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A Reflective Approach to Conceptual Understanding and Transfer Learning

reading/content: www.readinggateway.pbworks.com

reading/math: http://danjen.pbworks.com


Critical Measure of Success toward college completion. Completion of a set of gateway courses for a program of study is a critical measure of success toward college completion. Students who complete at least three required “gateway� courses in a program of study within a year of enrollment are twice as likely to earn certificates or degrees. (Community College Research Center)


What are Co-requisite Courses? Co-Requisite Courses In co-requisite courses students are placed in both a content course and a skills course. Both courses would be co-designed so the skills of the developmental class directly supports the content of the college course.


Mental Processes and Learning Activities? • relevant to content course reading assignment • timely to student’s needs


Increase challenge and rigor The shift: - from all the skills that the learner did not learn in the past - to learning mental processes for developing conceptual understanding in gateway content courses transfer learning


Romantic Dinner


romantic atmosphere cost

Restaurants locations menus kinds of restaurants

Start here

atmosphere

low lights

Romantic Dinner menu


romantic atmosphere cost

Restaurants locations menus kinds of restaurants

Transfer: Transfer: Deep foundation foundation of of Factual Knowledge atmosphere

low lights

Romantic Dinner menu


romantic atmosphere cost

Restaurants locations menus kinds of restaurants

Transfer: Transfer: Organized Organized in ways ways that that facilitate retrieval and application application atmosphere

low lights

Romantic Dinner menu


romantic atmosphere cost

Restaurants locations menus kinds of restaurants

Transfer: Transfer: Understood in context of a conceptual framework atmosphere

low lights

Romantic Dinner menu


Contrary to popular belief, learning basic facts is not a prerequisite for creative thinking and problem solving -- - it’s the other way around. Once you grasp the big concepts around a subject, good thinking will lead you to the important facts. (John Bransford)


Perception


Conceptual Framework Psy: Brain Affects: • behavior • thinking • social interaction

tactile

kinesthetic

Sensory Data visual tactile

Willful effort activates the prefrontal cortex. sensory data

organization

Perception interpretation

past experience

The Grand Unifying Theory of Psychology: Your life is the sum of what you focus on.

Reflection Part of the whole process of thinking is the ability to reflect—to be in the present moment and aware of one’s place in time, to make the effort to understand more holistically (to see how ideas fit together), to take the time to revisit ideas and develop relevant questions and connections that will enhance one’s perspective and cognitive abilities.


The Goal of Co-Requisite Reading to Learn The Foundation of Reading to Learn Developing competence in an area of inquiry (transfer). - enable the learner to later apply what they have learned in new situations (transfer) and - be able to learn related information easier.

Information does NOT compile itself automatically into knowledge without active intervention.


Guiding Attention and Reflection Necessary for Developing Competence (Transfer Learning)

Developing competence requires the learner to - develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge, - understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, - organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application.


Focus your attention on something new, and you make new connections.

Dendrites Myelin Sheath

Axon

Neuron Ends Cell Body

The more myelin the circuit attracts, the stronger and faster its signal strength becomes. It turns out that myelin, not the nerves, is what builds the speed, precision and timing that creates great learners. Focused attention, via the Quantum Zeno Effect will stabilize neural circuits, get them to fire together, and when they fire together they will wire together by Hebb’s Law. That is the physiological basis of selfdirected neuroplasticity.


Begin at the Beginning - Attention

Working Memory

4 unrelated items 10 - 15 seconds Here is the Key: “If we are unable to attend to the information in our working memory, the information lasts only as long as the neurons that hold and maintain their electric charge—a few seconds…. Then it's gone…” (Carr, 2010, p.193) If we don’t attend and reflect, we don’t learn anything new.


The Stage: metaphor for working memory,

Mental Processes (reflection)

Actors: New information Audience: Prior Knowledge dendrites

THE STAGE

The Stage is working memory where new information is stored and manipulated while you are learning.


The Observer “Peak mental performance (example, reading to learn) requires a combination knowing your brain, and being able to observe your brain processes occurring. In the stage metaphor, there is the director. The director is a metaphor for the part of your awareness that stands outside of experience. This observer can watch the show that is your life, make decisions about how your brain will respond. The experience of observing yourself is sometimes called self-awareness, or mindfulness, or metacognition which means “thinking about your thinking”, or meta-awareness, which means “awareness of your awareness” (Rock)

Actor: New information

The Observer

Audience: Prior Knowledge dendrites

Learning Strategies

THE STAGE Working Memory


The Observer - Meta-Awareness MRIs show that asking people to observe their own thinking process as they ruminate can cause activity to move to more deliberate, conscious brain regions such as the prefrontal cortex. Research at the University of Toronto shows that momentby-moment self-observation activates executive planning areas in the prefrontal cortex and deactivates areas involved in attention-distracting rumination


The quantum Zeno effect for neuroscience application states that the mental act of focusing attention can hold in place brain circuits associated with what is focused on. Focusing attention on mental experience maintains the brain state arising in association with that experience. What this means is that if one focuses attention on an experience, the set of relevant brain circuitry with which that experience is associated will be held in a dynamically stable state. It is increased focus that brings the quantum Zeno effect into play. This increased focus causes the relevant neural circuitry to become stabilized.


Quit multitasking, try working on your likely weakness -- one pointed concentration.

Distraction or multitasking The rewiring of the brain that occurs prompts immediate response and the anticipation of the next stimulus, and this interrupts the ability to reflectively ponder the situation.

Focused attention Compensating for new weaknesses in higher-order cognitive processes: abstract vocabulary, mindfulness, reflection, inductive problem solving, critical thinking, and imagination.


Forgetting Curve

How Much Remembered

100%

50%

50%

35%

1 day

1 week

Forget 80% in two weeks Forget 85% 20% on day graduate 2 weeks

While Sleeping

Pruning & Washing

•Electrical storm in brain - pruning & memory consolidation •During sleep, the brain cleans itself.


Why a Reflective Approach to Transfer Learning?

“Only 31 percent of college graduates can read a complex book and extrapolate from it. That's not saying much for the remainder.” (Rogers 2008) “Only thirty-five percent of recent college graduates passed the National Adult Literacy Exam.” (Hersh, 2006) “Less than 50 percent of recent college graduates are proficient in math and reading, according to a report by the American Institutes for Research in Washington, DC.” (2006)


Chapter 6 Psychological Disorders Defining and Explaining Abnormal Behavior What makes behavior “abnormal”? The American Psychiatric Association (2001, 2006) defines abnormal behavior in medical terms: a mental illness that affects or is manifested in a person’s brain and can affect the way the individual thinks, behaves, and interacts with with others. Three criteria help distinguish normal from abnormal behavior: Abnormal behavior is deviant, maladaptive, or personally distressful over a long period of time. Let’s tale a closer look at what each of these characteristics of abnormal behavior entails. •

Abnormal behavior is deviant. Abnormal behavior is certainly atypical or statistically unusual. For example, Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James, and Steve Jobs are atypical in many of their behaviors - and yet we do not categorize them as as abnormal We do often consider atypical behavior abnormal, though, when it deviates from what is acceptable in a culture. A women who washes her hands three or four times an hour and takes seven showers a day is abnormal because her behavior deviates from what we see as acceptable.

Abnormal behavior is maladaptive. Maladaptive behavior interferes with one’s ability to function effectively in the world. A man who believes that he can endanger others through his breathing may go to great lengths to isolate himself fro people for what he believes is their own good. His belief negatively affects his everyday functioning: thus, his behavior is maladaptive. Behavior that presents a danger to the person or those around him or her is also considered maladaptive (and abnormal).

Abnormal behavior involves personal distress over a long period of time. The person engaging in the behavior finds it troubling. A woman who secretly makes herself vomit after every meal may never be seen by others as deviant (because they do not know about it), but this pattern of behavior may cause her to fee intense shame, guilt, and despair.

•Only

one of these criteria need be present for behavior to be labeled “abnormal”, but typically two or three may be present. When abnormal behavior persists, it may lead to the diagnosis of abnormal behavior.


p. 142

Psychology mind or brain affects behavior

Psychological Disorder abnormal behavior

Abnormal Behavior mental illness affecting behavior

deviant atypical

personally distressful over time

3 Criteria distinguishing normal from abnormal behavior

maladaptive

danger

function effectively

x x


deviant (atypical)

Psychological Disorders personally distressful (long period of time)

maladaptive (function); (danger)

Willful effort activates the prefrontal cortex. deviant

maladaptive

Abnormal Behavior personally distressful

Reflection Part of the whole process of thinking is the ability to reflect—to be in the present moment and aware of one’s place in time, to make the effort to understand more holistically (to see how ideas fit together), to take the time to revisit ideas and develop relevant questions and connections that will enhance one’s perspective and cognitive abilities.


Understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework

“An expert in a particular field does not just have more knowledge, but the knowledge he has is connected in a logical and meaningful manner. This is important because when individual facts are recalled it is as if a whole set of interconnected further concepts are accessed at the same time and whole sets of (neural) networks become activated. An expert does not just have a better overview of the field, but he sees all the connections between the various concepts.� (Zirbel, Teaching to Promote Deep Understanding and Instigate Conceptual Change)


Big Picture Psychology brain affects behavior

Reflection

abnormal behavior mental illness affects behavior

criteria for abnormal behavior deviant, maladaptive, personally distressful

•What do these facts or ideas have to do with the conceptual framework of subject at hand? •How does this relate to the concepts preceding the new facts, ideas, or concepts? •What do I already know about these new facts and ideas? •Do I understand what I just read? •Where do I think this is going? (predicting) •How is this like or different than what I already know?

Start here Maladaptive function effectively/ danger Breathing harms others


In the Definition of Reflection are the Mental Processes Part of the whole process of thinking is the ability to reflect— -to be in the present moment and aware of one’s place in time, -to make the effort to understand more holistically (to see how ideas fit together), -to take the time to revisit ideas and -to develop relevant questions and connections that will enhance one’s perspective and cognitive abilities. -to link a current experience to previous learnings (a process called scaffolding). -to draw forth cognitive and emotional information from several sources: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile. -to act upon and process the information, synthesizing and evaluating the data. In the end, reflecting also means applying what we've learned to contexts beyond the original situations in which we learned something.


Students do not spontaneously engage in metacognitive thinking unless they are explicitly encouraged to do so through carefully designed instructional activities. Students do not spontaneously explain their thinking during the process of learning unless they are encouraged to do so. Explaining where they are in the learning process is important in making thinking explicit. (Xiaodong Lin)

Encourage reflection sooner rather than “later.�


Core Mental Processes •understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework - Identify or create the conceptual framework - Construct, relate, and systematically organize the meaning of concepts in the context of the conceptual framework - Predict: Our brains are structured to remember novel events that are unexpected. Because our brains are encoded to make and respond to predictions, they are particularly stimulated when they predict one effect and experience a different one.

•develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge, Re-exposure with elaboration: Reflection •writing - summarizing •internal dialogue •inquiry questions

• organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application Mentally mind map:

•by organizing facts and ideas under the conceptual framework


Anxiety Disorders Think about how you felt before a make-or-break exam or a big presentation – or perhaps as you noticed police lights flashing behind your speeding car. Did you feel jittery and nervous and experience tightness in your stomach? These are the feelings of a normal anxiety, an unpleasant feeling of fear and dread. In contrast, anxiety disorders involve fears that are uncontrollable, disproportionate to the actual danger the person might be in, and disruptive of ordinary life. They feature motor tension (jumpiness, trembling), hyperactivity (dizziness, a racing heart), and apprehensive expectations and thoughts. In this section we survey five types of anxiety disorders: • Generalized anxiety disorders • Panic disorders • Phobic disorders • Obsessive-compulsive disorders • Post-traumatic disorders

personally distressful (long period of time)

deviant (atypical)

3 Criteria

maladaptive (function); (danger)


fears that are uncontrollable

disruptive of ordinary life

Anxiety Disorder disproportionate to the actual danger the person might be in

deviant (atypical) personally distressful (long period of time)

3 criteria

maladaptive (function); (danger)


uncontrollable

disruptive

Anxiety Disorder Fears that are -

disproportionate


deviant (atypical)

Psychological Disorders personally distressful (long period of time)

maladaptive (function); (danger)

Willful effort activates the prefrontal cortex. uncontrollable

disproportionate

Anxiety Disorders disruptive

Reflection Part of the whole process of thinking is the ability to reflect—to be in the present moment and aware of one’s place in time, to make the effort to understand more holistically (to see how ideas fit together), to take the time to revisit ideas and develop relevant questions and connections that will enhance one’s perspective and cognitive abilities.


p. 142

Psychologymind or brain affects behavior

Psychological Disorderabnormal behavior

Abnormal Behaviormental illness affecting behavior

deviant atypical

personally distressful over time

3 Criteria distinguishing normal from abnormal behavior

maladaptive

danger

function effectively

x x


deviant (atypical)

Psychological Disorders personally distressful (long period of time)

maladaptive (function); (danger)

Willful effort activates the prefrontal cortex. wedding dress

getting married

Sue’s eating eating very little

Reflection Part of the whole process of thinking is the ability to reflect—to be in the present moment and aware of one’s place in time, to make the effort to understand more holistically (to see how ideas fit together), to take the time to revisit ideas and develop relevant questions and connections that will enhance one’s perspective and cognitive abilities.


deviant (atypical)

Psychological Disorders personally distressful (long period of time)

maladaptive (function); (danger)

Willful effort activates the prefrontal cortex. wedding dress

getting married

Panic Disorder eating very little

Reflection Part of the whole process of thinking is the ability to reflect—to be in the present moment and aware of one’s place in time, to make the effort to understand more holistically (to see how ideas fit together), to take the time to revisit ideas and develop relevant questions and connections that will enhance one’s perspective and cognitive abilities.


Introduce and teach skills as they are encountered within the learning to use the conceptual framework. Vocabulary that is not terminology. Example: atypical (prefix “a” means “not”) Patterns of organization Example: contrast Another example: • normal behavior • definition • symptoms • causes


Generalized Anxiety Disorder When you are worrying about getting a speeding ticket, you know why you are anxious; there is a specific cause. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is different from such everyday feelings of anxiety in that suffers experience persistent anxiety for at least 6 months and are unable to specify the reasons for the anxiety (Kendler & Others, 2007). People with generalized anxiety disorder are nervous most of the time. They may worry about their work relationships, or health. That worry can take on a physical tool and cause fatigue, muscle tension, stomach problems, and difficulty deviant (atypical) sleeping. 3 personally distressful (long period of time)

criteria

maladaptive (function); (danger)


fears that are uncontrollable

disruptive of ordinary life

Anxiety Disorder disproportionate to the actual danger the person might be in

deviant (atypical) personally distressful (long period of time)

3 criteria

persistent anxiety 6 months

persistent anxiety 6 months

maladaptive (function); (danger)

Gen Anxiety Disorder

Gen Anxiety Disorder

no cause

no cause


Panic Disorder Much like everyone else, you might sometimes have a specific experience that sends you into a panic. For example, you work all night on a paper, only to have your computer crash before you saved your last changes or you are about to dash across a street when you see a large truck coming right at you. Your heart races, your hands shake, and you might break into a sweat. In panic disorder, however, a person experiences recurrent, sudden onsets of intense terror, often without warning and deviant with not specific cause. (atypical) personally distressful (long period of time)

3 criteria

maladaptive (function); (danger)


deviant (atypical)

Phobic Disorder personally distressful (long period of time)

3 criteria

maladaptive (function); (danger)

Many people are afraid of spiders and snakes, indeed, thinking about letting a tarantula crawl over one’s face is likely to give anyone the willies. It is not uncommon to be afraid of particular objects or specific environments such as extreme heights. For most of us, these fears do not interfere with daily life. Some of us, however, have an irrational, overwhelming, persistent fear of a particular object or situation - and anxiety disorder called a phobic disorder (phobia). Whereas generalized anxiety disorder cannot pinpoint the cause of their nervous feelings. Individuals with phobias can.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Just before leaving on a a long road trip, you find yourself checking to be sure locked the front door. As you pull away in your car, you are stricken with the thought that you forgot to turn off the coffeemaker. This kind of checking behavior is normal. In contrast, the anxiety disorder known a obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) features anxiety provoking thoughts that will not go away and/or urges to perform repetitive, ritualistic behaviors to prevent or producedeviantsome future (atypical) situation. 3 personally distressful (long period of time)

criteria

maladaptive (function); (danger)


Researchers suggest that students who are aware of the value and usefulness of metacognitive activities in problem solving are usually more willing to engage in these activities in future learning. (Brown & Campione, 1996; Coleman, Brown, & Rivkin, 1997; King, 1992; Zimmerman, 1998).


Transfer - Application Problem You are a psychologist. Sue’s mother has referred her to you because she is worried that Sue has an eating disorder. Sue is to be married in two months. She is eating as little as she can because she wants to fit into her wedding dress. With this information, does she have a psychological disorder or an eating disorder based on the criteria for abnormal behavior, which would make it a mental illness affecting her behavior? What questions would you ask Sue to refine whether she has an eating disorder or not. deviant (atypical) personally distressful (long period of time)

3 criteria

maladaptive (function); (danger)


p. 148 model

An Anxiety Disorder Panic Disorder Example: Modeling and Class Dialogue Ongoing reflection • What

do I already know? • Where is this going? • How does everything relate to the conceptual framework for psychological disorders.


