CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE CO-REQUISITE INSTRUCTOR
Co-requisite Reading: Building a Conceptual Framework
DAN KESTERSON HTTP://ISSUU.COM/TDKEST1/DOCS/CONCEPTUALFRAMEWORKREADING
Toward Co-Requisite Instruction in Reading As reading programs move toward co-requisite instruction in reading, the learner will have to learn how to process deeper and more quickly. There will no longer be time for isolated units of instruction such as the main idea, making inferences, isolated vocabulary units, etc. Instruction will focus on developing conceptual understanding in which the learner will apply core-learning strategies for dealing with the content in reading selections they will encounter in their entry-level content course assignments. Comprehension will no longer be the main goal, but rather developing competence in the discipline of the entry-level course. The conceptual understanding approach places more emphasis on helping the learner reflect and think about their thinking as they read; thereby giving them more control over the learning process. Competence here means that the learner will be able 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. This is the foundation of all transfer learning (application) and making learning of future related concepts easier. The following is a quick overview example of a strategic approach for developing conceptual understanding. An introductory paragraph from an introduction to business textbook is used as the text for applying the strategies. The goal is to help the reader learn how to develop a conceptual framework upon which to continue to expand the inclusion of related concepts. It is very helpful if the learner has a brief understanding of how the brain works, especially, how learning occurs (growing dendrites and neural networks), how the neural pathways are strengthened (myelin sheath) and how working memory works. See “Accelerated Co-Requisite Reading to Learn” http://issuu.com/tdkest1/docs/mainstreaming and “Why Am I Doing This?” http://issuu.com/tdkest1/docs/whyamidoingthis
“A key finding in the learning and transfer literature is that organizing information into Moving 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…. Transfer is affected by the degree to which people learn with understanding rather than merely 1
memorize sets of facts or follow a fixed set of procedures; the research also shows clearly that “usable knowledge” is not the same as a mere list of disconnected facts. Learners often read for meaning, but too often do not read to make the content useful. To make what is read “meaningful” the reader must interconnect what is read with their prior knowledge; however, to make what is read “useful”, the reader must understand the information in the context of a conceptual framework” (Bransford, How People learn).
Table of Contents Chapter 1 - Build a Conceptual Framework - 4 Section 1 - Strategy Set 1 - 5 Section 2 - Strategy Set 2 - 8 Section 3 - Strategy Set 3 - 10 Section 4 - Strategy Set 4 - 12 Section 5 - Strategy Set 5 - 14 Section 6 - Expanding the Conceptual Framework - 16
Author’s Other Writings: Increasing Completion: Developmental Students http://issuu.com/tdkest1/docs/completion
Section 7 - Other Strategies to Consider -18 Ro read as an eBook online, got to: http://issuu.com/tdkest1/docs/conceptualframeworkreading
Accelerated Co-Requisite Reading to Learn Model (ACRLM) http://issuu.com/tdkest1/docs/mainstreaming Why am I Learning These Strategies? http://issuu.com/tdkest1/docs/whyamidoingthis
C HAPTER 1
Building a Conceptual Framework The purpose of this writing is provide reading instructors teaching co-requisite entry-level college courses with strategies and a rationale for helping readers build a conceptual framework within which to understand facts and ideas in the context of that conceptual framework when reading entry-level college content textbook reading assignments.
S ECTION 1
Strategy Set 1
Modeling Building a Conceptual Framework When a student reads for conceptual understanding, the student should seek out the larger conceptual framework of the reading content of the textbook or chapter to provide a neural network of future prior knowledge for understanding facts and ideas in the context of that conceptual framework. This is key to developing competence when reading in a discipline. It not only is essential for later transfer to new situations, but is essential for making later learning of related information easier. Typical highlighting strategies go something like this; By practicing highlighting (or underlining with a pen or pencil) students can identify and mark important information within a written passage.
