Chapter 2 of How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice connected directly into my classroom this week because the past 4 days of school has been goal setting conferences with parents and students. During these conferences I spent time discussing their achievement on beginning of the year assessments and then we looked at next steps in each subject area. Together, we then create a goal for the student to focus on for the next few months. We discuss the best possible practices to help them obtain their goal. The students in my classroom are expected to take control of their learning and monitor their progress until we meet back in January. Even though this process is something I have done for years, I have never known there was a name for what I was doing besides “goal setting”. In chapter 2 it says, “a ‘metacognitive’ approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them (Donovan, Bransford, Pellegrino 13).”
After reading that information it really helped solidify that using meta-cognitive strategies in my classroom and then discussing them in my conferences will help students learning. The struggle I have with this is their age and ability level in the start of the year. Being in kindergarten, the hard part it is getting the students to understand and remember what those strategies are and what they look like, and then having them document and kept record of their learning. Chapter 2 reads, “because metacognition often takes the form of an internal conversation, it can easily be assumed that individuals will develop the internal dialogue on their own”…” Research has demonstrated that children can be taught these strategies, including the ability to predict outcomes, explain to oneself in order to improve understanding, note failures to comprehend, activate background knowledge, plan ahead, and apportion time and memory (Donovan, Bransford, Pellegrino 14).” Like I mentioned before, my students need a lot of scaffolding. They are too young to be able to develop those skills without several lessons on what it looks like. Modeling this behavior for my kids and then having them practice these skills in a subject area that they have perfected really allows them to ask the necessary questions to understand how to approach this type of learning. The beginning of the year is always a challenge because I still have many students who are unable to read and write. I have had to result to using pictures and check off sheets for my non-reader and writers. Research has shown that “meta-cognitive practices have been shown to increase the degree to which students transfer to a new setting and events”…..” Class discussions are used to support skills development, with a goal of independence and self-regulation (Donovan, Bransford, Pellegrino 15).”
I have ran my conferences this way for the past 4 years, but I never had research to back up my approach to confirm that it truly does help student learning! As many of the other readings and Dr. Williams screen-casts touched on, is how to go from being a novice to an expert. To help my students become more of an expert of their learning it will depend on, “the manner in which information is organized and utilized (Bransford, Brown, Cocking 101)”. As teachers, we all strive to help our students learn how to become an expert on managing their own learning. I feel these skills will help them accomplish that!
Donovan, S. M., Bransford, J. D., & Pellegrino, J. W. (1999). How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice (pp. 13-15). N.p.: National Academy of Science.
Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2007). The JOSSEY-BASS READER on the Brain and Learning (p. 101). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
How People Learn ScreenCast. Dir. Dr. Tracy Williams . Thurs 17 Oct. 2013.