Co-Requisite Reading Co-Requisite Reading Support Reading/ Learning Center Tutoring Early Alert DAN KESTERSON
Co-Requisite Content Course Refer to Reading/Learning Center if
(required support) co-requisite course learner needs extra help with co-requisite reading metacognitive mental processes (above) or need help (extra time on task) with a given foundational skill such as vocabulary, charts, patterns of organization, text clues, etc. beyond what can be provided in the co-requisite reading course as they are encountered. Refer to Tutoring if learner has trouble constructing meaning because of lack of prior knowledge Refer to Early Alert (EARS) if personal problems are interfering with learning in the corequisite reading course.
C HAPTER 1
Co-Requisite Reading Approach A Metacognitive Approach to Conceptual Understanding Systematically Organizing Concepts in the Context of a Conceptual Framework Using Reflective Mental Processes that Encourages Transfer Learning Additional info: www.readinggateway.pbworks.com
S ECTION 1
Completion and Gateway Courses: First Things First The single most challenging issue facing community college administrators is how to increase significantly completion rates by developmental learners. This single step would have the most impact on community community revenues and community economic potential. Success for developmental reading students is defined as successfully completing a gateway content course in a program of study or meta-major course. Completion and Gateway Courses Completion of a set of gateway courses for a program of study is a critical measure of success toward college completion. Too few complete gateway courses. Having survived the remediation gauntlet, not even a quarter of remedial community college students ultimately complete college-level gateway courses. Researchers at the Community College Research Center at Columbia University have found that students who complete at least three required â€œgatewayâ€? courses in a program of study within a year of enrollment are twice as likely to earn certificates or degrees.
What Does This Mean? 1. Placement in Meta-Majors or Programs of Study This means that planning for developmental reading success has to begin well before reading instruction or support begins. The most important pre-instruction support is a plan for placing first time developmental readers in a program of study or a meta-major course. A meta-major is a set of broad content areas that students choose upon enrollment at a postsecondary institution. A meta-major includes a set of courses that meet academic requirements that are common across several disciplines and specific programs of study. 2. From Meta-Major to Programs of Study Those developmental learners who have not chosen a program of study need fully developed followup support to ensure enrollment and completion of meta-major courses and especially preplanned guidance students through initial academic requirements and into programs of study. FYE 105 needs to strengthen education and career planning for these students. The research at the Community College Research Center, Complete College America, and others inform us that the longer it takes to take gateway courses the less likely it is that the student will take the gateway course they need in a program of study. The research also informs us that students who complete three gateway courses are much more likely to complete. As a result of this research, a sift in support has been taking a turn toward early placement of learners in gateway courses in programs of study with extended time on task. Extended time on task can take many forms, which are co-requisite rather than prerequiste for the gateway course. Even more signifi2
cant is a shift toward extended time on task that "need not focus solely on skills that learners did not learn in the past, but instead on identifying and providing skills (mental processes) aimed at the future -the mental processes needed to succeed in an academic major" (Bettinger, Boatman, and Long, 2013). 3. Gateway Courses with Highest Completion Rates Identify those gateway content courses that are meta-major courses that have the highest completion rates. These have been identified already by AtD at Jefferson. Co-Requisite Reading Paired with Gateway Content Courses 4. Gateway Reading Options for Different Levels Identify gateway reading options that increase the likelihood of learner placement in gateway content courses during the first semester at all levels. Reading Options: Jefferson Community and Technical College The goal for reading is to enable developmental readers to successfully complete a minimum of one gateway content course in a program of study or a meta-major course in a program of study their first year. Place developmental reader in a gateway content course with support as soon as possible. RDG 30 1. Avoidance Models Interventions aimed at helping students avoid developmental education by shoring up their skills before they enroll in college Summer Reading Bridge Program Assessment Testing Preparation
Summer Bridge Program (3 month) for EES reading students (also could apply to lowest scoring nonEES students); if students are not successful (ready to take a co-requisite reading course/ gateway content course in ? months) they have the option of placement in an EES AOKY-like contextualized program of study as a pathway into postsecondary education. Note: At some point colleges must begin to offer viable pathways to credentials or graduation for our lowest scoring developmental students. The completion data for these students strongly suggest that alternative approaches to pathways to completion are needed. 2. Acceleration Models Interventions designed to accelerate studentsâ€™ progress through developmental education by shortening the timing or content of their developmental education courses. Co-Requisite (mainstreamed) courses, in which developmental education students are placed directly into college-level courses with additional support. Co-requisite Reading Course (3 hr) paired with a Gateway Content Course 4 or 5 Hour Gateway Content Course; extra hour or two is devoted to reading skill support for learning the content of gateway content course. Learning Communities (reading and gateway content course). 3. Contextualized Learning Model Programs that provide contextualized basic skills together with occupational or college-content coursework. Accelerated Opportunity Kentucky (AOKY) 3
Provide an AOKY-like program For EES students (also could apply to lowest scoring non-EES students) who are not successful with a summer bridge program, provide the option of AOKY-like contextualized learning in appropriate career or professional programs of study as a pathway into postsecondary education. 4. Student Supports Programs that enhance the supports for developmentallevel learners. Advising, Reading/Learning Center, Early-Alert, Supplemental Instruction, or Tutoring.
6. Identify Gateway Content Course Instructors Identify those gateway content instructors who would be willing to participate in the co-requisite model. 7. Build Block Schedules by Cohort Meta-majors Build a block schedule so that students take their classes in a consolidated morning, afternoon, evening, or weekend “block” schedule to help them balance school, work, and personal responsibilities. Students take 12 credits each semester, making them eligible for more financial aid and positioning them for graduation within three years. Cohorts by meta-majors. Issues to Consider UpFront:
RDG 185 The options above, as well as Co-requisite gateway content course and RDG 41 (1hr). 5. Align Reading Mental Processes with Gateway Reading Demands The content and cognitive strategies need to align with the reading demands of gateway content courses. Those cognitive skills have to be timely and relevant. There is no time for isolated units of skills instruction. Reading instruction has to catch up with the research on learning, as well as becoming more rigorous and challenging. The research on transfer learning has consistently found that college students are generally not successful in developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge, learning facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, or organizing knowledge in ways that are easily retrievable, which can be applied to new situations (problem-solving and decision making).
• Faculty load • Gateway faculty participation • Smaller campuses not having reading instructors (i.e. Bullitt) • Training for new models • Funding and Resources (new faculty, rooms, block scheduling • Content and developmental faculty professional development • Mainstreaming advising professional development • Early placement in programs of study or meta-majors in programs of study to make support relevant • Possible secondary assessment or a change in assessment and placement test
• Students whose COMPASS scores are within one domain of the next level can take the next level with support. • Faculty and staff grasping the idea that success in gateway content courses with reading support will replace sequences of developmental reading courses in most cases. • Students who are significantly underprepared for college-level academic work need accelerated routes into programs of study. • Students should enter a meta-major when they enroll in college and start a program of study in their first year in order to maximize their prospects of earning a college credential. • Redefining success for developmental readers as completion of a set of gateway courses for a program of study is a critical
measure of success toward college completion. Education:A Joint Statement by Charles A. Dana Center, Complete College America, Inc., Education Commission of the States, Jobs for the Future - December 2012
Principle 4. Additional academic support should be integrated with gateway college-level course content — as a co-requisite, not a pre-requisite. Principle 5. Students who are significantly underprepared for college-level academic work need accelerated routes into programs of study. Principle 6. Multiple measures should be used to provide guidance in the placement of students in gateway courses and programs of study. Principle 7. Students should enter a meta-major when they enroll in college and start a program of study in their first year, in order to maximize their prospects of earning a college degree. http://www.jff.org/sites/default/files/RemediationJointStatemen t-121312update.pdf
Principle 1. Completion of a set of gateway courses for a program of study is a critical measure of success toward college completion. Principle 2. The content in required gateway courses should align with a student’s academic program of study — particularly in math. Principle 3. Enrollment in a gateway college-level course should be the default placement for many more students. 5
S ECTION 2
Co-Requisite Reading Pilot: What Have We Learned During the fall of 2012, College Reading (RDG 185) was corequisitely paired with Introduction to Sociology (SOC 101) as a pilot. The pilot was organized following the Baltimore COmmunity College’s Accelerated Learning Project (ALP) logistics, except for reading instead of writing. The goal was to see if developmental readers could take and successfully complete sociology if provided co-requisite support (RDG 185). Eight students who tested into RDG 185 were counseled and advised about the pilot. Eight seats were reserved the developmental reading students in the SOC 101 class. The developmental reading students took SOC 101 along with nondevelopmental students. The developmental students would come to the co-requisite reading class directly following their sociology class. All eight students are passing both the reading and sociology class. What Did We Learn? • We learned that most RDG 185 learners do not have to wait a semester to begin taking gateway content courses in programs of study, which is one of the main reasons for their lack of progression toward completion. • We learned that students who test into RDG 185 can succeed in a gateway content course when given reading support.
• We have learned that by increasing rigor and expectation that the student will rise to the occasion if they see that the mental processes are relevant We learned that reading instruction must be timely and relevant to the content of the sociology reading assignments. Timeliness had a great impact and the boost in intrinsic motivation was a significant factor. • We learned that most likely co-requisite class size can be increased - recommending 12 learners. • We learned that there is no time for isolated units of reading skill instruction. There are additional skills that can become relevant in context, but are taught as they are encountered and are most relevant. • We learned to not take our eye off developing competence in sociology, that is, there is no time for extraneous reading goals which did not focus exclusively on the content of sociology. • We learned that immediate conversation following their sociology class in the reading class on how the reading assignment relates to the sociology class lecture and their sociology notes was very helpful. • We learned that always asking how every concept being introduced in their sociology text relates to a given human group and and how that affects social interaction (conceptual framework of sociology) was what held everything they learned together. • We learned that reflecting (having an internal conversation) about what was being learned has to be taught and practiced over and over until it becomes automatic. Reflection is the key mental process for deep learning. 6
• We learned that organizing reading instruction and mental processes around what is known about transfer learning generates the most gain in deep learning of transfer mental processes, which transfers into better success rates and are more relevant co-requisite reading in gateway content courses. • We learned that we never let a student miss a class if at all possible. • We learned that the co-requisite reading instructor does not have to know the content of the paired gateway content course. They do have to know how to apply the mental processes of transfer learning and be able to model those processes. Learning the content while modeling the mental processes provides great insight for the student. They discover that deep learning takes work and is complex; however, the metacognitive approach narrows the focus down to a hand-full of mental strategies that are all interconnected, thus reducing that complexity. • We learned that all students can learn and be successful with support. They all have ability is given the right conditions. • We believe that co-requisite reading RDG 30 and RDG 185 can produce better gateway content course success than present prerequisite reading courses. • We learned that co-requisite reading instruction needs to incorporate the latest information on learning. The old teaching/learning reading skills and strategies that substituted for thinking just lack depth and in some cases are counterproductive or are ends-in-themselves, going nowhere. • We learned that the co-requisite reading, content instructors, and support staff need ongoing professional development.
