Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chapter 10 Content-Area Learning

Chapter 10 on page 437 it talks about gender and ethnic differences in Math. I do not like math but maybe that is only because I am not good at it. Do you agree with the chapter that male students tend to outperform female students on standard college exams? Is this something that you have seen in your classrooms? Do you feel ethnicity also plays a role or makes a difference?

Chapter 9 – Neuroscience of Learning

I enjoyed this chapter because it provides insight on many different learning theories and processes. I also enjoy reading about the human brain and how it plays such an important role in learning and behavior. Page 386 talks about Brain development and Nutrition. Many factors can influence fetal brain development. Although most healthy pregnant women do not need to radically alter their lifestyles in order to promote optimal brain development good nutrition is important, since brain growth like the growth of the rest of the fetus body is influenced by the quality of a pregnant woman's diet. Brain development is most sensitive to a baby's nutrition between mid-gestation and two years of age. Children who are malnourished and deprived of adequate calories and protein in their diet throughout this period do not adequately grow, either physically or mentally. Inadequate brain growth explains why children who were malnourished as fetuses and infants suffer often lasting behavioral and cognitive deficits, including slower language and fine motor development, lower IQ, and poorer school performance. A baby's birth weight and brain size depend on the quality of his or her mother's nutrition during pregnancy.

Hierarchy of Needs – Chapter 11

This topic interests me the most from this chapter because Maslow's understanding of human motivation has had an important influence in the fields of medicine and health. This is the field I teach in. The needs hierarchy provides a useful framework for understanding patients and has been incorporated into several important theories of health care. Needs-oriented theories also emphasize the role in helping the patient to meet his or her physiological and psychosocial needs. Maslow believed that these needs play a major role in motivating behavior. Maslow termed the highest-level of the pyramid as growth needs (Desire to grow as a person). There are five different levels in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: Physiological needs which include the most basic needs that are vital to survival, such as the need for water, air, food and sleep. Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs. Examples of security needs may include a desire for steady employment, health insurance, safe neighborhoods and shelter from the environment. Social needs include needs for belonging, love and affection, relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments and families. This may also include involvement in social, community or religious groups. Esteem needs such as self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition and accomplishment. Then most important Self-actualizing needs which is the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Self-actualizing people are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others and interested fulfilling their potential.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Classroom Climates

A section of chapter 8 deals with Teacher-Student Interactions and classroom climates. Classroom climate is especially important to me as an Instructor. Although I teach at the college level the classroom is “our” room and I do hold the students responsible for everything that goes on in there. The text talks about different classroom climates: Democratic style, Authoritarian style and Laissez-faire style. The Democratic style is where the Students have more of a participatory role in the decision making process. The Teacher retains final say over all decisions but allows for the students to share their thoughts and ideas. Authoritarian style puts firm limits and controls on the students. Whereas the Laissez-faire style is a "hands off" leadership style because the leader provides little or no direction to the students. I believe that I am a mixture of all three styles.
What is your classroom management style?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Shall we play a game?

In Chapter 7 Cognition and Instruction it talks about using simulations and games as a way to get children engaged (motivated) in learning while still allowing them to have fun in their classes. Simulations and Computer games are usually problem based therefore are extremely helpful in the development of long term learning. Simulations can involve the use of social skills and deal with conditions that can change helping the student with critical thinking skills. Although most video and computer games aren’t associated with educational value there are some that have something of value to teach, guide and grow the interest of kids both inside and outside of the classroom. Our EMS Program uses computer simulation to teach on a daily bases. It allows for our students to practice and develop their skills with help from a computer guided manikin before going out and performing them on real live patients. Does anyone else use simulations and/or games in the classroom? Does anyone feel that they should not be used in a classroom setting?    

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"What was inter-mental becomes intra-mental." - Vygotsky

In a classroom the constructivist view of learning can lead towards a number of different teaching practices. Students are encouraged to use active techniques and reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing. The teacher will then guide the activity presented to the student and have them build on it by encouraging learning and reflection. The constructivist teacher will provide tools such as problem-solving and inquiry-based learning activities where students can formulate and test their ideas, draw conclusions and pool their knowledge in a collaborative learning environment. Constructivism removes the student from a passive to an active participant in the learning process. One of the best ways to understand what constructivism is and what it means in your classroom is by seeing examples of it at work. Does any have any examples that they could share with the class?

Friday, February 18, 2011

I before E except after C !

A Mnemonic device is a memory aid that provides a method for organizing information to make it more easily remembered. Much of what we learn in school is simple memorization. There have been many studies done that suggest using mnemonics actually improves the ability to apply the information remembered. The human brain likes patterns. When we learn something new, our brain tries to find an association between the new information and the stuff we already know. There are many different types of mnemonics; acrostic sentences, acronyms, rhymes, phrases, keyword mnemonics, loci mnemonics, and narrative chaining.
In my classroom mnemonics are used daily to assist our students with remembering. One example: DCAP-BTLS is used when looking for injuries on trauma patients. It stands for Deformities, Contusions, Abrasions, Punctures, Penetrations, Burns, Tenderness, Lacerations and Swelling.
I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t used Mnemonics at one time or another whether for yourselves or in your classrooms. As rare as it may be I have heard some people say you should learn the concept and not just memorize letters. Does anyone have any personal experiences or funny stories with mnemonics that they would like to share?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What did you say?

As I was reading Chapter 4 about the Cognitive Information Processing Theory a particular topic “caught my eye” theories of attention. My medical background teaches me that it is essential for our survival that our brains filter out an enormous amount of input. We need to block some things in order to deal with others effectively and that we all have differences in our abilities to control our attention and block out irrelevant stimuli effectively.
Anyone have students or a child who “studies” with earphones on as they blare out loud music? I always wondered how people can do that.
We as teachers also need to be aware of distractions on our part that we may unknowingly do. The book sites suggestions to mix-up the classroom material to focus and maintain student attention. Using signals, movement, variety, interest and questions can keep it a great learning environment for everyone.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Is it possible to read a book about driving a car and actually know how to drive a car?

Chapter 3 talks about the Social Cognitive Theory. A theory based on learning that occurs in a social environment based on the relationship between three factors: behavior, environmental and personal. Albert Bandura believed that people could learn new actions merely by observing others perform them. This I believe to be true as I have seen it in my classroom. With my students we can lecture over and over and OVER about a certain skill or procedure but not until we break out the equipment and actually run through a demonstration do they grasp the concepts. In relation to the Social Cognitive Theory this chapter also talks about external items. Whether or not we perform depends on many factors as well. Some of these factors include our own motivation or interest in the topic. Whether or not there are incentives (grade) a need or social pressures.
So how do people’s experiences, environments and behaviors affect how they learn? Can you share some of your experiences?  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Conditioning Theories - Chaining

Chapter 2 Conditioning Theories talks about chaining and it sites a few examples such as riding a bicycle. Does this mean that the learner is doing several actions or items simultaneously without necessarily thinking about each? Can anyone clarify this topic for me? 

Conditioning Theories - Positive and Negative Reinforcement

Chapter 2 Conditioning Theories talks about Positive and Negative Reinforcement. As you read further it cites an example of the use of punishment and how it does not teach how to behave more productively and can actually hinder learning. I am curious of anyone’s opinions or if anyone has any stories that can be shared on this subject matter.