Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Learning Theories Revisited and another Article on Questioning

First, let's look at something I've noticed over the past few weeks. We need to think about how we respond to students' wrong answers when we ask a question (because we know that teachers ask a lot of questions). Let's do a quick read of this article. In a new blog post, write three new ways you will respond when students give the wrong answer. Write exactly what you plan to say--if you can articulate your plan, you'll be more likely to do it. After you've finished your blog post, read the comments to this article. Do they change your way of thinking?

Next, let's think about our learning theories project again. I think that we were asking the wrong question in seeking to prove or disprove a learning theory. Lots of research has gone into these theories, so they're probably pretty solid. Perhaps the question we should be asking is "How do schools facilitate (or hinder) children's growth and development given that these theories are generally accurate?" This makes us have to think a little harder as we consider what schools are doing well and what they aren't doing so well.

I thought about reframing our question(s) as I was reading someone's annotations. She noted that the study stating that teachers ask 300-400 questions a day was done in 2001, and she wondered if that had changed over the years. That's a great question! Has technology (or some other factor) changed the number of questions teachers ask? And are the questions teachers ask at the appropriate developmental level, according to Piaget's theory? Do teachers scaffold students' learning, as Vygotsky suggest? Let's spend some time today brainstorming some great questions that tie to the learning theories. Then research what's been done in the field. That really is the best way to think about how to conduct your "experiment"--look at what someone else has done Plan how to find the answer to your question. You can do observational research, questionnaires, a hands on experiment, interviews with teachers, etc. You can also work in groups to get a bigger sample size. Because you will have to do some outside research, this will be your October analysis.

You will still do the general overview presentation of the five theorists. You need that basic knowledge, but we need to think outside the box and focus on the interplay between schools and the theories as we complete the second part of the presentation. You can choose to write your experimental design and results in a short paper, in a traditional presentation format, in a Ted Talk, in a flip board presentation, in an infographic, etc.--whatever format works best for you and your group.

Finally, we need t-shirt ideas for Educators Rising. I'd love to have a few ideas submitted early next week.

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