Another way to focus your attention while reading expository anthropology texts is highlighting and summarizing or annotating or mind mapping. Highlighting (or underlining with a pen or pencil) helps readers to focus on the details presented in a chapter. In contrast, the Nosretsek Highlighting Technique does not exclude summarizing, annotating or mind mapping, but rather emphasizes the readers mental processes that will be necessary for understanding conceptually before using these other techniques. The Nosretsek Highlighting Technique focuses on the mental processes of learning between highlighting and summarizing, annotating, or mind mapping. In this writing, the focus is on developing a conceptual framework within which to later expand the concept of â€œthe goal of businessâ€? below in an introduction to business textbook. A conceptual framework is the systematically organized concepts that make up the purpose of the discipline. By developing a conceptual framework (what is the purpose of the reading or discipline text?) the reader is building a foundation of future prior knowledge within which to learning more deeply other related new information. The shift is from focusing on main ideas and facts to focusing on developing a conceptual understanding or the content of the discipline or subject in a course.
Strategy 1 – Constructing a Conceptual Framework of the Purpose Let’s use the first paragraph of the introductory chapter in a business textbook and walk through how the reader/learner could move beyond identifying and marking what is important to developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge, while understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework in which knowledge was being organize in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. Below (The Nature of Business) is the first paragraph; let’s take the first sentence, which is often highlighted by the reader because it has a word in bold print (a very important context clue); in this case business. However, because we are trying to build a strong conceptual framework within which to later learn new facts and ideas, the Nosretsek Technique focuses on the mental processes of constructing meaning, which is what the brain stores. The brain stores meaning not sentences. Instead of highlighting the sentence or the word “business”, the reader will highlight that which has the most meaning for understanding concept in bold print (Business). The Nature of Business “The goal of a business is to earn a profit by providing products that satisfy people’s needs.” As the reader reads the sentence, they should be looking for the words (in this case, the words that build (broadly define) the concept of “business”. Ex. “A business tries to earn a profit by providing products that satisfy people’s needs.” Here we
see that the goal of a business has three concepts that the whole rest of the business textbook will be expanding upon. Here is where the reader takes advantage of how the brain learns and neural pathways get strengthened so that signal transmission is faster thereby increasing speed of mental processing in a neural network for later retrieval of concepts being learned. The conceptual framework (neural network) we are trying to develop would look something like the mind map on page 5 below if we tried to express the conceptual framework visually. This is a broadly defined conceptual framework of business as it is made up of the core meanings of the purpose of business (make a profit, provide product(s), and satisfy needs). Everything the reader will later read in the introduction to business will further explain these meanings and further expand the conceptual framework for the purpose of business. That is what the reader should be reading for – adding new meanings that further expand the conceptual framework for business. This broad conceptual framework or big question is what a corequisite instruction reader would look of regardless of the entry-level discipline biology, sociology, psychology, anatomy and physiology, or business. Sociology would focus on social interaction in groups or by individuals in a group; psychology would focus on how the mind or brain affects behavior or thinking and even group interaction, and anatomy and physiology would focus on structure and ? of the human body. 6
Strategy 1.1 – Reflect/Re-expose with Elaboration Always: once the reader has identified the concept to be learned (usually in boldface) and has identified the key words
Strategy 1.2 Mind Map or Summarize or Both The brain organizes new information into organized patterns if it can recognize the pattern. Mind mapping is a very powerful visual graphic representation of broadly defined and systematically organized concepts. This helps the brain create neural networks of interconnected meanings.
Purpose(( Of( (Business(
fulness. This should be done every time a new concept has been discovered and the meanings highlighted (key words).
Strategy 1.3 – Summarize the Mind Map products(
Summarizing helps the brain clarify and organize the newly learned information. For example, a summary looks something line the following, which can be continued as the reading continues, “The goal of business is to make money called a profit by providing products (things to sell) that the buyer thinks they need, for example the next new style in clothes.”
with the most meaning, STOP and move the meanings more solidly into long-term memory by re-exposing oneself to the information by having an internal mental dialogue such as explaining the meanings in ones own words or thinking about what one knows about the meanings. This builds the myelin sheath thicker on the brain cell axon so that future speed of transmission is faster, thus facilitating later retrieval and use-
Writing again a quick summary after reading a selection in a chapter is a very good idea as it further reinforces learning and recall.
