Published on October 30, 2007
Helping students help themselves: Helping students help themselves Marilla Svinicki Educational Psychology The University of Texas at Austin Where do students need help?: Where do students need help? Decreasing their focus on memorization Increasing their self-regulation strategies Increasing and focusing their own motivation Recognizing the need for transfer Instructional problem: Emphasis on memorization: Instructional problem: Emphasis on memorization “I studied so hard and thought I knew everything. How could I get a C?” “Could you post all the notes on the website?” “What’s the right answer?” Students don’t have the same definitions of learning that we do. What does it mean to understand?: What does it mean to understand? Put a concept in your own terms? Give your own examples? Apply the concept to new situations? Understand the structure of a concept and how it relates to other concepts. Structural knowledge: the concept map: Structural knowledge: the concept map Why does structure help?5: Why does structure help?5 It provides organization to memory, which reduces cognitive load. It identifies similar concepts for generalization. It forms the basis for analogical reasoning. It allows you to fill in gaps by inference. It allows you to imagine possible realities you haven’t directly experienced. A simple comparative organizer: A simple comparative organizer Example of a cumulative, comparative organizer: Example of a cumulative, comparative organizer A generative chart: A generative chart Columns Rows Applying this to your own situation.: Applying this to your own situation. Is there an example of a structural model of the content that you use in your course? How can you encourage students to use or create their own structural understanding representations? Instructional Problem: Poor student self-regulation: Instructional Problem: Poor student self-regulation How can we help our students be better learners?: How can we help our students be better learners? The GAMES model G oal-oriented learning A ctive learning M eaningful learning E xplanations and learning S elf-regulation of learning Goal-oriented learning: Goal-oriented learning Example of good goals for studying Be able to list, define and give my own example of the key vocabulary in a chapter. Be able to solve the problems highlighted in a chapter without looking at the solution beforehand. Be able to explain how the statistical test described in this chapter differs from the one in the previous chapter. Active learning: Active learning Examples of good active learning strategies for studying: Outlining or creating charts to make connections Summarizing or paraphrasing sections of the reading Working through problems Thinking of examples or questions Creating mental images, metaphors, analogies What’s wrong with highlighting? What about in your field? Meaningful learning: Meaningful learning Encourage structural understanding Making outlines Using concept maps Creating comparative organizers Drawing flow charts Creating a story line for sequences Explanations and learning: Explanations and learning Using peer learning during and outside of class time Face to face in class group activities Online discussion boards or chat rooms Contributor FAQs sites Reflective journals or blogs with responses Identified Audience summary sheets Self-regulation of learning: Self-regulation of learning What does it involve? Self, task, strategy knowledge Self-monitoring, evaluation and correction Examples of Self-regulation activities Students hand in a critique of own papers. Study plans or phased paper writing Selection amongst options Would GAMES work for your students and your content?: Would GAMES work for your students and your content? What do you do already that helps your students become better learners? How would you adapt GAMES to your classes? What special learning strategies are particularly salient for your discipline? (Can you help my research team?) Instructional problem: Misplaced or lack of motivation: Instructional problem: Misplaced or lack of motivation “Will that be on the test?” “I need an ‘A’ in this class. What can I do for extra credit?” “Just tell me the right answer.” Students are too focused on grades or not focused at all. Motivation: Goal Orientation: Motivation: Goal Orientation Four proposed orientations Mastery “I want to learn” Approach “I want to succeed” Avoidance “I don’t want to fail” Strategic effort “I want the biggest bang for my buck” Fostering mastery goals7: Fostering mastery goals7 Clear expectations Focus on personal improvement Emphasize learning value of errors Positive support and useful feedback De-emphasize comparison with others Allow some personal control over the process Develop classroom community Motivation: Self-efficacy for a task: Motivation: Self-efficacy for a task What is it and what effects does it have? Encouraging accurate self-efficacy Past success Present success Persuasion through support Mindful analysis of learning Motivation: Value of a task: Motivation: Value of a task Where does value come from? Utility Interest Challenge Self-determination Societal influences Why should students learn your content? How would this apply to you?: How would this apply to you? Instructional problem: Transfer failure: Instructional problem: Transfer failure “Didn’t you learn how to do this last semester?” “That stuff is from the previous chapter. Do I have to remember it now?” Students fail to make use of what they already know, and they forget everything after the test. Useful learning theory: Useful learning theory Cognitive learning theory The value of activating prior knowledge The need to overcome “situated” learning The need to create a “transfer” mindset Teaching strategies Building on what students know Providing lots of varied practice Emphasizing mindful learning Build in activities that point forward How would this apply to you?: How would this apply to you? How do you help students connect? What previously learned content/skills would be important to remind students of in your class? How do you make the connection between the present and future uses of content? A quick review: A quick review Foster structural understanding instead of memorization. Help students learn to self-regulate. Cultivate student motivation. Encourage students to think about transfer while they’re learning. Readings about learning: Readings about learning Bransford, J., Brown, A. and Cocking, R. (1999) How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Halpern, D. and Hakel, M. (2002) Applying the science of learning to university teaching and beyond. New Directions for Teaching and Learning no. 89 San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publisher. Halpern, D. and Associates (1994) Changing College Classrooms. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publisher. Svinicki, M. (2004) Learning and Motivation in Postsecondary Classrooms. Bolton, MA: Anker Press.