Fixed Time Intervals for Re-exposing and Elaborating 1.As the reader identifies what is important while reading, stop, re-expose yourself to the information and elaborate on the it (have an internal dialogue, what do you already know about what you are reading, write about it (take notes in your own words), explain it to yourself out loud. 2.When you have read a new topic or paragraph, explain to yourself what you have just read; this is re-exposure to the information. Note: This time interval and the remaining time intervals take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen newly grown dendrites. •When you finish studying, take a few minutes to re-expose yourself to the information and elaborate. 2.KEY: Within 90 minutes to 2 hours, re-expose yourself to the information and elaborate. •Review again the next day as soon as you can.


Develop the Observer - Reflection is the Key Focus is power. The act of paying attention creates chemical and physical changes in the brain. •

The mental act of focusing attention stabilizes the associated brain circuits.

The brain changes as a function of where an individual puts his or her attention. The power is in the focus.

Concentrating attention on your mental experience, whether a thought, an insight, a picture in your mind’s eye, or a fear, maintains the brain state arising in association with that experience. Over time, paying enough attention to any specific brain connection keeps the relevant circuitry open and dynamically alive. These circuits can then eventually become not just chemical links but stable, physical changes in the brain’s structure.


Attention Although experience molds the brain, it molds only an attending brain. Passive, unattended, or little-attended exercises are of limited value for “driving� neuroplasticity. Plastic changes in brain representations are generated only when behaviors are specifically attended. And therein lies the key. Physical changes in the brain depend for their creation on a mental state in the mind - the state called attention. Paying attention matters. It matters for the dynamic structure of the very circuits of the brain and for the brain’s ability to remake itself.


“A key finding •

organizing information into a conceptual framework allows for greater “transfer”;

that is, it allows the student to apply what was learned in new situations

and to learn related information more quickly.” (Bransford)


Reflection: The Big Three Questions of Internal Dialogue Whether getting an overview of the chapter or reading the chapter, the reader should always have three question they are asking: 1. {What Do I Know} What do I already know? (Dendrites of Prior Knowledge) 2. {Are There Explanations or Examples} Are there explanations or examples in the book? (Connection to Dendrites of Prior Knowledge) 3. {Prediction} Can I predict where this is going? (Anticipate what is next) 4. {Conceptual framework} How does this relate to the big picture?


“Resist substituting strategies for thinking.” (Bransford) Example: Surveying a textbook chapter before reading it: Shallow Strategy – Surveying as a Substitute for Thinking (no internal dialogue is asked of the learner): • • • • • •

Read the title Read the introduction Reading the headings and subheadings Look at pictures charts and graphs, Read summary Read questions at end of chapter

And I would add: Resist substituting isolated skills for thinking.


Understanding facts, ideas, concepts in the context of a conceptual framework. What is the Conceptual Framework of your subject domain? What is your course studying?

Examples: Sociology: the study of human groups and their social interaction. Psychology: the study of how the mind or brain affects behavior. Business: the study of how to earn a profit by satisfying customer needs.


Understanding facts, ideas, concepts in the context of a conceptual framework. Concepts and Conceptual Frameworks Always, how do the new chapters, topics, concepts relate to the conceptual framework of the subject domain? The goal is to always relate to and build onto the overarching conceptual framework.


What do you want the student to take away from your course? Go for depth! Goal: learning to think like an expert in your subject.


The following is a list of some of the more common mistakes that teachers make: • • • • • • •

• • •

Asking too may tribal and irrelevant questions. Asking a question and answering it yourself. Simplifying the question when students don’t immediately respond. Asking questions of only the most able or likable students. Asking several questions at once. Asking only closed questions that allow one right/wrong possible answer. Asking ‘guess what is in my head’ questions, where you know the answer you want to hear and you ignore or reject answers that are different. Judging every student response withe ‘well done’. ‘Well done’ can discourage alternative ideas being offered. Not giving students time to think or discuss before responding. Ignoring incorrect answers and moving on. http://www.primas-project.eu/servlet/supportBinaryFiles?referenceId=2&supportId=1362


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