S ECTION 2
Strategy Set 2
business. As the reader reads further, they will discover that products can be either tangible or intangible, which adds to the meaning of products. Mentally and visually (or graphi-
Strategy 2 – Continue to develop the conceptual framework of Business oﬁ pr
Let’s read the second sentence in the reading selection under The Nature of Business and focus on how it expand one of the concepts making up the conceptual framework for the purpose of business. Refer to map 1 in the process of doing this for it is a mental construct for guiding thinking (metacognition) as the conceptual framework is being expanded.
Purpose(( Of( (Business(
The Nature of Business The goal of a business is to earn a profit by providing products that satisfy people’s needs. (2) The outcomes of its efforts are products that have both tangible and intangible characteristics that provide satisfaction and benefits. As the reader reads the second sentence, the reader should be asking himself or herself, “Is there new information that expands the conceptual framework or is this just a repeat of the concepts in the mind map?” As the second sentence is read, the reader discovers that products is in bold print and therefore, will probably expand that concept under the conceptual framework for the purpose of
cally) the reader can immediately see (Map 2 below) that tangible and intangible develop further the concept of products and that the new concepts of tangible and intangible that will extend the meaning of products. Strategy 2.1 – Repeat Strategies 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 Above •
Strategy 1.1 – Reflect/Re-expose with Elaboration
Strategy 1.2 Mind Map or Summarize or Both
Strategy 1.3 – Summarize the Mind Map 8
Strategy 2.2 -Build in the Following Internal Dialogue Questions 1. What do I already know?
2. Are there examples in the book and do I know any examples of the concept being considered? 3. How is what I am reading like or different than what I already know? 4. Can I predict where this is going?
Purpose(( Of( (Business(
products( tan gib l
5. How has the author organized the information in this reading selection and how does it relate to prior readings? Strategy 2.3 Mind Map or Summarize or Both Mind Mapping: As the reader continues to expand the conceptual framework with new related information, he or she will want to add it to their mind map. Rule: Never add additional information to the mind map without always mentally going over all concepts previously placed on the mind map. This is essential helping the brain develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge, understand the facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, as well as organize knowledge in ways that later facilitate retrieval and application. See Mind Map 2.
Summarizing: Summarizing helps the brain clarify and organize the newly learned information. For example, a summary looks something like the following, which can be continued as the reading continues. Always feel free to add examples from the reading selection or from ones own prior knowledge. “The goal of business is to make money called a profit by providing products (things to sell) that the buyer thinks they need. Products can be tangible and intangible.”
S ECTION 3
Strategy Set 3
see if it looks like the concepts will be further explained. In this case they are. Another strategy is to look at the glossary in the back of the chapter or textbook. In this case actually having stopped and looked up tangible in the dictionary would give the reader valuable clues with the definition that tangible means something that can be touched and intangible means something that can not be touched (capable of being touched; real or actual. (see Map 3 below)
Strategy 3 – New Concepts that are Undefined.
Strategy 3.1 Repeat Previous Strategies
When the reader encounters new concepts that expand any of the concepts in the conceptual framework (see the mind map (Map 2), they should ask themselves, “Has the author defined, given sufficient examples, or clearly explained the meaning of the new concept(s)?” If the author has, highlight the key words of the meaning of the concept or example or explanation. Notice that in sentence 2, the author only introduces the new concepts (tangible and intangible) without further explanation.
Taking the time to repeat previous strategies used during the learning to use these strategies builds neural networks and makes future processing on information faster buy building myelin on the myelin sheath. Remember: the goal is to deliberately practice these strategies until they are automatic and the reader does not have to use valuable working memory just to mentally perform the strategies. The valuable working memory can be devoted to storing and building new concepts in the conceptual framework.
The Nature of Business
Strategy 1.1 – Repeat Strategies 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3
The goal of a business is to earn a profit by providing products that satisfy people’s needs. (2) The outcomes of its efforts are products that have both tangible and intangible characteristics that provide satisfaction and benefits.
