Category Archives: Learners

Guest Post: Beyond Rote Learning

rotelearningHere is another example proving the work we are doing in 27J around instruction and student thinking will lead the way.

A blog post by @HeatherHiles, titled Moving Beyond Rote Learning appeared in the “Twitterverse” that seems to describe a vision very similar to our own work on Thinking Classrooms. Here’s a few excerpts:

…a national consensus is forming around the idea that in order to fix education in America, we’ve got to move beyond the bubble test. Learning by rote must be replaced by something more effective. Memorization must be thrown out in favor of deeper learning – cognition and metacognition.

Such changes begin when teachers are allowed to move beyond teaching to the test and toward more effective learn-by-doing methods. Change is also possible when we start to understand that each child is unique and learns in his or her own way and time.

She references an example public school system from Union City, New Jersey. Her additional comment rings true:

Helping students to not only hear and memorize concepts, but to actually apply them in the real world—that’s where the magic happens. When students bring the evidence of having applied what they learn into the classroom, something deeper than memorization has occurred. Knowledge has been acquired.

NOTE: She does use the blog post to promote her company, and just for clarification, we are not endorsing the product or company in any way. Simply liked her words and viewpoint on classroom work and wanted to share!

At a Student Achievement meeting today, there were lots of celebrations around the room of great work and transformations happening in classrooms in our district, from Preschool all the way to high school. We feel humbled and honored to be part of such a great movement and wave of meaningful change. It is happening every day because the work YOU DO to make our kids think and grow.

Carry on!!

The Voice of the Active Learner

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Are you ready to educate this Active, Connected Learner? Our students are growing up in an ever changing, increasingly digital society. Will your current instructional strategies and “keep up” with her? What one small step could you take tomorrow to better serve her needs? What changes have you already made?

The video below has some interesting statistics on the use of technology by young people. Be sure to check it out! Disclaimer: This video was produced by Blackboard, however, this is not an endorsement of the company. We just liked the video!

photo credit: courosa via photopin cc

How Do You Get ME to Learn?

As an extension to our first post, some educators suggested that we consider our question of “How Do We Get Kids to Learn?” from a possible student perspective. So without further explanation:

How do you get ME to learn when…

  • I don’t want to or have a reason to care about what is being taught?
  • You never stop telling us the answers, and sometimes we can’t hear them all as fast as you are talking?
  • I know that if I struggle, you will help me finish my paper correctly?
  • all you expect me to do is sit there and be quiet?
  • I can simply “Google It” or “Ask Siri” to find the facts you are asking me to memorize?
  • school is so boring?
  • I have already learned half of what you are teaching me, but I won’t say anything because I would rather not stretch myself anyway?
  • cooperative work really means chill with my friends, and copy each other?
  • your feedback just gives me the right answers?
  • you won’t call on me anyway because I didn’t raise my hand?
  • you are so busy talking that you won’t notice if I take a brief nap, send a text, write a note, do my homework for other classes, or talk quietly with my friends?
  • learning in school is really just an exercise in following directions?
  • I am already so far behind that I am completely lost?
  • I don’t know what you want from me?
  • your teaching doesn’t make me think, be responsible, or own anything?

But please don’t change anything. I am a kid, and I like the idea of just having to show up for school, do what you tell me to, and hang around for 13 years and you will let me out. I don’t want the responsibility of learning and would prefer you to shoulder the burden because you are accountable for this stuff, not me.

Ok, Ok. This isn’t a real student, but it is a real message. How will we change our own behaviors to change this perspective? How will we help each other commit to change?

 
photo credit: Gunnsi via photopin cc

Student vs. Learner

The transformation into Thinking Classrooms not only means a mind shift for teachers, it also requires supporting students in a mind shift of their own. The system has taught them how to be a “student”, but not necessarily a “learner”.

How will you support and re-train your “students” into “learners”??

Check out these fun videos highlighting differences between the roles. These video were created by the Council on 21st Century Learning (C21L), a nonprofit organization serving as Colorado’s professional development affiliate of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

Student/Learner 1.0: The Housewarming

Student/Learner 2.0: The Quiz

Student/Learner 3.0: The Teacher

What do you think?

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