• The co-requisite instructors did not attend each others classes or work together in the pilot. The literature informs us that this is important. This becomes even more important for the reading and content instructor the first semester the co-requisite course is taught or taught in a new gateway content course. It will become imperative that time is allowed for collaboration between instructors. • With the possibility of moving toward coming to scale with corequisite reading instruction, it is recommended that both the reading and content instructor have a mentor their first corequisite semester. As more and more adjuncts are asked to participate in the co-requisite model, it will become necessary to have mentoring guidance up front. • We found that learners in the pilot had higher success rates than nondevelopmental stand-alone sociology students whether white or black/ethnic learners. Keep in mind the Co-requisite N was small.
Success rates over the last four fall semesters for black/ethnic learners for the college were significantly lower than white learners. While this was not found in the pilot, looking at AtD success rate data on black/ethnic learners indicates we can expect the need for low income and black/ethnic learners will need the additional support that follows (but first, collegewide data) BIO 112 - African American 36.41% ; White 61.66% BIO 137 - African American 47.87% ; White 62.56% PSY 110 - African American 34.54% ; White 63.65% 7
SOC 101 - African American 58.16% ; White 74.31% We learned that we need a Reading/Learning Center where the co-requisite learners could come who need extra help beyond class time. Implicit is the need for the Center faculty and staff have professional development on the mental processes being taught in the reading course. Recommendation: Required when needed. We need the additional support of the tutoring program where tutors are provided professional development on the mental processes these learners are trying to learn in the corequisite reading course so they can reinforce their mental processes. This will make for stronger tutors in non-corequisite courses also. This is especially important for those learners who lack foundational prior knowledge about some of the sociology concepts that cannot be adequately provided in the timeframe of the reading class. Recommendation: Required when needed.v We need Early Alert (EARS) on steroids. the co-requisite faculty members need to be on top of intervention and referral for any academic or personal problem. We almost lost two of the eight for personal problems they were coping with. Keeping in mind that these students are first-time freshmen, academic and personal problem referral and intervention support is essential if we want returning students. Advisor training and advising procedures need to be stronger with co-requisite placement.
We have learned that too often content faculty have misconceptions about developmental learners and will resist having learners in their classes. The “teacher expectancy effect” is a significant barrier to our learner’s success. Only a mandate by leadership will enable this model to go to scale. It would have to roll out along the lines of there will be no more sequences of developmental courses. Developmental reading students can sign up for gateway content courses if co-requisite reading instruction built into the instruction. There have been a number of successful pairings of developmental and gateway courses at Jefferson - learning communities, little-red-school house, and co-requisite, but none were picked up to continue beyond the pilot. Support for comprehensive plans for developmental students have never been supported supported at Jefferson. With the present budget, it is not expected that bold steps will be taken. However, performance funding, resent research on co-requisite instruction, and completion instruction, as well as some deep pocket foundations are beginning influence legislatures, the Council on Postsecondary Education and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s thinking. A focus grant writing and additional sources of funding are needed. Thinking ahead: EES Adaptable Possibilities if sequences of developmental courses become non-viable and co-requisite predominates
Summer Bridge Program (3 month) for EES reading students (also could apply to lowest scoring non-EES students); if students are not successful (ready to take co-requisite reading/ gateway content courses in 3 months) they have the option of placement in an EES AOK-like contextualized program of study as a career/professional pathway into postsecondary education. Learners who were successful would be placed in co-requisite reading/gateway content course in a program of study. Note: At some point colleges must begin to offer viable pathways to credentials or graduation for our lowest scoring developmental students. The completion data for these students strongly suggest that reasonable pathways to completion are needed for the weakest learners. Finding and Developing the Best Gateway Content Courses, Identifying Conceptual Framework for Instruction, PD for Co-Requisite Instructors ,and Additional Support
The success rates are as follows: 2012 Total Pass Rates by Pell Grant Recipients BIO 112 - 55.61% BIO 137 - 59.71% PSY 110 - 55.92% SOC 101 - 68.60% 2012 Pass Rates by Gender Were Not Significant 2012 Pass Rates by Age Were Not Significant However, Pass Rates By Race/Ethnicity Were Significant Across All the Identified the Gateway Content Courses BIO 112 - African American 36.41% ; White 61.66%
Criteria to Consider
BIO 137 - African American 47.87% ; White 62.56%
• The Gateway content course should be among the meta major courses in a broad range of programs of study or a gateway courses in a program of study.
PSY 110 - African American 34.54% ; White 63.65%
Jefferson IR AtD data has identified four gateway content courses in programs of study:
• Ideally the content of the gateway content course would have a moderate systematically organized cognitive load.
BIO 112, BIO 137, PSY 110, and SOC 101 • The gateway content course should be selected for among those courses that have the highest success rates.
SOC 101 - African American 58.16% ; White 74.31%
• Ideally the content of the gateway content course’s cognitive load typically would not outpace the learner’s prior knowledge when constructing meaning. When it does, the reading and content instructor would need to help build prior knowledge and 9
if additional help was needed then the learner would be required to tutoring where the tutors would be trained in the metacognitive approach to reading to learn and how to help the learner build prior knowledge.
Finding and Developing Co-Requisite Instructors Co-Requisite Instructors Collaborate and/or Attend Co-Requisite Partner’s Classes • Co-requisite courses usually have two instructors who—ideally— each integrate their instruction with that of the other instructor, though this integration does not always happen in practice. First generation co-requisite courses also tend to be organized for a consistent cohort of students who attend both classes to support shared learning and student engagement (Edgecombe, 2011; Tinto, 1998).
Too few complete gateway courses. Having survived the remediation gauntlet, not even a quarter of remedial community college students ultimately complete college-level gateway courses. Researchers at the Community College Research Center at Columbia University have found that 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. Co-Requisite Reading Paired with Gateway Content Courses Co-requisite reading opens the door to taking gateway content courses with reading support.
• Ideally co-requisite courses foster a single, coherent educational experience that promotes deeper, contextualized learning (Tinto, 1998). • The first-generation models vary in how content is sequenced and structured. Some versions redesign both classes so the content of the developmental class directly supports the content of the college course (Commander et al., 1996; Visher, Schneider, Wathington, & Collado, 2010).
Completion and Gateway Courses Completion of a set of gateway courses for a program of study is a critical measure of success toward college completion.
S ECTION 3
The Core of the Co-requisite Reading Pilot The Core The goal is to read to learn in ways that make the concepts learned useable, that is, transfer to new situations - decisionmaking, problem-solving, and application.. The core mental processes need to be taught as a whole from the first day. Following the teacher explanation and modeling, the students engage in roles that involve discussion and the practice of the strategies. The learner always needs to know what is happening in the brain with every process. Key to success is learning how to go about understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework through a set of mental processes that at their base requires reflection. Many of the learners have had years of practice trying to learn for shallow tests such multiple choice and therefore need constant reminders that such strategies result in shallow learning. The core mental processes are integrated in the process of reflection - stopping and mentally observing and having an internal dialogue with what is being read. The mental processes within reflection involve finding the relationship between factual knowledge, a conceptual framework, and the ability to organize knowledge in such a way that it can be retrieved and applied is the key. Deliberate practice with the content reading
assignments these processes more automatic. Additional strategies may be added as they are encountered. Reflection Metacognitive skills (reflection) empower students to learn independently, a necessary skill to lifelong learning (Bransford, et al, 2002,p. 18–19). Metacognitive practices (here those practices are reflective inquiry questions) increase students’ abilities to transfer or adapt their learning to new contexts and tasks (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, p. 12; Palincsar & Brown, 1984; Scardamalia et al., 1984; Schoenfeld, 1983, 1985, 1991). Internal Dialogue Questions (Refection) Can Drive All Cognitive Strategies Bransford enjoins us to resist substituting strategies for thinking. Learning strategies can be basically mindless unless the learner can step back and observe their thinking. Research is indicating the prefrontal cortex sits “above” our other working memory functions, monitoring our thinking and choosing how best to allocate resources (cognitivie strategies)” (Rock). “It gives us the space of mind in which we can consider various options and then choose the most appropriate ones” (Siegel). Mindful internal dialogue questions activate this executive function of providing space for directing thinking. We have learned about how the brain learns and are now learning about awareness of what the brain is actually doing moment by moment. “Knowledge of your brain is very helpful, but one also needs to be aware of what ones brain is doing at any moment for knowledge to be useful” (Rock). 11
The good news is that “Mindfullness is a habit, it’s something the more one does, the more likely one is to be in that mode with less and less effort” (Rock). That is why the whole reading course is learning and practicing how to become aware of what the brain is doing moment by moment using cognitive strategies driven by internal dialogue. “One of the best ways of having our director handy is practicing using your director regularly (internal dialogue questions). A number of studies now show that people who practice activating their director do change the structure of their brain. They thicken specific regions of the cortex involved in cognitive control ad switching attention.” (Rock). Example- Internal Dialogue Reflection: Am I stepping back and having an internal conversation about the new knowledge I am encountering? Am I asking the questions below? Why: As Zull (2002) notes, “Learning depends on experience, but it also requires reflection, developing abstractions, and the active testing of those abstractions” (p. 18). During the process of reflection, information is reconstructed and reassembled. When sensory input is processed and connected with what is already stored, biological changes occur in the brain. These increase the size of the neuronal connections, or as J. Valkenburg (2010) noted, the connections become larger and more complex, which results in a strengthening of the neuron communities. To retrieve information from memory and to reflect on it, a learner needs to reconstruct the various pieces of
information. Students still need to learn details, facts, and basic information, but this should lead to deeper thinking that requires associations and connections. Reflection helps to develop the associations, solidify them in memory, and thereby increase learning by enhancing the size of the neuronal communities. Active reflection requires a deeper and more conscious level of thinking than shallow learning, which is often adequate when students are being taught facts or basic information, as when engaged in preparation for standardized testing. Skimming or surface reading require only shallow thinking; enough to remember general ideas but not enough to effectively analyze the content. Each time a student pauses to reflect information is retrieved from memory and re-manipulated in Working Memory. This process not only results in a strengthening of what is stored but also supplements it as more connections are formed. An effective metacognitive strategy that can be easily combined with reflection is summarizing the material being learned. This requires a student to pause and to consciously consider what was read or heard. For example, when summarizing a section of a textbook, one needs to first read, then pause to think, identify the main concept or points, synthesize, and then summarize using one’s own words. This requires a deeper level of processing of information; rehearsing or reviewing it again via working 12
memory, synthesizing it, and then summarizing it. This metacognitive strategy involves far deeper thinking than a quick skim of the text or answering close ended questions. In a similar way, a class discussion or a pro vs. con debate will provide students with the opportunity to make associations of new material with what has already been learned and reflect upon it. The goal is to provide multiple opportunities for students to think independently and critically, using reflection as a routine strategy for learning. This helps them to become more aware of their processing of information and experience, organizing it into concepts, and later being able to transfer and adapt it to new situations. In doing so, neuronal communities continue to strengthen and develop, expanding the students knowledge base.” (Dzubak, 2012) Building on Organized and Structured Networks: A second key finding is the relationship between factual knowledge, a conceptual framework, and the ability to organize knowledge in such a way that it can be retrieved and applied. (Bransford, et al, 2002,p.16) Example- Internal Dialogue Reflection: Have I identified the conceptual framework (the big picture systematically organized concepts) into which this new knowledge fits? How is the new information related to the conceptual framework?