Strategy 1.1 and 2.2– Reflect/Re-expose with Elaboration
Strategy 1.2 and 2.3 - Mind Map or Summarize or Both
Strategy 1.3 – Summarize the Mind Map
At this point, the reader should ask themselves, if they already know the meaning, if not the should quickly scan the page to 10
Strategy 3.2 –Writing to Learn Writing in the “writing to learn strategy” is very informal. It is for the reader and not meant to be a form of communication. It is a form of summarizing in which the writer plays with clarifying (checking their own understanding) and playing with organizing the information. For example, “I am learning about the goal of business. So far there are three things powerful concepts that I will need to consider as I continue reading – the concept of profit, products, and satisfying needs. Profit is making money, Products I guess are what is made or provided for the buyer to buy and satisfying need is like needing to eat.” Remember: punctuation, spelling, grammar, etc. are not he focus of writing to learn activities. This is mental playtime.
$( proﬁt( needs(
Purpose(( Of( (Business(
products( tan gib touched( l
i n ta
Strategy 3.3 – Mind Map and/or Summarize with Visuals or Descriptive Language Pictures are worth a thousand (hundreds of thousands) as they provide such rich and vast interconnections to so many areas of the brain making retrieval and application easier. For example, a dollar sign ($) on the map beside profit creates rich interconnections with the reader’s prior knowledge. Summarizing with Descriptive Language Many students find the adding descriptive language to their summaries helps build richer neural networks that helps later retrieval and usefulness of the concepts they are learning. For example, take the “writing to learn” summary created above and add from ones own prior knowledge a description of the concept. Not examples in the following summary in boldface and parentheses: “I am learning about the goal of business (Ford Motor Company). So far there are three things powerful concepts that I will need to consider as I continue reading – the concept of profit (making lots of green dollars), products (Ford F-150 truck), and satisfying needs (haul furniture). Profit is making money, Products I guess are what is made or provided for the buyer to buy and satisfying need is like needing to eat, which satisfies a need (Ford Truck Dealership).”
S ECTION 4
Stretegy Set 4
Strategy 4 – Always Relate Back to the Conceptual Framework The reader should always be relating everything they are reading to the conceptual framework they have been constructing to determine if new terminology (concepts) is being introduced or further clarification is being presented. Let’s look at sentences 2, 3, and 4 in the business reading selection.
vehicle, to satisfy the need for transportation and the desire to present a certain image. In sentence 2, new information about products was presented (tangible and intangible). The new information also connected the concepts of products (tangible and intangible) with satisfying needs. In sentences 3 and 4, products and needs were pulled together under buying a product. See mind map 4. Note in mind map 4, the reader has added “touch” to the map branching off tangible. The reader had looked up ”tangible” to get a better idea of what the word meant, which was fortunate as the author did not. Dictionary: the word “tangible” means “can be touched or is real or actual.” Therefore, the reader added “touched” to the mind map branching off “tangible” and also drew an arrow from the concepts of “products” to the concept of meeting “needs” to represent the connection be-
The Nature of Business The goal of a business is to earn a profit by providing products that satisfy people’s needs. (2) The outcomes of its efforts are products that have both tangible and intangible characteristics that provide satisfaction and benefits. (3) When you purchase a product, you are buying the benefits and satisfaction you think the product will provide. (4) A Subway sandwich, for example, may be purchased to satisfy hunger; a Porsche Cayenne sport utility
Purpose(( Of( (Business(
products( tan gib touched( l
tween â€œproducts and satisfying needs.â€? This will be valuable later as the concept of intangible products is introduced. Keep in Mind: the reader never adds anything to the mind map without first having mentally reviewed (take seconds) all information already on the mind map.
