demystifying the learning process

saw this not-too-new 2017 article on mindshift introducing some ideas teachers can help students to see the (true) nature of learning, and help them develop useful habits of learning. these ideas were proposed by Barbara Oakley. ignore the title of the article cos to me, EVERYONE struggles, from time to time, and whether one would like to admit it or not.

some lines, including words from Oakley, in the article that caught my attention:

“…the common experience of students who reread their notes and think they know the material — only to enter a test and find that they cannot retrieve the information. ”

“students tend to equate speed with smarts, Oakley suggests sharing this metaphor: ‘There’s a race car brain and a hiker brain. They both get to the finish line, but not at the same time. The race car brain gets there really fast, but everything goes by in a blur. The hiker brain takes time. It hears birds singing, sees the rabbit trails, feels the leaves. It’s a very different experience and, in some ways, much richer and deeper. You don’t need to be a super swift learner. In fact, sometimes you can learn more deeply by going slowly.'”

“Learning is all about developing strong chains.” (cf. chunks)

“familiar metaphors allow a learner to draw on a concept they have already mastered and apply it to a new situation. Or as Oakley says, metaphors ‘rapidly on-board’ new ideas.”

“…’Pomodoro Technique.’ Developed by Francesco Cirillo, this strategy uses a timer to help the learner work and break at set intervals. First, choose a task to accomplish. Then, set a timer for 25 minutes and work until the timer goes off. At that point, take a five-minute break: stand up, walk around, take a drink of water, etc. After three or four 25-minute intervals, take a longer break (15 – 30 minutes) to recharge. “

“…I would tell students, you don’t just have to be stuck following your passion. You can broaden your passions enormously.”

one idea chunk came to my mind as i read the article: micro-learning. what myth(s) are pple propagating with this term and it’s associated ‘benefits’ for learning i wonder. is learning fast? how often is learning fast?

what world will my child live in

saw this video shared on moe channel in a feed:

(02:33-) “one thing that is going to be very important is to…learn to learn, in which as you are learning the theory, you are also applying it to a set of problems that are very real. The computers will know the fact, and the computers will be much better at executing the procedures than you will ever be.”

translating it to the two aspects of language learning (cultural content & skills):

“one thing that is going to be very important is to…learn to learn, in which as you are learning the language skills, you are also applying it to a context that is very real. The computers will know the language, and the computers will be much better at executing the skills than you will ever be.”

“one thing that is going to be very important is to…learn to learn, in which as you are learning the cultural contents, you are connecting them to a context that is very real. The computers will know the fact, and the computers will be much better at recalling the contents than you will ever be.”

what are we (both school/teachers, and parents) teaching today that is preparing our children for the world they are living in tmr? #food4thought

about learning …

chanced upon this 2005 document titled: About Learning prepared by the UK Learning Working Group (with Hargreaves as a chair/member). the document was released under creativecommons, so free access no copyrights issue **thumbs up**

the following excerpt found on pg. 7:

Screenshot 2016-06-08 10.12.50

so what would the Family of Learning Practices be like in language learning, or SLA to be more specific? #Food4Thought

which level are you at?

no, this is not a RPG question, nor a rhetoric qn.

was reading and saw reference to John Biggs (1999)’s Levels of Teaching Competence in his other article ‘what the student does? teaching for enhanced learning‘.

so, using RPG-like language, i can probably ask a teacher “which teaching level are you at?”, or “which teacher level are you?” 😛

a quick list of the focus of the 3 levels of teaching competence:

level 1: focus on what the student IS
level 2: focus on what the teacher DOES
level 3: focus on what the STUDENT does

level 1’s focus is on knowledge transmission. teacher’s responsibility is to lecture, and assume students will ‘absorb’. if students do not learn, ‘blame the student’ (in terms of deficit in ability, attitude, study skills, motivation (Samuelowicz, 1987).

level 2’s focus is very much on what the teacher does to transmit knowledge (concepts and understanding) to students. a teacher will aim to work at equipping oneself with ‘an armoury of teaching skills’. PD is focused on ‘HOWTOs’. the deficit now lies with the teacher. ‘blame the teacher’ for being incompetent (teaching is a bag of competencies) if s/he doesnt transmit knowledge well.

level 3’s focus is on students learning. one may argue that this requires level 2’s competencies as a basis. perhaps so. but the focus is on what the student does, and the key qns for consideration is “what it means to understand those concepts and principles in the way we want them to be understood?”, and “what kind of teaching/learning activities are required to reach those kinds of understanding?” (p.63)

level 3 is ‘student-centered’ teaching. 1 & 2 are teacher-centered.

sdl, col, and desired outcomes of education

— update 27/3/17 —

– revised DOE webpage URL in footer
– be able to think for and express themselves confidently (revised to include SDL at pri level)

— update 27/7/15 —

revised the headings of the comparison table

— end of update

3-4 years back, our team attempted to rationalise the link between mp3 student goals (self-directed learning “SDL”, and collaborative learning “CoL”) and MOE’s 21st century competencies.

in my professional development work with primary and secondary school teachers, a question that has been lingering at the back of my mind for a very long time but somehow i couldn’t figure out a way to make things more manageable for teachers: “among the many SDL/CoL competencies, what is expected at primary level, and what is expected at secondary level?” to a teacher, it would mean the ‘extent to teach’, and in turn affects the design of teaching and learning activities. in other words, with a ‘baseline’ in mind, a teacher will be able to know the minimum expectation, while working towards stretching his/her students’ potential.

and this morning, i may have found a way: in our context, teachers teach towards the Desired Outcomes of Education, and key stages with related attributes have been defined. i attempt to map keywords in the outcomes at different stages, with SDL and/or CoL, depending on which competency the outcome is closer to. as i argue that an SDLearner is found in the CoL situation, some ticks in the the SDL column could see a tick in the CoL column too if i choose. if. and here is my attempt in Acrobat X PDF:

141103-key stage outcomes sdl n col

therefore, if i am a primary school teacher, i am expected to develop an SDLearner who knows his/her strength, is curious, and takes pride in his/her work. in terms of CoL, s/he needs to be able to cooperate (cf. collaborate), share & care for fellow group mates, and be able to express him/herself in a group.

if i am a secondary school teacher, i am expected to develop an SDLearner who is able to adapt to change, creative, and takes on responsibility for his/her own learning. in terms of CoL, s/he is an empathetic team player who appreciates the diverse views in a group; effective communication is a group is but an extension from primary school.

of cos that being said, there’s no stopping for any teacher from stretching and developing their students beyond the above ‘baseline’. an effective teacher is one who is able to 因材施教 (: