The teacher must shift from the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side”.
Let’s start with an activity!
Sing the ABC song! We learnt the alphabet by using a neuroscience approach – (explained further in class – creating melody/using repetition to “hang” learning on)
Activity 1: How many uses can you think of for a paper clip?
- 2 minutes –
- you are to work individually.
- Reflection: How many? What did you need to do? How did you arrive at your answers? What did you find difficult? Why? (This is how we learn about ourselves as learners – active reflection)
- This paperclip experiment was performed on 1500 test subjects (4 yr olds) 98% thought of over 200 uses! This statistic decreased as they got older. Why? What does this tell us about education?
Activity 2 – choose a partner/three (your new bestest buddy): You are on a plane, soaring across the Pacific Ocean on your way to the holiday of your dreams when all of a sudden … TURBULENCE … Somehow you survived! You wake up on a deserted beach, next to you is a volleyball (You have a strange desire to call it Wilson). From nearby you hear a voice(s) calling your name, it is your bestest buddy (wow – Hollywood plotline!). You rush to each other and joyously hug. Later, when you are sitting under a tree, you both evaluate your situation and your resources. Apart from each other and Wilson all you have are the clothes on your backs, and … a piece of string. You need to survive. Who knows when you will be rescued? It’s a choice between use the string or start thinking of what garnish you’ll add to your bestest buddy!
So – How many uses can you think of for this piece of string?
- 1 minutes –
- we will share
- you may work in pairs/three
- How many? How did you arrive at your answers? What did you do well as a group? Why? How did the last activity help you with the second?
My professional context:
I am in the early years of my teaching career. However, I entered the profession in my late 30′s after working in a variety of people related careers. The school I work in is a co-educational secondary school that caters for a wide range of learning abilities with its students coming from a diverse range of socio-cultural backgrounds. The school has a strong community focus; running local, community initiatives as well as the recent introduction of interstate outreach programs. It has a well-regarded Adaptive Education program as well as running Specialist Sporting programmes. The performing arts program is expanding. Upon graduation, our students choose a number of career pathways, with many opting for further study. (Australia’s education system with the opportunity to delay payment of tertiary fees until post-study, means that anyone, if they achieve the required grades, can access further study.) Recently, our school has adopted the practise of staff, Professional Learning Teams (PLT). This commences at the beginning of each year, with staff members forming learning communities or teams, that meet throughout the school year. The year concludes with a “showcase” of learning. This page is a brief summation of my Metacognition work with my Year 8 students (13-14 yr olds) – presentation to my peers. Not all information covered in the presentation will appear on this page; other pieces will be taken from other pages on this blog.
Metacognition – teaching students to understand how they think.
My PLT came about because, as a Year 12 teacher (Senior: pre-University), I had come to the conclusion that (anecdotally) there was a greater need for students to develop independent “learning” skills. Yes, students need to meet task deadlines. Yes, students need to perform to the best of their abilities. Yes, students need to have access to quality teachers. Yes, students need to have access to quality facilities. In an ideal world, all children would have equal access to quality education and be engaged with this quality education. Hmmm ….
However, what good is any of this if we do not facilitate students’ understanding of who they are as learners, how they learn and … how learning and the demonstration of this learning varies according to different tasks. A variety of factors led me to the field of metacognition; my Principal’s focus on Brain-Based learning, discussions with colleagues and, significantly, discussions with my husband, a seasoned educator within both secondary and tertiary contexts (Shane Pill, Lecturer in Education at Flinders University – almost a Doctor!! a hair’s breadth away!!). He was the one who said to me, “Well, don’t just talk about it, do it.” This led to the creation of my kpmetacognition, twitter account from which I have been exposed to some of the best metacog/neuroscience thinkers from across the globe. The professional development I have experienced as a result of twitter has been incredible, and I am in awe of what is occuring “out there”. I realise that I am truly just scratching the surface with my own learning. Shortly after creating the twitter account, I created this blog. Not as a way of drawing attention to myself but as a method of journalling my experiences, storing resources and, creating a sense of professional accountability.
Initially, my metacognition learning was to encompass 1 calendar year but as I read further and experimented with my students, I realised that as an action-based, research project it would take at least 2 years. The first to develop a foundation of core knowledge, with the trialling of different metacognition classroom approaches and the second year, after reflection, a more focussed and refined approach. To be honest, I have been like a kid in a lolly shop. So many good ideas, so many amazing educators, so many options – Where to start? How to start? What to do? etc etc In developing my understanding of how to develop my students’ metacognitive abilities, I was developing my own!The story starts like this:
The following are prompts for me to move to the PLT (and others) page as part of my PLT presentation to my peers.
PLT presentation- Sir Ken Robinson clip – piqued my interest (posed questions)
August 17th Entry: Cognition, Metacognition and Epistemic Cognition!!
Aug18th Entry: Moving students from compliance to Commitment (then go to – Interesting= Peer Assessment)
PLT presentation – Engage Me clip- Moving students from compliance to commitment by incorporating their world and making it high stakes.
Sept 23rd Entry: Metacognition, creating understanding using immersion activities (Using a bit of Jensen to “rock” or challenge their world! I had a LOT of fun with this activity!!)
Activities Page: Iceberg (developing awareness) / Letter Task / HASS blog task
PLTpresentation – 21st Century Learner clip- using their world but making it relevant. (blog and film night – invited parents – children chose charity – this task was cross-curricular – English, HASS, Science learning areas therefore, increased likelihood of engaging students)