S ECTION 5
Strategy Set 5 $( ﬁt( o pr
Strategy 5 – Incorporate Image Laden Examples into the Mind Map The Nature of Business A business tries to earn a profit by providing products that satisfy people’s needs. The outcomes of its efforts are products that have both tangible and intangible characteristics that provide satisfaction and benefits. When you purchase a product, you are buying the benefits and satisfaction you think the product will provide. A Subway sandwich, for example, may be purchased to satisfy hunger; a Porsche Cayenne sport utility vehicle, to satisfy the need for transportation and the desire to present a certain image. Because the last sentence of the paragraph provided examples of Subway sandwich, and buying a Porsche Cayenne, drawing a Subway sandwich or a Porsche beside “needs” on the mind map is another form of connecting what the reader knows to their prior knowledge making the connections in the brain richer.
Purpose(( Of( (Business(
products( tan gib touched( l
John Bransford, a gifted education researcher who edited the well-received How People Learn, one day asked a simple question: In a given academic discipline, what separates novices from experts? Bransford eventually discovered six characteristics, one of which is relevant to our discussion: “[Experts’] 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.
Whether you are a waiter or a brain scientist, if you want to get the particulars correct, in a hierarchical fashion, donâ€™t start with the details. Start with the key ideas and, in a hierarchical fashion, form the details around these larger notions.
S ECTION 6
The Nature of Business
Expanding the Conceptual Framework
(First Paragraph): A business tries to earn a profit by providing products that satisfy peopleâ€™s needs. The outcomes of its efforts are products that have both tangible and intangible characteristics that provide satisfaction and benefits. When you purchase a product, you are buying the benefits and satisfaction you think the product will provide. A Subway sandwich, for example, may be purchased to satisfy hunger; a Porsche Cayenne sport utility vehicle, to satisfy the need for transportation and the desire to present a certain image.
A Quick Little Exercise If you have followed the thinking above and can explain the goal of business by explaining the mind maps that were created, then give yourself a little practice by redrawing the mind map and then read the second paragraph in the introduction to business reading selection. Continue developing the mind map below reflecting the conceptual framework.
$( o pr
( ďŹ t
Purpose(( Of( (Business(
products( tan gib touched( l
Quick Start: In paragraph 2, start by identifying those concepts that further expand the meaning of the concepts making up the conceptual framework thus far, then highlight those meanings. (Second Paragraph): Most people associate the word product with tangible goods-an automobile, computer, loaf of bread, coat, or some other tangible item. However, a product can also be a service, which results when people or machines provide or process something of value to customers. Dry cleaning, photo processing, a checkup by doctor, a performance by a movie star or basketball player------these are examples of services. A product can also be an idea. Consultants and attorneys, for example, generate ideas for solving problems.
Extra Exercise Continue expanding the conceptual framework above with the following paragraphs from the introduction to business textbook: The Goal of Business
fund, maintain, and expand its operations. Other challenges for businesspeople include abiding by laws and government regulations; acting in an ethical and socially responsible manner; and adapting to economic, technological, and social changes. Even nonprofit organizations engage in management, marketing, and finance activities to help reach their goals.
The primary goal of all businesses is to earn a Profit, the difference between what it costs to make and sell a product and what a customer pays for it. If a company spends $2.00 to manufacture, finance, promote, and distribute a product that it sells for $2.75, the business earns a profit of 75 cents on each product sold. Businesses have the right to keep and use their profits as they choose----within legal limits----because profit is the reward for the risks they take in providing products. Not all organizations are businesses. Nonprofit organizations, such as Greenpeace, Special Olympics, and other charities and social causes, do not have the fundamental purpose of earning profits, although they may provide goods or services. To earn profit, a person or organization needs management skills to plan, organize, and control the activities of the business and to find and develop employees so that it can make products consumers will buy. A business also needs marketing expertise to learn what products consumers need and want and to develop, manufacture, price, promote, and distribute those products. Additionally, a business needs financial resources and skills to 17
S ECTION 7
Other Strategies to Consider What is a conceptual framework? A conceptual framework is a group of concepts that are broadly defined and systematically organized to provide a focus, a rationale, and a tool for integrating and interpreting information. Think of a conceptual framework as a mind map that put together all the centers of the mind maps you created for a chapter in a textbook. This new mind map will have grouped (organized) the chapters concepts, which you have defined the during the earlier mind mapping processes.
