Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chapter 6- Constructivism

My interest was immediately peaked when I read the names Vygotsky, Bruner and Piaget in the first couple of pages of Chapter 6. My background is in Art Education and these three individuals' theories influenced the very standards that compile the expectations of art education. I supposed it is the relation of the learner to their social environment, the procedural problem solving , and the role of the facilitator that pioneers in art education related to with regards to constructivist theory. Art education has always been struggling to find a way to secure its spot in the curriculum, so when Vygotsky's ,"The Psychology of Art" surfaced, art educators incorporated it into its advocacy arsenal.

Moving on in the chapter, I found the section on "private speech" to extremely interesting as well. "However, overt verbalization can occur at any age when people encounter problems or difficulties"(pg. 250), this sentence made me laugh out loud. As I was reading the various stages of "private speech", I kept thinking to myself, "well I still do this when I lose something". If I can't find my keys, I speak out loud the entire time I am looking for them.

I also agree completely with the the role of the teacher in a constructivist setting. I fully believe that we should be facilitators as much as possible. I feel that if we don't allow students to problem solve on their own, they will never develop those cognitive skills that are necessary to function in society. I am a Digital Arts teacher, as well as art and ceramics; most of my lessons begin with a modeling of a skill and then the students work on their own. If they get stuck, I try to guide them through a series of questions that most of the time leads them to their answer.

My question for you all in other subject areas, Is how do you or how could you approach your lesson in a constructivist manner?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chapter 5- Cognitive Learning Processes

In chapter 4 we were introduced to Cognitive Information Processing, how our minds or brains process, store, and filter acquired information. Chapter 5 discusses various cognitive learning processes that exist. The underlying them of this chapter, for me, is that in order to reach goals, one must be able to problem solve. In order to efficiently problem solve, one must be aware of one's cognitive process. Self regulation is key to the problem solving process. One must be able to identify a goal, monitor progress towards that goal, and if necessary make changes to meet said goal.
As a teacher, I feel that one of the most important tasks that I must do on a daily basis is problem solve. For example, in planning my lessons, I constantly backward plan. The book mentions that "backward planning" is a problem solving method typical of the novice,as a novice, this statement does not surprise me. I have been teaching for almost two years now, so naturally I find backward planning to be a vital tool. In planning backwards, I am able to avoid leaving out pertinent steps and/or information, that may be necessary for my students to meet and accomplish their goals for my lessons.

Questions for my peers:
Do any of you use backward planning in their classrooms? If so, what are some examples?

Did anyone recognize any strategies that they already incorporate, either in their personal education and/or classrooms? If so, which one(s)?

In reading the section on "Concept Learning", I could not help but wonder, Did the "concept map" develop out of this learning process? What are your thoughts?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chapter 4-Cognitive Information Processing Theory

While reading chapter 4, there were several instances in which I forgot I was reading about human cognition and thought I was reading about computers. After having read this chapter and filtering through its numerous acronyms (LTM, WM, SM) , I was most intrigued with the process of elaboration that is explained on page 161. Elaboration is described as the process in which information is added to new information to be learned. The book leads us to believe that this is beneficial to the student because it enhances their retention of new knowledge. This process appealed to me, because as I was reading about it, it instantly made me think about how I introduce new lessons in my classroom. At the start of a new lesson, I always begin with a brief recap of the previous lesson and ask the students to remind me of what they learned. I then pick one aspect of the previous lesson which relates to the new one, and begin my introduction there. I also like to ask the students how they think this next skill that they are about to learn will apply to their everyday lives. I have always thought that having the students relate new information to something in their lives would further engage them in the lesson, and now I have learned that this also aids in their retention of the new knowledge. This Chapter served as an "A-ha!" moment for me, my question is....Did any of you experience something similiar as you read it?