class (emphasis DSC):

Don’t waste them trying to cram in eight more points or call out as many reminders as possible

The minute paper. You can’t wade very far into the literature of teaching and learning in higher education without encountering some version of the Minute Paper, a technique made justly famous by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross in their book Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. The Minute Paper comes in many variations, but the simplest one involves wrapping up the formal class period a few minutes early and posing two questions to your students:

  • What was the most important thing you learned today?
  • What question still remains in your mind?

Taken together, those two questions accomplish multiple objectives. The first one not only requires students to remember something from class and articulate it in their own words (more about that in a moment), but it also requires them to do some quick thinking. They have to reflect on the material and make a judgment about the main point of that day’s class.

 

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