new knowledge must connect to, or build upon a framework of existing knowledge. Put simply, learning involves building mental models (schema) consisting of new and existing information. The richer the links between new and existing information, the deeper the knowledge and the more readily it can be retrieved and applied in new situations. Building rich links involves an interactive process of building, testing, and refining schema that organizes knowledge into conceptual frameworks. (Zull, 2001) New information and Prior Knowledge People use their existing knowledge to make sense of and learn new information. When people develop new knowledge, they build on and connect it to their previous knowledge or understandings. (Bransford, et al, 2002, p. 14–15) Example- Internal Dialogue Reflection: 1. What do I already know about what I am reading? (learning – constructing meaning - constructing meaning is an ongoing comparing/contrasting of new information with prior knowledge by the brain - with internal dialogue I am helping the process and making it conscious) 2. How is what I am reading reinforce or contradict what I already know (compare and contrast - constructing meaning is a comparing/contrasting of new information with prior knowledge)?
Why: “Within the brain, knowledge is organized and structured in networks of related concepts. Accordingly, 13
3. What do new concepts (terminology) introduced in textbooks have in common? (analyzing); Especially, what does new information have in common with the conceptual framework of the subject or chapter topic? 4. How are new concepts (terminology) introduced in the text different? (analyzing) 5. Are the new concepts (terminology) part of a larger concept (ex. folkways and mores are types of norms)? (classifying – inductive reasoning) 6. How are all the concepts in a reading related? ((mind mapping – systematically organizing – deductive reasoning - synthesizing) Why: New information being learned must interconnect with related prior knowledge of the learner. What are the mental processes for interconnecting new information to related prior knowledge while reading to learn in content courses? (dendrites) Learning is physical in the brain new structures called dendrites grow on brain cells when new learning occurs as a result the brain locating prior knowledge that is related to what is being learned. Internal dialogue questions such as , “What do I already know about what I am reading”? prime the brain for making these connections required for learning to occur. Prior Knowledge and Misconceptions a Barrier to New Learning
Clarify any misconceptions that might impede understanding (Bransford, et al, 2002, p. 14–15). Example- Internal Dialogue Reflection: Is this new idea different than what I had previously thought? Why: When one looks at what the brain does with new information and prior knowledge, it becomes apparent that the brain is always comparing new and prior knowledge. A metacognitive approach to reading to learn would take advantage of that fact. “When students encounter something new, they try to match it or compare it with something that is already in their memory. Schank puts it this way: "When you learn new things, as you are all the time, the new knowledge must perturb the system in order to find its place in memory in relation to what is already there. Does it amplify old knowledge, or contradict it? The mind needs to resolve these questions as new knowledge appears, getting reminded of what it already knows or believes each time some new experience occurs. This process of reminding and comparison is a critical part of learning.” (Bain, How We Learn). Think about what the following processes have in common: • Categorizing – commonality under a category title
• Classifying – defining boundaries – comparison/ contrast • Analyzing – separating wholes into parts by distinguishing boundaries • Synthesizing – combining new ideas into a complex whole • Prediction – matches between sensory input and prior knowledge • Figurative Language - comparison between two different things in order to highlight some point of similarity. (introduced as encountered) • Analogy - comparison of two or more objects • Metaphor – implied comparison between two unlike things (introduced as encountered) • Simile - comparison of two unlike things that are alike in one way (introduced as encountered) They all compare and contrast. Develop a Deep Foundation of Factual Knowledge For a student to develop “competence in an area of inquiry” he or she must have learned an extensive depth of factual knowledge. (Bransford, et al, 2002,p.16); students retain course knowledge better when they are tested repeatedly. They can test themselves repeatedly with these reflective questions.
Example- Internal Dialogue Reflection: Have I reexposed myself to this new factual knowledge with elaboration in ways that facilitate retrieval? Am I just memorizing facts or am I reflecting on how I could use this new information (reflecting on applicability)? Why: Unless the learner is re-exposed to new information being learned (not just comprehended), myelin (a fatty insulation on the axon) does not increase resulting in a failure to increase processing transmission for that information and retrieval is too slow to be useful What are the mental processes for increasing myelin production to increase the speed of transmission processing to related prior knowledge while reading to learn in content courses? (myelin) As we will see, working memory can only hold and manipulate a limited amount of unrelated information and future speed of transmission processing is therefore important. Every re-exposure with elaboration builds a new layer of myelin on the brain cell’s axon and the the speed of transmission related to that information can increase 300 times faster. Research has shown that forgetting can be dramatically reduced by occasionally revisiti n g o l d c o n c e p t s i n l a t e r t e s t s (Rohrer & Pashler, 2007) Repeated testing is better than re-study, or a lecturing again, even controlling for the 15
s a m e a m o u n t o f t i m e (Roediger & Karpicke, 2006) Organizing Facts and Ideas in the Context of a Framework Example- Internal Dialogue Reflection: Am I just memorizing this new information? How does it relate the other facts and ideas I am reading? Am I doing anything to organize this information? How is this new knowledge like or different than what I already know? Why: Working memory can only hold a few (4) unrelated items and only for a few seconds. However, if the prior knowledge the learner needs to bring to the new information to be learned has been well integrated into interrelated neural connections (neural networks), working memory can have access to unlimited related items in the present moment. What are the mental processes for ensuring that information is well organized and stored in the brain in interrelated patterns of neural networks while reading to learn in content courses? It is the organizing of information being learned in ways that facilitate retrieval and application that builds neural networks of interrelated information that the learner can access in working memory at any given time that allows greater transfer ability. Working memory can only hold and manipulate unrelated items for a short time; however, when it can hold large amounts of information that
was understood in the context of a conceptual framework and then well organized in the brain. Conceptual Framework: Co-requisite reading students will be taking a paired gateway content course. Content in these gateway content courses do not exist in a vacuum of isolated facts and ideas or even isolated units of organized concepts. Content is made up of related concepts; however, even related concepts need to be understood in the context of a conceptual framework if learning is to be deep enough that the content becomes useful in solving problems in new situations. Sociology needs to be understood in the context of human groups and their social interaction; psychology in the context of how the mind or brain affect behavior; psychological disorders in the context of abnormal behaviors; business in the context of earning a profit by producing products that meet customer needs. These big picture conceptual frameworks frame the focus of these disciplines. Prior knowledge is one of the strongest predictors of future learning. How well does a student’s prior knowledge fit with new learning? • Have a well-developed, accessible framework • Lack a relevant conceptual framework (no foundation) • Have an incomplete or inaccurate conceptual framework (partial or weak fit) 16
• Have a strong misconception (active conflict)
Addressing Learner’s Misconceptions About Reading to Learn Students need to recognize connections and relationships among facts and concepts, not just memorize pieces of information. (Bransford, et al, 2002,p.16) For many developmental readers, understanding their misconceptions about what constitutes reading to learn has to be addressed first and through out the semester. If the learner doesn’t grasp that the goal is to increase their abilities to transfer or adapt their learning to new contexts and tasks rather than memorizing facts that will be forgotten, then they will underestimate the benefit of the mental processes they will be be learning. “Those differences are further obscured and rendered unimportant when teachers use superficial measures (e.g. multiplechoice questions that test recall) to assess understanding. Why do students memorize isolated facts that they don’t really understand? Because, in many courses, that approach has rewarded them with good or at least decent grades. Until teachers stop relying on questions that can be answered with details plucked from short-term memory, there isn’t much chance that students will opt for the deep learning approaches.” (Weimer, 2012) Modeling as an Instructional Approach
Below are a couple of approaches that take advantage of modeling and learner discussion. “Bransford’s emphasis on having a community environment has been largely misinterpreted to mean that the more class participation, the better! Which in many cases leads to meaningless, and time-wasting activities, that could be simply stated by a professor. Bransford’s theories however, are not intended to simply make students talk, they are intended to help students to feel comfortable sharing with everyone in the classroom, both teachers, and peers. The goal is not so much the "talking," but the feeling of comfort, which fosters an environment of learning.” (ITLS 6310 Knowledgebase) Reciprocal Teaching (RT) Instruction initially involves teacher explanation and modeling of the strategies. Then together the teacher and students create a discussion about how, when and why these strategies should be used. Over time the teacher guides and supports the students in the application of the strategies and gradually passes over more responsibility to them with the students acting as the teacher as they develop the ability to perform the strategies on their own. (Kraayenoord) Transactional Strategies Instruction (TSI) Strategies are directly explained and modeled with classroom dialogue being used to develop strategy use. The students then practice the strategies under teacher guidance and eventually the students use the strategies independently. The transac17
tions occur between teachers and students, students and students, and students and texts. The studies reviewed here also indicated that teachers and students have specific roles in the instruction of strategies and that they engage in several essential practices. These roles and practices appear to be common to most of the programs and approaches. Specifically, the teacher provides explicit explanation, demonstrates the strategies, and provides reasons related to when, where, how, and why the strategies should be used. Following the teacher explanation and modeling, the students engage in roles that involve discussion and the practice of the strategies. (Kraayenoord)
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The Basics Preparing Learners for Reading to Learn in Gateway Content Courses: A Metacognitive Brain-Based Approach to Learning Introduction Co-requisite reading instruction focuses on developing conceptual understanding of the subject matter of the gateway content course with the goal of developing competence in an area of inquiry. Co-requisite reading for college students has a number of advantages that come from the need for reading instruction to be timely and relevant to the daily course content reading material and from the need to learn the content in ways that enhance the likelihood that the content learned in the gateway content course is useful - can be used for reasoning, planning, decision-making, problem-solving, critical thinking and application in new situations. In order to accomplish this goal of competence (not just mastery), but also usefulness, co-requisite reading instruction does not rely on teaching isolated reading skills - that is, set of skills that at some future point may perhaps be useful. Rather, co-requisite reading focuses on the mental processes for understanding the facts, ideas, and concepts in the context of a
conceptual framework. â€œContrary 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) A co-requisite reading student is taking a paired gateway content course that is a gateway course to a program of study. The goal of reading instruction is to help the learner use mental process to learn is not mere comprehension; mere comprehension that is not understood in the context of a conceptual framework is not that useful and is easily forgotten. The goal is for the learner to be able to develop conceptual understanding of the subject matter in which the conceptual framework is ever expanding as news concepts in the subject matter are encountered by the learner. THose concepts may come from a a number of sources such as the textbook, lecture notes, additional reading. This approach never treats the facts, ideas, concepts, examples, illustrations as items to be learned in isolation; they all have a place in the conceptual framework that is being ever expanded. Understanding the facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework is not enough. The mental processes for even this level of understanding is not enough. The facts and ideas must become a deep foundation of related information (knowledge). New facts and ideas (concepts) must have opportunity for re-exposure with elaboration if they are to consolidate in long term memory. Along with re-exposure with elaboration. organizing the knowledge facilitates retrieval and 19
application on the back end. On the back end (retrieval), this enables the learner to overcome the limitation of working memory when a task is encountered in which the subject matter is needed (chunked information is treated in working memory as one item, which can represent hundreds of related fact, ideas, or concepts., thereby freeing up working memory for manipulating the information in the context of the task - problem, etc. On the front end (learning), organizing chunking, understanding in the context of a conceptual framework expands working memory and also helps provide more to enter conscious awareness for manipulation when applying what has been learned to new situations.
• Reflection can be a form of re-exposure which helps consolidate information in long-term memory.
For the learner, the mental processes for achieving competence through the mental processes above involve what the learner does in conscious awareness. Working memory is whatever is in conscious awareness at any given moment and it is in that moment of conscious awareness that the learner applies the mental processes the they learn in the co-requisite reading courses and applied to the content of the gateway content course. in the con-requisite reading course.
• Reflection can be a form of elaboration as the learner engages in internal dialogue and elaboration more deeply accomplishes the mental processes above.
The key to deep learning is mental reflection. Reflecting on what is being learned in the context of a conceptual framework causes a number of very important physiological changes in the brain that contributes to deep learning: • Reflection can help the brain route new information to the prefrontal cortex - the seat of executive function - where it can be used in planning, problem-solving, decision-making, application in new situations.
• Reflection strengthens newly formed dendrites through reexposure thereby helping delay reabsorption in the brain (forgetting). • Reflection as a form of re-exposure increases the myelination of neural pathways that are being developed through organizing and understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework - this speeds up future transmission of the processing up to 300 times faster - essential for getting retained information to working memory before items are forgotten in working memory.
The role of reflection in the co-requisite reading course is why this reading approach is referred to a a metacognitive approach. It is becoming clearer that prerequisite course support for underprepared readers who need support for taking gateway content courses just is not working for a number of reasons, well beyond the fact that time is a major barrier to success in gateway content courses. In this brave new world most of us will eventually enter, both gateway content instructors and reading to learn instructors will be working together to encourage student success in developing conceptual understandings of the content of the gate20
way courses through the development of mental processes and habits of mind that foster developing competence in the subject matter. Why this focus on competence in an area of inquiry? Simply, competence refers to systematically organizing and developing relationships among the concepts in a discipline and that competence is the key to being able to use that being learned in new situations and making related learning easier. In this paper, several interrelated factors affecting developing competence, as well as increasing learner completion (certificates and graduation) will be discussed.
planning, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, problem solving, managing time and space, and initiation and monitoring of actions. The intermediate needs for a learner to accomplish this goal have been identified by John Bransford and colleagues: - 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
This paper, and example of the mental processing being discussed and thoughts on setting up a co-requisite courses go to www.readinggateway.pbworks.com
To Deeply Understand the Connection Between the Learner Needs Above (A MUST READ), read A Deep Understanding of Memory at
http://computerchalk.com/rote-learning-for-deep-understan ding DO NOT SKIP THIS READ
The overarching goal of support in gateway content courses is developing the learning strategies and habits of mind for becoming competent in an area of inquiry. Learners who have developed the mental processes for becoming competent in an area of inquiry have two critical advantages. First, they can bring what they have learned to new situations (executive function) and they can also learn related content and skills easier. Specifically, the goal of reading support for gateway content courses is learning the cognitive processes needed to accomplish such tasks as thinking and reasoning with the conceptual understanding acquired in a content course, as well as
The Big Picture Think of what follows this way; at every moment of conscious awareness, we temporarily (20-30 sec.) hold and manipulate four unrelated pieces of information. Any distraction or additional unrelated information that enters awareness and the memory is lost forever. When we are trying to read to learn, we need to hold and manipulate that which is in conscious awareness. What is held in working memory can have its origin externally or internally. 21
When reading to learn, new information is entering awareness in working memory on an ongoing basis and the conceptual density is high. This is where the real work of reading to learn - manipulation of information - takes place. New information has to interconnect with prior knowledge if learning is to occur, but that is just the beginning if the learner is to develop competence with what they are learning. This is where John Bransford’s learner needs comes into play for if these needs are not met, then the brain is not preparing itself for executive function controlled by the brain’s prefrontal cortex, such as planning, reasoning, decision-making, problem-solving and application. The learner must develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge, understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework and organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. Working memory is a system for temporarily holding and manipulating information. The single most important process for developing competence is consciously reflecting on what is being learned (metacognition) if the new information is to make its way to the prefrontal cortex. If it doesn’t happen, it will not become part of the interconnected neural network of related information that the prefrontal cortex needs for connecting past experiences with the executive function task at hand. Ongoing reflection, an internal dialogue, helps move the new information to long-term memory that is rich in interrelationships. During this reflection, internal conversation, the learner needs to consciously focus on trying to understand how what is being learned relates to what the learner already
knows and bringing and relating the concepts preceding the reading within the moment, as well as predicting where the content is heading. Within this ongoing internal dialogue during reflection, learners must learn to re-expose themselves with elaboration if the new information is to consolidate in the brain for later use and the speed of transmission and processing is to dramatically increase. This re-exposure with elaboration is key to developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge. Memorized information just gets stored in isolation rather than in neural networks of related information and is quickly forgotten. One of the most powerful manipulations the brain can perform is to understand new facts and ideas (concepts) in the context of a conceptual framework. What is the big picture or big ideas under which all the interrelated new concepts are related. The learner must identify up front what that conceptual framework is or create one if the instructor does not. See example from psychology and a chapter of psychological disorders later. Within working memory, the brain must also be organizing knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. As we can see, working memory limitations and need to increase working memory capacity is great and the learner will need lots practice in order increase working memory capacity, which is basically what mental processes for achieving Bransford’s learner needs (again): - develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge 22
- understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework - organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application Support for gateway content courses can no longer dilly-dally around teaching isolated reading skills or unit of isolated skills or skills that are ends in themselves. Mental process for learning to read in gateway content courses have to become timely and relevant. This is the big picture for reading to learn for developing competence in an area of inquiry (content of gateway course). But there are dozens of other skills that learners reading to learn can engage in. Yes, but most of them will not be in any present moment be timely and relevant. Beyond that, the big picture mental processes for reading to learn in which the goal is competency takes a lot of practice before the mental processes become automatic and within a co-requisite model, practice is golden and time spent outside the core mental processes are taking time from these mental processes. What is the Role of Brain-Based Learning in Developing Competence? Executive Function “The prefrontal cortex is the seat of executive function. Executive function helps connect past experiences (deep foundation of factual knowledge) with present action (understanding
facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework) and synchronizes the activities of other cognitive processes to accomplish a task. Executive function is an umbrella term for compatible cognitive processes, such as planning, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, problem solving, managing time and space, and initiation and monitoring of actions.” (Hannah, 2013) It is possible to learn the content in gateway content courses without developing competence for using the concepts in the course. Content that is memorized outside the context of a conceptual framework is a stark example of learning that does not prepare the learner for being competent in the subject matter. Again, the overarching goal of support in gateway content courses is developing the learning strategies and habits of mind for becoming competent in an area of inquiry. What is the Key Mental Process for Developing Executive Function What is the key mental process while reading to learn for thinking about ones thinking (metacognition) that enables a learner to develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge that is organized in ways that facilitate retrieval and application? What is the key mental process for understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework? The answer is “reflection.” Reflection requires that the learner stop and step back mentally and reflect. Working memory has severe limitations; it only holds four unrelated items and only for 20-30 seconds. The first task of content learners is to use 23
reflective mental processes for learning content in ways that either increases working memory capacity or bypassing working memory all together. How does a learner increase working memory capacity or how would he or she bypass it altogether. That is the crux for developing competency in an area of inquiry. Information is quickly forgotten or not easily retrieved unless the learner engages in mental processes during reflection that overcomes the limitations of working memory. The heavy work of developing competence is within reflection in working memory. Increasing Working Memory Capacity or Bypassing it There are two ways to increase working memory capacity that relates to Bransford’s developing competency model. First, is organizing facts and ideas in ways that facilitate retrieval so that that knowledge is available in larger chunks that represent one item. in working memory storage, so that much more content can be manipulated. By doing so, the brain develops well connected neural networks that make available all the interconnected facts and ideas (concepts) to working memory, thus overcoming it limitation. “Organized, domain-specific, long-term memory knowledge structures (or schemas) allow people to overcome the limitations of working memory by "chunking" many elements of information into a single, higher-level element (see Chi, Glaser, & Rees, 1982; Larkin, McDermott, Simon, & Simon, 1980). By treating many elements of information as a single element in
working memory, long-term memory schematic knowledge structures may reduce working memory load.” Second, if the knowledge or skill becomes automatic, it can bypass working memory all together. “The vast knowledge and experience experts have allow them to automate much of their thinking within a domain, such that their performances become performances of scale – working memory is freed up to manage new, additional information because basic information processing has been refined and no longer takes time. Experts’ organized knowledge therefore functions to increase working memory capacity because it (a) permits working memory to operate on chunks of information instead of on single pieces of information, and (b) often bypasses working memory entirely for basic information-processing, freeing the single-channel system to operate on other newer and relevant information.” “From a cognitive load perspective, the major role of learning in cognitive functioning is acquisition and automation of schematic knowledge structures in long-term memory.” “Information is exceedingly efficient for experts because recall does not take place piecemeal. All the associated and relevant pieces of information come along with it in a chunk. Distilling these chunks of information allows experts to form highly complex representations of the problem situation, allowing them to integrate task information with background knowledge to select and evaluate courses of action” (Charness and Schultetus 1999; Ericsson 1996; Ericsson and Charness 1994; 24
Ericsson and Kintsch 1995; Ericsson and Smith 1991; Johnson 2003; Sternberg 1999).”
formation are processed at the same time (e.g., Baddeley, 1986; Miller, 1956).