“College textbooks have organization that reflects the logic of the discipline represented or patterns that dominate thinking in the field.” (Caverly, 1999) There’s Vocabulary and then There’s Terminology 1. All the words of a language. 2. The sum of words used by, understood by, or at the command of a particular person or group.
Conceptual frameworks are made up of concepts. A concept is general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences. A concept is an idea of something formed by mentally combining all its characteristics or particulars; a construct. Why the Focus on Concepts (terminology rather than vocabulary? What is the difference? What is Terminology? A specialized vocabulary of a field, the nomenclature. Terms in terminology have specific definitions within the field, which is not necessarily the same as their meaning in common use. 18
Traditional Vocabulary Development College reading textbooks often approach vocabulary with discrete exercises for developing, improving, or expanding vocabulary by using discrete skills, such as content clues, wordstructure clues, or using an outside authority – dictionary. This isolated approach, used alone, neglects what we know about learning – primarily if we want transfer and ease of learning newer related information, facts, words, and ideas must be understood within the context of a conceptual framework. The Future is Moving Toward Conceptual Understanding Before we begin exploring developing college-level vocabulary in our reading classes, we need to make a decision about the goal of reading in these courses. From an adaptive reading point of view, the goal of exit-level college reading courses is to develop cognitive skills and habits of mind within a field of inquiry that result in developing competence in the given area. Research on brain learning tells us that it is essential to understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework if competence is to be developed in an area of inquiry. This provides us with significant clues for developing concepts instead of just expanding expanding vocabulary.
Let’s Start with What We Know about Learning that Leads to Transfer: We Know: The question of transfer is the fundamental educational question. We Know: “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” (Bransford, How People learn). We Know: The research has found that to develop competence in an area of inquiry (that is the goal), students must: (a) have a deep foundation of factual knowledge, (b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and (c) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application (Bransford, How People learn). We Know: Textbooks are generally collections of systematically organized broadly defined concepts that are in the best textbooks clarified with the use of examples, statistics, and other details that signal a main idea is being clarified, proved, or developed. We Know: A conceptual framework is group of concepts that are defined and systematically organized to provide a focus, a rationale, and a tool for integrating and interpreting information. 19
We Know: Conceptual understanding refers to an integrated and functional grasp of ideas. The focus is not on discrete skills (finding the main idea for example) as much as it is on focusing on the more basic questions of what readers actively mentally do - metacognition.
To Surface Survey: - What text clues are included in the text? - Read all the titles and subtitles. - Read captions under pictures, charts, graphs, or maps.
Identifying the Conceptual Framework
- Read the questions at the end of the chapter.
Readers need to spend more time determining what the conceptual framework is for a reading selection before beginning reading in order to later understand facts and ideas they will read within that conceptual framework.
- If there is a summary read it.
Cognitive Strategies for Making the Conceptual Framework Useful Moving from Surface Surveying and Deep Surveying: The first thing a reader wants to do is begin to develop a conceptual framework within which to later understand the facts and ideas (concepts) of the text’s chapter. Note the distinction between surface surveying and deep surveying. Surface Surveying: Goal: The reader skims and scans the chapter to get a general idea of the content, structure, and organization of the chapter or reading selection. Surveying the chapter helps the student prepare for “understanding the ideas
- Get an overview of what the chapter is about. Deep Surveying – Adaptive Reading (reading to learn): Goal: Deep surveying engages the reader in a much deeper level of thinking. Deep surveying’s main goal is to grasp the author’s conceptual framework within which the reader later makes an effort to construct meaning within that framework. Deep surveying asks the reader to take advantage of how the brain learns naturally by tapping their own prior knowledge as they come to titles, questions, heading, subheadings, pictures, and summaries. Deep Surveying involves the Rules of Consolidation, Core Cognitive Strategies, Internal Dialogue Inquiry, and organizing by mind mapping the “conceptual framework” (big picture), within which to hold the details and facts (concepts, terminology, vocabulary) together.
