Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Summary Section 5 pp. 169-188

Intelligence is measured by experiences in our long term memory. For some time, environmental experiences weren’t believed to have much impact on intelligence, but newer research debates that idea. Findings suggest because of genetic inheritance people engage in certain environmental experiences that otherwise wouldn’t interest them. This impacts their cognitive ability. Other reasons for varying intelligence may be from better nutrition and healthcare.
Children come to teachers with differing intelligence due to factors mentioned above. While children differ in intelligence, it can be changed through sustained hard work according to Willingham. I liked some of the suggestions made for teachers on engaging slower learners.
Reports on slow learners find that they do much better if they’re praised for their hard work and not their ability. They are shaped for the long term by what they hear from parents, teachers, and peers. As a teacher what strategies or methods do you use with them that make them desire, believe, and gain the confidence to learn more in your classroom?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chapter 6-7 summary

Chapter 6
This chapter discussed how students do not think as experts. This is in part because they have not had the experiences and practice to develop the great deal of background knowledge and automaticity that experts have acquired in their chosen field. To me this seems obvious. I teach third grade and at the age of 8, my students have not even lived a decade which is the amount of time the author suggests is adequate to become an expert. Also, in those 8 years I do not think any of my students have dedicated enough time and energy into one particular skill in order to become an expert.

Another point the author discusses in this chapter was that experts can create new knowledge where as a novice thinker can’t. Though I agree and do understanding this, the highest level of thinking in Blooms Taxonomy is creating. I think we should encourage our students to create. I don’t expect my students to develop a new scientific theory or compose a symphony, but as this section mentioned, creating can be motivating and I think it is good to give our students a challenge.

Chapter 7
This chapter discussed different types of learners and what that means for us as teachers. As the author said, scientists cannot offer us any help with this identification of student learning and instruction. Our students cannot be classified. I think it is obvious and refreshing that the author isn’t trying to categorize students. Students may have different learning styles and intelligences, but no two students are exactly the same even if they do learn similarly. We as teachers have to use a variety of strategies and instructional approaches to reach our students and all the unique needs and styles of learning they possess.

Blabber Baby Quote

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

pages 26-53

The author's main point of this selection is that kids who have background knowledge and facts already embedded in longterm memory are more able to learn new material more quickly. Moreover he states that, "...thinking critically and logically-are not possible without background knowledge". I really enjoyed reading this selection mostly because I agree with everything the author says. Facts are important. In reading we are always trying to "activate prior knowledge". In fact there is usually a lesson with that title in every vendor's reading textbook. I think having a grasp of facts is equally important in math. I don't believe there is anything wrong with memorizing the basic math facts. Right now there seems to be a trend in Inquiry Based Learning where student led discovery is the key. Well I am pretty tired of having fourth graders adding 2 and 7 with their fingers. I don't think there is anything wrong with some of the discovery learning when the facts are "mastered" but until that time we need to build background.

My question would be, "How do we build background knowledge in kids who don't have the opportunity to visit museums or go on vacations, etc.?" I have kids who have not even taken advantage of the opportunities here in Pierre much less the state or our country. Often times these kids are also the ones who are behind in reading and so providing them with books to read may not be a great option. I look forward to reading the rest of this book.