This is true for content as well as for mental processes and habits of mind. “Another way to reduce working memory processing limitations is to practice the skills provided by schemas until they can operate under automatic rather than controlled processing (Kotovsky, Hayes, & Simon, 1985; Shiffrin & Schneider, 1977).”
Organized, long-term memory knowledge structures (or schemas) allow people to overcome the limitations of working memory by "chunking" many elements of information into a single, higher-level element (see Chi, Glaser, & Rees, 1982; Larkin, McDermott, Simon, & Simon, 1980). By treating many elements of information as a single element in working memory, long-term memory schematic knowledge structures may reduce working memory load.
“Human cognitive architecture is hierarchically organized: Individual bits or elements of information are combined into organized cognitive structures or schemata, and less complex schemata are combined to form more complex schemata. Schemata are stored in long-term memory and called into shortterm working memory when needed. These bigger chunks of information are treated as individual elements in working memory and therefore require less working memory capacity than the set of individual elements that comprise them (Pollock et al., 2002; Sweller, van Merrienboer, & Paas, 1998). With sufficient practice and memorization, schemata are processed automatically, further decreasing their demands on working memory and freeing up its capacity (Sweller et al., 1998)” (Jodi Goodman and James O’Brian). Jodi Goodman and James O’Brian summed up this line of thinking: “Processing limitations of human working memory are known to be a major factor influencing the effectiveness of instructional presentations. A limited working memory capacity could easily be overloaded if more than a few chunks of in-
Another way to reduce working memory processing limitations is to practice the skills provided by schemas until they can operate under automatic rather than controlled processing (Kotovsky, Hayes, & Simon, 1985; Shiffrin & Schneider, 1977)” (Slova Kalyuga and John Sweller). Nutshell Focus on the handful of mental processes and habits of mind during reflection in working memory that help develop competence in an area of inquiry when reading to learn and practice them until they become automatic. At first, this will reduce working load by enabling the learner to bring to the present moment large chucks of related information and as the conceptual framework practiced enough to strengthen dendrites and create a myelination throughout the neural network of information the mental processes and habits of mind become automatic 25
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2012 Pass Rates by Gender Were Not Significant
2012 Pass Rates by Age Were Not Significant
Finding and Developing the Best Gateway Content Courses, Identifying Conceptual Framework for Instruction, PD for Co-Requisite Instructors ,and Additional Support
However, Pass Rates By Race/Ethnicity Were Significant Across All the Identified the Gateway Content Courses BIO 112 - African American 36.41% ; White 61.66%
Criteria to Consider
BIO 137 - African American 47.87% ; White 62.56%
• The Gateway content course should be among the meta major courses in a broad range of programs of study or a gateway courses in a program of study.
PSY 110 - African American 34.54% ; White 63.65% SOC 101 - African American 58.16% ; White 74.31%
BIO 112, BIO 137, PSY 110, and SOC 101
Simple Interpretation: Sociology significantly offers the criteria that a co-requisite reading/gateway content course across race/ethnicity. Targeted support for is needed for learners across race/ethnicity
• The gateway content course should be selected for among those courses that have the highest success rates.
• Ideally the content of the gateway content course would have a moderate systematically organized cognitive load.
The success rates are as follows:
• Ideally the content of the gateway content course’s cognitive load typically would not outpace the learner’s prior knowledge when constructing meaning. When it does, the reading and content instructor would need to help build prior knowledge and if additional help was needed then the learner would be required to tutoring where the tutors would be trained in the metacognitive approach to reading to learn and how to help the learner build prior knowledge.
Jefferson IR AtD data has identified four gateway content courses in programs of study:
2012 Total Pass Rates by Pell Grant Recipients BIO 112 - 55.61% BIO 137 - 59.71% PSY 110 - 55.92% SOC 101 - 68.60%
Finding and Developing Co-Requisite Instructors • Co-Requisite Instructors Collaborate and/or Attend CoRequisite Partner’s Classes • Co-requisite courses usually have two instructors who—ideally— each integrate their instruction with that of the other instructor, though this integration does not always happen in practice. First generation co-requisite courses also tend to be organized for a consistent cohort of students who attend both classes to support shared learning and student engagement (Edgecombe, 2011; Tinto, 1998). • Ideally co-requisite courses foster a single, coherent educational experience that promotes deeper, contextualized learning (Tinto, 1998). • The first-generation models vary in how content is sequenced and structured. Some versions redesign both classes so the content of the developmental class directly supports the content of the college course (Commander et al., 1996; Visher, Schneider, Wathington, & Collado, 2010).
Co-Requisite Reading: A Metacognitive Approach to Conceptual Understanding: Systematically organizing concepts in the context of a conceptual framework using reflective mental processes that encourages transfer learning Co-Requisite Courses Ideally the learner comprehends and only needs deliberate practice with the following needs: • Co-Requisite Instructors Participate in Each Others CoRequisite Courses
(Learners will come to the reading class with a gateway content course reading assignment.) • Focus on timely and relevant metacognitive processes that support transfer learning of the content in the gateway course. • understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, • develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge, • organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application.
Co-Requisite Instructors Participate in Co-Requisite Support Referral Refer to Reading/Learning Center if (required support) co-requisite course learner needs extra help with co-requisite reading metacognitive mental processes (above) or need help (extra time on task) with a given foundational skill such as vocabulary, charts, patterns of organization, text clues, etc. beyond what can be provided in the co-requisite reading course as they are encountered. Many of the foundational reading skills we often taught as isolated units of instruction; in this model those skills are only taught as the need is encountered and ideally support for deeper understanding is established. Refer to Tutoring if the learner is having trouble learning concepts because they lack the prior knowledge for constructing meaning and need extra time on task to understand a specific concept(s). (tutors trained to understand the metacognitive mental processes above so that they can support metacognitve processes (above) along with the skills they learn through certification as they deal with concepts learners are having difficulty. Some students will come to the reading support class with their content course reading assignments and de-
pending on the topic and the learner, will lack the prior knowledge to construct meaning and tutoring support needs to be built into the support as these learners need help beyond the time available in class. This is where we lose students if additional support is not provided. Refer to Early Alert (EARS) if personal problems are interfering with learning in the co-requisite reading course. Life is full of challenges and timely support needs to be established where college and community support is available. Early Alert Referral System (EARS) i 1. Attendance, Participation, and Homework (taking self-responsibility for learning) 2. Academic Problems (learning problems, underprepardness) 3. NonAcademic Problems (daycare, transportation, financial aid, personal problems, etc.) 4. Disruptive Behavior (is student behavior in a classroom or other learning environment which disrupts the educational process.) 5. Mental Stress (depression, alcohol and drug, suicide, etc.) 28
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Layers of Reading Support Ideally the learner comprehends and only needs deliberate practice with the following needs: Co-Requisite Reading Course/Support • (Learners will come to class with a gateway content course reading assignment.) Focus on timely and relevant metacognitive processes that support transfer learning of the content in the gateway course. • understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, • develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge, • organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. Refer to Reading/Learning Center if • (required support) co-requisite course learner needs extra help with co-requisite reading metacognitive mental processes (above) or need help (extra time on task) with a
given foundational skill such as vocabulary, charts, patterns of organization, text clues, etc. beyond what can be provided in the co-requisite reading course as they are encountered. Many of the foundational reading skills we often taught as isolated units of instruction; in this model those skills are only taught as the need is encountered and ideally support for deeper understanding is established. Refer to Tutoring if • the learner is having trouble learning concepts because they lack the prior knowledge for constructing meaning and need extra time on task to understand a specific concept(s). (tutors trained to understand the metacognitive mental processes above so that they can support metacognitve processes (above) along with the skills they learn through certification as they deal with concepts learners are having difficulty. Some students will come to the reading support class with their content course reading assignments and depending on the topic and the learner, will lack the prior knowledge to construct meaning and tutoring support needs to be built into the support as these learners need help beyond the time available in class. This is where we lose students if additional support is not provided.
Refer to Early Alert (EARS) if â€˘ personal problems are interfering with learning in the corequisite reading course. Life is full of challenges and timely support needs to be established where college and community support is available. Early Alert Referral System (EARS) 1. Attendance, Participation, and Homework (taking self-responsibility for learning) 2. Academic Problems (learning problems, underprepardness) 3. NonAcademic Problems (daycare, transportation, financial aid, personal problems, etc.) 4. Disruptive Behavior (is student behavior in a classroom or other learning environment which disrupts the educational process.) 5. Mental Stress (depression, alcohol and drug, suicide, etc.)
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The Core of the Metacognitive Approach to Transfer Learning - Reflective and Predictive Self-Testing The Core of the Metacognitive Approach to Transfer Learning - Reflective and Predictive Self-Testing Present reading instruction makes little use of the research on developing competence in an area of inquiry or research on learning across context and over time. Actual ongoing reflective metacognition instruction is the most neglected area of reading instruction in college reading courses. Why is developing competence important? Developing competence in an area of inquiry and being able to learn across context and time are essential for being able to apply what is learned in new context. The following metacognitive approach to transfer learning is dependent on reflective self-testing in the context of developing competence content. In order to develop competence in an area of inquiry, the learner need to understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application (Brannsford, 2001)
The core, the key is metacognitive reflective selftesting that fosters developing competence. “Over the past few decades there have been multiple studies showing the effectiveness of the self-regulated learning strategies approach using a variety of methodologies (e.g., thinkaloud protocols, diaries, observation). In one recent large review John Dunlosky and colleagues evaluated the relative utility of ten learning strategies. While some of the learning strategies (e.g., highlighting, rereading) were found to have low utility in benefitting learning outcomes, the following strategies were assessed as having moderate to high utility: practice testing (high), distributed practice (high), elaborative interrogation (medium), self-explanation (medium), and interleaved practice (medium). Practice testing had the most evidence supporting its benefits for learning across context and over time.” (Kaufman, 2013) Transfer is the goal and metacognition is the means. Metacognition involves monitoring processes and controlling thought. Reflection - re-exposure with elaboration in which new concepts are understood in the context of a conceptual framework is key to deep and useful learning. The following reflective metacognitive processes have to be learned and applied if the learner is going to learn in a way that ensures that the concepts being learned to become useful (can be used to solve problem, make decisions, applied in new situations, etc.) and make learning related concepts easier. “Don’t substitute strategies for thinking” (Bransford) 31
Predicting: â€œMaking predictions is a strategy in which readers use information from a text (including titles, headings, pictures, and diagrams) and their own personal experiences to anticipate what they are about to read (or what comes next). A reader involved in making predictions is focused on the text at hand, constantly thinking ahead and also refining, revising, and verifying his or her predictions. This strategy also helps students make connections between their prior knowledge and the textâ€? (Fries-Gaither, 2011). Prediction piques our interest and is the foundation of curiosity, which is so often missing in developmental readers. Curiosity has to be developed and predicting and wanting to know whether the prediction is on target is the beginning of intrinsic motivation. Most developmental reading approaches do not foster intrinsic motivation. Reflective and predictive self-testing does.
Metacognitive Process: Apply a plan an reflect on it. Reflection is the key to learning that connects working memory and the prefrontal cortex where executive functions such as planning, decision-making, problem-solving, application in new situations, etc. take place in the brain. The following is an example of the metacognitive approach to transfer learning - reflective self-testing. It is understanding concepts in the context of a conceptual framework that is the foundation of creative thinking, critical thinking, and application in new situation; it is not the other way around.
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Reflective Predictive Self-Testing
The Core of the Metacognitive Approach to Transfer Learning - Reflective Self-Testing The following are ongoing mental processes that are recursive and spiral. They represent a complete cycle with the introduction of new concepts whether a new area of inquiry or a new topic with related concepts within the area of inquiry. Modeling of reflective and predictive mental processes are very effective with this approach. 1. Apply a plan: Identify or create a conceptual framework Reflect on it: Did the learner identify the interrelated concepts that make up the big picture or big question (conceptual framework)? Did the learner understand the concepts and how they relate to one another? Example of Conceptual Framework: Psychological Disorders - mental illness that affects thinking, behavior, or social interaction. There are criteria that distinguish between normal and abnormal behavior. Those criteria are behaviors that are deviant (atypical), maladaptive (effect normal functioning or danger to others) and/or personally distressful over long period of time.
Example of Conceptual Framework: Business - the goal is to earn a profit by producing a product that meets customer needs Example of Conceptual Framework: Sociology: is about social interaction and human groups 2. Apply a Plan: Over-learn the concepts that make up the conceptual framework by repeated reflective re-exposure and elaboration (internal dialogue, writing, summarizing, etc.) Reflect on it: Can I retrieve the conceptual framework and the concepts making up the conceptual framework easily? Over-learning refers to having re-exposed onesself to the concepts that make us the conceptual framework to the point that The learner may want to mind map the conceptual framework and the related concepts that have been systematically organized to create the conceptual framework to the point of instant retrieval of the conceptual framework concepts when needed. Creating a mind map of the concepts that make up the conceptual framework requires that the concepts are understood and that the learner has reflected on the meaning of a given concept often enough to make recall of the concepts rapid before placing the concept on a mind map. As new concepts are added to the mind map, it is essential to reflect on how each new concept relates to all other concepts on the mind map. Also predict what the next ideas will be about that relate to what is bing learned.
Example of Over-learning a Conceptual Framework: In business the conceptual framework is - the goal is to earn a profit by producing a product that meets customer needs. The learner needs to have over-exposed themselves to the concept of profit often enough that every time the learner encounters the word business, the concept of earning a profit instantly pops up in the learner’s consciousness. The concept of profit will be encountered over and over in the business text and the learner needs to have access to the idea (conceptual framework that in order to earn a profit that a product must be produced that meets a customer’s need(s). Example of Over-learning a Conceptual Framework: In a chapter on psychological disorders, the criteria for knowing that a behavior is a psychological disorder will be dependent on knowing the criteria of abnormal behavior - deviant (atypical), maladaptive (effect normal functioning or danger to others) and/or personally distressful over long period of time. The conceptual framework must be over-learned, so that the brain makes a connection between the criteria for abnormal behavior and eh psychological disorder; otherwise, the psychological disorders will be learned shallowly and in ways that don’t make meaning in later encounters very deep.
3. Apply a plan: Understand the connection between concepts encountered during reading and the conceptual framework, as well as the concepts making up that conceptual framework. Reflect on it: Did I understand how the new concepts relate to the conceptual framework? One of the most powerful mental approaches to reflection is reflective inquiry,for examples: What do I already know about this concept? How does it fit in to the larger conceptual framework? Where do I think this line of concepts is going? How is this like or different than what I already know? Example of Relating New Concepts to the Conceptual Framework: The new concept - anxiety disorder. Everyone has anxiety; however, it becomes a psychological disorder when it meets one or more of the criteria for abnormal behavior. The concepts that make up the conceptual framework for psychological disorders are the criteria that distinguish normal from abnormal behavior - deviant, maladaptive, and/or personally distressful over a a long period of time. Did anxiety disorder meet one or more of the criteria for abnormal behavior? Can I 34
recall an example of an anxiety disorder (phobic disorder, panic disorder, etc.) and explain how it relates to the concepts (criteria) in the conceptual framework? Example of Relating New Concepts to the Conceptual Framework: In business, the concepts of the people and their activities in a business is encountered. One of the people is the owner of the business and one of the ownerâ€™s activities is to provide the money or resources to start a business. The conceptual framework and the concepts making up the conceptual framework are - the goal of business is to earn a profit by producing a product that meets customer needs. Reflecting by the learner should be trying to see how the owner (people) providing money or resources (activity) to start a business relates to the conceptual framework. In this case, the owner providing money is about profit. What do you predict will be encountered in further reading tht related to making a profit by producing products that meet customer needs. Example of Relating New Concepts to the Conceptual Framework: The learner will encounter the new concept of social inequality in different groups (rich and poor) in sociology. Social interaction is a concept in the conceptual framework in sociology. The reader needs to reflect about how
being poor may affect the social interaction with the rich. 4. Apply a plan: If the learner can explain how a given new concept encountered when reading relates to the concepts in the conceptual framework, then the learner needs to strengthen the dendrites and build additional myelin in the neural network for that explanation. Note: Re-exposure with elaboration builds insulation on the neural pathway by layering fat (insulation for electrical signals) that speeds transmission of processing, while strengthening the dendrites of new learning. Reflect on it: Reflect (say in own words, write about relationship of concepts to concepts making up the conceptual framework, discuss with others, have internal dialogue. etc.) Example of Reflective Re-Exposure with Elaboration: Reflective mental conversation with self - A panic disorder is a psychological disorder only when it meets one or more of the criteria of abnormal behavior. When panic keeps one from functioning effectively (criteria) or is over a long period of time (criteria), then panic is a psychological disorder. Example of Reflective Re-Exposure with Elaboration:: Reflectively reducing the relationship between social inequality and social inequality to key words when annotating or creating a mind map strengthens dendrites (physical learning) and myelination.Example of Reflec35
tive Re-Exposure with Elaboration:: Summarizing the relationship between the new concept of marketing and meeting customers needs (a concept in the conceptual framework for the goal of business) is a powerful reexposure with elaboration that helps the learner clarify and organize what they are learning. 5. Apply a plan: Reflection should occurs not only as new concepts are encountered while reading, but also at very specific intervals. Remember, re-exposure with elaboration is key to consolidating new learning in the brain. The more the learner reflects, the stronger the learning (resistance to forgetting) and the faster the speed of processing transmission. Reflect on it: Reflect - re-exposure to new concepts and how those concepts relate to the conceptual framework. The most forgetting occurs within the first 24 hours overcome this phenomena by reflecting. Reflect when building the conceptual framework, when encountering new concepts, when finishing a paragraph, between each new heading and subheading, immediately after finishing a reading session and (very important) within 90 minutes to 2 hours of completing a reading session.
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Key Student Understandings Mental Processes for Reading to Learn Occur in Conscious Awareness
Working memory is a system in the brain for temporarily holding and manipulating what is in conscious awareness for a very short period of time (20-30 seconds). Working memory only holds four unrelated pieces of information for about 2030 seconds before new information comes in and what is in working memory is forgotten New information needs to be in working memory (conscious awareness) before it can be learned and the learner needs to have mental strategies for learning new information in ways that it will be available in working memory easily when needed to solve problems, make decisions, and even learning new related information. Holding processes for working memory seem to be subvocalization (Inner speech in memory).
The First Major Learner Need Newly learned information may be stored in different parts of the brain depending on what the learner mentally does with the information. Ideally, the learner will want to Executive Working Memory coordinates many diverse processes that culminate the integration of new information with an existing model.
Increasing Short-Term Memory Capacity and Duration: (1) There is evidence that short-term memory capacity and duration is increased if the words or digits are articulated aloud instead of being read sub-vocally (in the head). (2) "Chunking" of information can lead to an increase in the short-term memory capacity. Chunking is the organization of material into shorter meaningful groups to make them more manageable. Transfer of Information to Long-Term Memory: The transfer of information to long-term memory for more permanent storage can be facilitated or improved by (1) mental repetition of the information or, even more effectively, by 37
(2) giving it a meaning and associating it with other previously acquired knowledge. (3) Motivation is also a consideration, in that information relating to a subject of strong interest to a person, is more likely to be retained in long-term memory. Short-term memories can become long-term memory through the process of consolidation, involving rehearsal and meaningful association. http://www.human-memory.net/types_short.html
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Co-Requisite: Rigor and Challenge Rigor Transitional Education: A Focus on Rigor Whether upon graduation from high school or exiting transitional courses, “college readiness can be defined operationally as the level of preparation a student needs to enroll and succeed in a credit-bearing general education course at a postsecondary institution that offers a baccalaureate degree or transfer to a baccalaureate program” (Redefining College Readiness, Conley, 2007). In this paper the focus is on the rigor of college readiness upon exiting transitional reading courses; however, the concept of rigor as defined in this paper applies to all transitional courses, technical courses, and creditbearing general education courses. Improving quality and rigor of transitional courses into which students are placed is increasingly a part of the discussion in college success and completion circles. It is time for instruction to catch up with the research on human learning. The Higher Education Department has said it will look for ways to improve the quality and rigor of transitional courses into which students are placed. As the U.S. Education Department’s Cliff Adelman and others have shown, the rigor of one’s high school curriculum is a critical determinant of suc-
The Kentucky colleges are in one of the most exciting eras ever with a focus on learning, student success, transfer, and completion. Transitional education stands at the door of either incorporating evidenced-based research on how humans learn ensuring rigor in instruction or regressing to learning through convenient “drill n’ skill” of isolated skills, which fall short of preparing learners for deep learning or conceptual understanding. Conceptual Understanding And Deep Learning Conceptual understanding refers to an integrated and functional grasp of ideas. Deep learning involves evaluating new ideas, connecting those ideas to knowledge the reader already knows, and results in understanding and long-term retention of concepts so that the ideas are useful - problem solving in unfamiliar contexts. In contrast, surface learning is the unquestioning acceptance of information and memorization of facts without making any connections with prior knowledge. This most often does not result in long-term understanding or retention of the concepts being learned. (Deep and Surface Learning, 2009) Contrary to popular belief, John Bransford, 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) 39
Drilling Isolated Skills or Understanding Facts and Ideas on the Context of a Conceptual Framework
that in order to develop competence in an area of inquiry, the learner needs to:
Many reading instruction programs, among them computerbased reading programs emphasize learning isolated reading skills and then testing for those isolated reading skills and declaring success if the student can successfully use those isolated reading skills. For example, MyReadingLab, emphasizes learning isolated skills such as main idea, supporting detail, patterns of organization, inference, and purpose and tone. Many studies have found that the teaching of these isolated skills did little to foster transfer of learning. For examples, Complex processes appear to be more than the sum of heir parts, and skills do not seem to transfer automatically from one domain to another. Learning seems to take place best in the context of complex experiences and problem solving” (Starko. 2001); “Many critics have observed that instructional approaches to finding the main idea often involved sophisticated conventions that became ends in themselves and were too time consuming” (Carnegie, 2010).; and “For many years, reading comprehension instruction was based on a concept of reading as the application of a set of isolated skills such as finding main ideas, identifying cause and effect relationships, comparing and contrasting, and sequencing.” Durkin found that this type of instruction did little to help students learn how or when to use the skills, and these skills were not shown to enable comprehension” (Keys to Literacy).
• develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge, • understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and • organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. (Bransford) “Experts (those who have developed competence in their area of inquiry) have acquired a great deal of content knowledge that is organized in ways that reflect a deep understanding of their subject matter. We turn now to the question of how experts’ knowledge is organized and how this affects their abilities to understand and represent problems. Their knowledge is not simply a list of facts and formulas that are relevant to their domain; instead, their knowledge is organized around core concepts or “big ideas” that guide their thinking about their domains. Experts’ thinking seems to be organized around big ideas in in their discipline (area of inquiry), such as Newton’s second law and how it would apply, while novices tend to perceive problem solving in in the discipline as memorizing, recalling, and manipulating equations to get answers” (Bransford, 2001).
Competence in an area of inquiry is not developed by learning isolated skills. Resent research (Bransford, 2001) has found 40
Developing Rigor in the Content Courses (1. understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework) Whether you are a transitional reading to learn instructor or a content course instructor wanting to incorporate reading to learn across the discipline within your courses, the following discussion looks at the latest research on learning and how to ensure rigor of learning (depth of learning) in courses. Rigor in learning has many definitions. For example, "Rigor is the goal of helping students develop the capacity to understand content that is complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally or emotionally challenging” (Paulson, 2001). Rigor in this paper is referring to learning that results in the learner being able to transfer what they are learning in credit-bearing general education courses to new contexts and being able to learn related information easier. This is referred to as “developing competence in an area of inquiry” when referring to discipline specific learning. Rigorous learning refers to learning in a way that transfers what was learned to new situations as the result of the way learning occurred. The research on transfer learning has consistently found that college students are generally not successful in developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge, learning facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, or organizing knowledge in ways that are easily retrievable, which can be applied to new situations (problem-solving and decision making). “Educators and educational psychologists recognize transfer
of learning as perhaps the most significant issue in all fields of instruction. Transfer of learning cuts across all educational domains, curricula, and methods. Despite its importance, research and experience clearly show that significant transfer of learning in either the classroom or in everyday life seldom occurs” (Haskell). Resent research has found that there are cognitive strategies and habits of mind that result in higher levels of transfer in learning (rigor). This paper will focus on the foundation of those findings – “understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework”, “developing a deep foundation for factual knowledge” (Bransford, 2001). The paper will also introduce the findings on the role of mylenation in deliberate practice that make deep learning and developing competence in an area of inquiry possible (Coyle, 2009). and introduce the concept of “habits of mind” (Conley, 2009). Paraphrasing David Conley, developing rigor in a discipline content course would involve helping learners be aware that a given discipline content course consists of certain “big ideas” (theories and concepts) that are used in order to structure all of the detail that often overwhelms them and can help build mental scaffolds (conceptual frameworks) that lead to thinking like a scientist in the discipline content course. Short of this, learning becomes fragmented and isolated which interferes with transfer. (David Conley’s very well prepared paper for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – “Toward a More Comprehensive Conception of College Readiness” provides us with a snapshot of what rigorous learning would look like in a discipline course. 41
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/learning/Documents/Coll egeReadinessPaper.pdf And John Bransford’s work, “On Human Learning” provides an in depth look at the research on human learning and developing competence in learning. http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070368 What Conley and Bransford are saying is that regardless of the discipline under consideration, in order to meet the rigor to become competent in any area of inquiry, the learner (preparing for college readiness or taking a credit-bearing general education course or technical course) needs to and the course needs to demand rigor. To develop competence in an area of inquiry, the learner needs to: • develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge, • understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and • organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. (Bransford)
“A key finding in the learning and transfer literature is that 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” (John Bransford).
ferred to as backward design) the first step is to develop an overarching goal that transcends the course. If transfer learning (rigor) is not occurring there is no transcending the course – there is no applying what was learned in new contexts. The overarching goal that focuses on rigor, which transcends the course, would be “developing and using cognitive strategies and habits of mind that that enable the learners to develop competence in an area of inquiry,” that is, would enable the learner to transfer what they are learning to new situations. Learning Outcomes for Developing Rigor in Learning Building mental scaffolds (conceptual frameworks) that lead to thinking like a scientist in the discipline content course. (understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework) The learner will be able to • Identify the concepts making up the larger conceptual framework (the big picture, or mental scaffold) of the discipline content course textbook readings) • Systematically organize the concepts in a discipline content reading into a mental scaffold or conceptual framework. • Understand the facts and ideas in the discipline reading in the context of the conceptual framework.
When we look at the work of Wiggins and Tighe, “Understanding by Design”, on instructional design (re42
Structure the details of the discipline content reading within the larger conceptual framework to build a mental scaffold for thinking like a scientist in the disciplne. In “What the Best College Teachers Do” by Ken Bain, he tells about Donald Saari’s approach to teaching. “It is the big questions that intrigue and provoke virtually all students. The most effective teachers help students keep the larger questions of the course constantly at the forefront. Donald Saari, a mathematician from the University of California, invokes the principle of what he calls “WGAD” – “Who gives a damn?” At the beginning of his courses, he tells his students that they are free to ask him this question on any day during the course, at any moment in the class. He will stop and explain to his students why the material under consideration at the moment – however abstruse and minuscule a piece of the big picture it may be – is important, and how it relates to the larger questions and issues of the course.”
Developing Rigor in the Content Courses (2. developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge) Rigor in this context refers to teaching and learning strategies that take the learner beyond learning mere details. It refers to using strategies that move new information in working memory to richer interconnected patterns of “meaningful” knowledge in long-term memory where it can be used to solve problems in new contexts. Most college students forget most of what they learn in college; therefore they do not develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge. “The richer the links between new and existing information, the deeper the knowledge and the more readily it can be retrieved and applied in new situations.” “Within the brain, knowledge is organized and structured in networks of related concepts. Accordingly, new knowledge must connect to, or build upon a framework of existing knowledge. Put simply, learning involves building mental models (schema) consisting of new and existing information. The richer the links between new and existing information, the deeper the knowledge and the more readily it can be retrieved and applied in new situations. Building rich links involves an interactive process of building, testing, and refining schema that organizes knowledge into conceptual frameworks. (Zull, 2001) 43
Research in the learning sciences shows that people need rich bodies of connected knowledge as a foundation for thinking and new learning. (John Bransford) Learning Outcomes for Developing Rigor in in Learning (2. developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge) The learner will be able to • Apply re-exposure techniques for moving new information from working memory to long-term-memory. • Apply elaboration techniques for moving new information from working memory to long-term-memory. • Apply organizing techniques for moving new information from working memory to long-term-memory. • Re-expose memory strategies in time intervals that facilitate moving new information from working memory to long-termmemory.
Developing Rigor in the Content Courses (3. Rigor requires deliberate and intentional practiced behaviors) Again, those behaviors are skills and cognitive strategies that facilitate the development of competence in an area of inquiry: To develop competence in an area of inquiry, the learner needs to: • develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge, • understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and • organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. (Bransford)
The terms skills, cognitive strategies, and habits of mind indicate intentional and practiced behaviors that become a habitual way of working toward more thoughtful and intelligent action. (Costa & Kallick, 2000) Two Levels of Deliberate Practice 1. Rules of Consolidation: Moving New Information from Working-Memory to Long-Term Memory 2. Mylenation and Deliberate Practice: the Key to Developing Skills
1. Rules of Consolidation: Moving New Information from Working-Memory to Long-Term Memory The First Rule: Deliberately re-expose yourself to the information if you want to retrieve it later. It is a simple fact, the more exposure a learner has to new information they want to learn the greater the likelihood that the new information will move from short-term memory (working memory) to long-term memory. From the Research “The typical human brain can hold about 4 pieces of information for less than 30 seconds. If something does not happen in that short stretch of time, the information becomes lost. If you want to extend the 30 seconds to, say, a few minutes, or even an hour or two, you will need to consistently re-expose yourself to the information. This type of repetition is sometimes called maintenance rehearsal. We know that “maintenance rehearsal” is mostly good for keeping things in working memory – that is for short periods of time” (Medina, 2008). If the reader wants to hold on to the new information long enough for the brain to store and manipulate that information the reader needs to do something to give the working memory time to do its job. Deliberately re-expose yourself to the information if you want to retrieve it later is the first “rule of consolidation.” Highlighting the information in the textbook in or-
der to come back to learn it later is just simply a mistaken strategy for learning. It is an example of trying to hold the information outside the brain – the trick is to re-expose yourself to the information in order for your own brain to store and manipulate the information if you want to learn most effectively. The Second Rule: Deliberately re-expose yourself to the information more elaborately if you want the retrieval to be of higher quality. “More elaborately” means thinking, talking or writing about what was just read. Any mental activity in which the reader slows down and mentally tries to connect what they are reading to what they already know is elaboration. This means for the reader that he or she must slow down and have a conversation (reading, writing or talking) about what they are reading and wanting to learn in order for that information to be of a high quality. “High quality” means the information will be useable in the future for thinking reasoning or apply to new situations From the Research “We know that there is a better way to push information into long-term memory. That way is called “elaborative rehearsal” and it’s the type of repetition shown to be most effective for the most robust retrieval. A great deal of research shows that “thinking or talking” about an event immediately after it has occurred enhances memory for the event.” (Med45
ina, 2008). The same is true for the information you are reading in a textbook. The Third Rule: Deliberately re-expose yourself to the information more elaborately, and in fixed intervals, if you want the retrieval to be the most vivid it can be. Forgetting occurs very rapidly if something is not done to strengthen new dendrites (learning). Research show us that a learner (reader) must not only re-expose themselves to new information they want to learn, but hat they also must think or talk about that information if they want to remember the information. Research further shows that there are specific times for re-exposing ourselves to the information and elaborating on the information. We will go over the most important ones now: Fixed Time Intervals for Re-exposing and Elaborating • As the reader identifies what is important while reading, stop reexpose 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. • Note: This time interval is specifically for holding and expanding the time new information has in working memory, which gives you and your brain more time to manipulate the information before it can be forgotten.
• 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. • Within 90 minutes to 2 hours, re-expose yourself to the information and elaborate. • Review again the next day as soon as you can.
From the Research “When a reader reads nonstop, new information is subject to being confused with other information. “The probability of confusion is increased when content is delivered in unstoppable, unrepeated waves. This causes newly encoded information to reshape (interference) and wear away previously existing traces. Such interference does not occur if the information is delivered in deliberately spaced repetition cycles. (This is where the reader can take control of learning.) Repeated exposure to information in specifically timed intervals provides the most powerful way to fix memory into the brain. When the electrical representations of information to be learned are built up slowly over many repetitions, the neural 46
networks recruited for storage gradually remodel the overall representation and do not interfere with neural networks previously recruited to store similarly learned information. This idea suggests that continuous repetition cycles create experiences capable of adding to the knowledge base, rather then interfering with existing knowledge base” (Medina, 2008). 2. Mylenation and Deliberate Practice: the Key to Developing Skills Every human skill is created by chains of nerve fibers carrying a tiny electrical impulse – basically a signal traveling through a circuit. Myelin’s vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers in a fatty insulation the same way that rubber insulation wraps a copper wire, making the signal stronger and faster by preventing the electrical impulses from leaking out. When we fire our circuits in the right way our myelin responds by wrapping layers of insulation around the neural circuit, each new layer adding a bit more skill and speed. The thicker the myelin gets, the better it insulates, and the faster and more accurate our thoughts become. (Coyle, 2009) The question neurologist and educators have been asking is “why does it take so long for people to learn complex skills that result in application, decision-making, and problemsolving. The answer turns out to be both physiological and psychological. The physiological answer turns out to be myelination, the process of building a fatty insulation around neu-
rons. “The brain senses nerve firing and responds by wrapping more myelin (fat) around the brain cell that fires. The more the brain cell fires the more myelin wraps around it. The more myelin wraps around it, the faster the signals travel, increasing velocities up to one hundred times over signals sent through an uninsulated brain cells. It is at this point that providing instruction becomes interesting. Mere repetition is not the key for accelerated learning of skills; it is here that scientist have discovered a twist – struggle is not optional – it is neurologically required; we tend to try to reduce struggle in learning; we try to make learning smooth, especially at the point of “assessment for learning.” This does not produce optimal learning of skills. However, it is a combination of the following that accelerates deeper learning: “In order to get ones skill circuits to fire optimally, one must by definition fire the circuit suboptimally, one must make mistakes and pay attention to those mistakes; one must slowly teach their circuits. Myelination is the physiological manifestation of metacognition.” (Coyle, 2009) Deep practice is a strange concept as it takes what we normally try to avoid – namely mistakes – and turns them into skills Examples: Do I see how what I am learning fits within the larger conceptual framework; Am I applying some form of reexposure or elaboration to move new information to longterm memory; Am I organizing what I am understanding (seeing the relationships with all that I am learning), and am I re47
exposing myself to the information being learned often and in reached time intervals? Evaluate the gap between the target and the reach. Examples: (Metacognition is about monitoring progress toward the target (goal) and the use of strategies to achieve that goal). Internal dialogue questions that monitor that progress is important for evaluating the gap between the target and the reach. Such questions as, What is the larger conceptual framework I am working within?; What do I already know about my target?; How is the target like or different than what I already know?
According to Daniel Coyle, although time you put in consistently counts when it comes to building myelin, quality of time is even more important than quantity. It is practicing deeper that makes a big difference. If you are intensely focused, and you make mistakes but then correct them according to a certain standard, you are well on your way.
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Setting Up a Co-Requisite Support Program
2. Estimate how many of these students can avoid taking co-requisite support in each area using the following strategies: - a. extended preparation and practice for taking the placement test, - b. provide a secondary test to screen those who the standardized placement test misplaced (CCRC found 40-60 percent misplaced and could have passed content courses with a C or better),
Setting Up a Co-Requisite Support Program with Completion as a Goal (completion defined as earning a certificate or graduating) This is just another â€œSuppose Modelâ€? to stimulate thinking about the possible use of co-requisite models for extending or enhancing time-on-task (skills and habits of mind - increased rigor) in gateway courses in order to accelerate movement into and through gateway courses. Before setting up co-requisite developmental courses determine the following: 1. Determine how many learners assessed as having upper level developmental needs in reading, writing, and math.
- c with the elimination of late registration, create summer bridge programs in each area to help those learners who only need brush-up a chance to bypass co-requisite courses. 3. Determine the form of co-requisite support in each area. Note: Co-requisite support is not about having the learner learn every skills they did not learn in the past, but is about learning the skills and habits of mind the learner will need to succeed in the respective gateway content and skills courses. It is about supporting the skill needs of the content or skills of the gateway courses. Co-requisite skill support is also timely and relevant to the support of the co-requisite gateway courses. Co-requisite support is not about learning isolated skills or teaching units of skills that are not intimately relevant to the skills or content in the gateway course. (Consider Baltimoreâ€™s Accelerated Learning Project (APL) for writing as a good example of a successful co-requisite model. 49
4. Determine differentiated pathways. For example, Statway or Mathways for non-STEM students. For example, if the learner tests into upper developmental reading and writing, consider combing reading and writing as co-requisite support for the gateway writing course (ex. Baltimore’s ALP, but with combined reading and writing support). The skills and habits of mind for transfer learning in content gateway courses should also be differentiated pathways. Reading support should also be co-requisite for gateway content courses. The reading to learn goals of gateway content course and gateway writing courses have some overlap, but are not the same. Developmental readers need a solid foundation in transfer learning skills in content area reading for building competence in an area of inquiry. 5. Build a block schedule so that students take their classes in a consolidated morning, afternoon, evening, or weekend “block” schedule to help them balance school, work, and personal responsibilities. Students take 12 credits each semester, making them eligible for more financial aid and positioning them for graduation within three years. Cohorts by meta-majors. Note: (Meta-majors. A set of broad content areas that students choose upon enrollment at a postsecondary institution. A meta-major includes a set of courses that meet academic requirements that are common across several disciplines and specific programs of study. Enrollment and completion of meta-major courses guide students through initial academic
requirements and into programs of study.) (CUNY ASAP got 50% graduation rates with associate degrees and Tennessee Technical College got 75% graduation rates) -6 Professional Development: Advisors, orientation personnel, counselors, co-requisite content course instructors, co-requisite reading support instructors, tutors, Support Centers’ personnel, mentors, supplemental instruction leaders. 7. Provide evidence to gateway skills and content instructors showing that many learners are misplaced and that with support that learners assessed as developmental are successful with support. - 8. Establish metrics for evaluating the success of the program, such as successfully completing three gateway courses in one year. Additional Considerations if Completion is the Goal (considerations pulled from many promising models) - Small class size: (25 per class) - Career development services: (Career and employment specialists also meet with students and deliver workshops on interviewing, job skills, and career planning. Students who require employment are placed in an appropriate job situation to allow them to take a full-time course load. Advisors and career and employment specialists work together to provide all
students with support in transferring to a 4-year college and/ or entering the work force as they near graduation. - Intrusive advising: Advisors provide comprehensive academic, social, and interpersonal support and are considered one of the most valued elements of the Program by students and college leadership.) - Financial incentives include tuition waivers for financial aid eligible students:(Any gap between financial aid award and tuition and fees is waived so there is no cost of attendance for financial-aid eligible students) free use of textbooks. - Intrusive Advising: (Utilize an intrusive advisement model, with advisors meeting with assigned caseloads of students at least twice a month. Advisors provide comprehensive academic, social, and interpersonal support and are considered one of the most valued elements of the ASAP program by students and college leadership) - Tutoring: (Provide dedicated tutoring at all colleges. Tutors, who are qualified undergraduate or graduate students or faculty, provide general subject area support and conduct review sessions for remedial courses and challenging collegecredit courses such as statistics or chemistry. Tutor resources vary by campus based on enrollment. Students with developmental need or identified as struggling (by faculty or course outcomes) are mandated to attend tutoring.). Mentoring and supplemental instruction should considered.
Notes: Notes from What we have learned (Core Principles for Transforming Remedial Education: A Joint Statement) The current system of remedial education was built on a common sense premise that providing students more time to learn college-ready academic skills through a sequence of ever more demanding math and English courses would provide them the best opportunity to succeed in college. Unfortunately, there is growing evidence that the assumptions and associated practices underlying that approach are flawed. Instead, we have learned that long sequences of fragmented, reductive coursework are not an on-ramp to college for underprepared students, but a dead-end. Recent research is making clear that if our goal is for students to enter and move through programs of study that lead to completion of a credential, remedial education as it is currently practiced simply cannot get us there. The following conclusions are based on dramatic research findings that reveal the failings of the current system and make the case for fundamental reform.
There is limited evidence of overall effectiveness in remedial education.
Remedial education course sequences are a key factor in high student attrition. The assessment and placement process is too often an obstacle to college success. The academic focus of remedial education is too narrow and not aligned with what it takes to succeed in programs of study. Remedial education does not adequately provide the non-academic supports many students need. The longer it takes for students to select and begin a program of study, the less likely they are to complete a credential. CCA Definitions Developmental education. Required instruction and support for students who are assessed by their institution of choice as being academically underprepared for postsecondary education. The intent of remedial education is to educate students in the skills that are required to successfully complete gateway courses, and enter and complete a program of study. Gateway courses. The first college-level or foundation courses for a program of study. Gateway courses are for college credit and apply to the requirements of a degree.
Programs of study. A set of courses, learning experiences, and learning outcomes required for a postsecondary credential that are defined by academic departments within colleges and universities. Meta-majors. A set of broad content areas that students choose upon enrollment at a postsecondary institution. A meta-major includes a set of courses that meet academic requirements that are common across several disciplines and specific programs of study. Enrollment and completion of meta-major courses guide students through initial academic requirements and into programs of study. Co-Requisite. Co-requisite developmental education enrolls students in remedial and college-level courses in the same subject at the same time. Students receive targeted support to help boost their understanding and learning of the collegelevel course material. This strategy can work at both two- and four-year institutions, the latter of which The defining features of the co-requisite models are that they target students referred to the highest level of developmental course, students begin earning college credit right away, and transition points between courses are eliminated.
Transfer Learning. Transfer of learning or transfer of knowledge or transfer refers to learning in one context and applying it to another, i.e. the capacity to apply acquired knowledge and skills to new situations. 52
Developing Competence in an Area of Inquiry. The conceptual framework for the mental processes and habits of mind that learners need in order to develop competence in an area of inquiry are • developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge • understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework • organizing knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application.