To Deep Survey: Brain Rule: Always apply Rule #1 for how the brain learns naturally: Connect new information to prior knowledge. Dendrites, synapses, and neural networks grow only from what is already there. The first time we experience a new subject, our brains must build a dendrite on a cell body for that topic or must connect to an existing idea. Only after that dendrite is in place or the related idea identified can we begin to know, remember, and understand a topic.
Internal Dialogue Questions: The reader always asks at least the internal dialogue questions (below) and answers those questions to themselves as they come to each title, question, heading, subheading, picture, and summary. For example, â€œWhat do I already know about the these concepts or ideas?â€?
Internal Dialogue Questions: 1. What do I already know? 2. Are there examples in the book and do I know any examples of the concept being considered? 3. How is what I am reading like or different than what I already know? 21
4. Can I predict where this is going?
Rule One: Re-expose yourself to the information.
5. How has the author organized the information in this reading selection and how does it relate to prior readings?
Rule Two: You are elaborating when you redraw the pictures by using one of the most powerful elaboration strategies for storing information in long-term memory – Saying what you have just learned in your own words. (Anything you do to interconnect what you are learning to what you already know is an elaboration.) Writing to learn (see below) is very powerful for helping clarify, organize and construct meaning as one surveys.
Rules of Consolidation: (see Appendix A for more explanation)
Rule Three: Re-expose oneself to the conceptual framework using fixed timed intervals. Fixed intervals for surveying are: Time Intervals • Immediately re-expose yourself to the information you encounter surveying. Ask the internal dialogue questions above. • Mind map the conceptual framework as you encounter the new concepts; this helps to systematically organize the information. • As you complete the survey of each section, mentally reconstruct he mind map or summarize what you know at this point.
- Writing to Learn Writing to learn is among the most important clarifying, organizing and constructing new meaning strategies that man has created.
tions, free writing, and notes.” (Literacy Matters). Focus on meaning, not correct spelling, grammar, and usage in writing to learn strategies. “All too often in education, we are focused only on final products: the final exam, the grade, the perfect research paper, mastery of a subject. But how do we get students from here to there? What are the intermediate stages that help students develop the skills and habits of master learners in our disciplines? What kinds of scaffolding enable students to move forward, step-by-step? How do we, as educators, recognize and support the slow process of progressively deepening students’ abilities to think like historians and scholars? (Bass and Eynon, Capturing the Visible Evidence of Invisible Learning, 2009). It’s more difficult to convince teachers that writing is a learning process than it is to convince them that talk is, because so often teachers use writing as a way of testing. They use it to find out what students already know, rather than as a way of encouraging them to find out. The process of making the material their own--the process of writing--is demonstrably a process of learning. -James Britton
Don’t miss this point: Writing to learn activities are among the most powerful elaboration strategies. First a note on some boundaries for writing to learn: “Writing to learn emphasizes what is said (new ideas and concepts) rather than how it is said (correct spelling, grammar, and usage). Often, less structured and more informal writing to learn can take forms such as journals, summaries, responses to oral or written ques-
In adaptive reading, we use writing as a tool for organizing information as a way of helping discover connections, discern processes, raise questions and discover solutions. In this way, writing to learn helps to not only acquire content information but also to transform knowledge and to generate new knowledge. Writing to learn is a powerful tool for clarifying thinking 23
in preparation for organizing knowledge in ways that facilitate application (inquiry-based inquiry and problem solving). Reading students and content course students are often asked to write or complete a project based on reading before they have had a chance to engage in and learn to use the intermediate processes of “reading to learn” such as the Rules of Consolidation, Core Cognitive Strategies, Internal Dialogue Inquiry, and organizing by mind mapping. Conceptual Framework and Text Clues Authors provide lots of clues for finding the conceptual framework in texts and articles - all of which should be used but not taught as discrete skills. The main learning efforts should be directed toward the thinking involved within the context of authentic texts within the larger conceptual framework, not on discrete skills. We will look at reading to learn and writing to learn strategies later. Each text clue is very important; however, from an adaptive reading point of view, the clues would not be taught as discrete skills (exercises that have the reader read a short passage and for example find the main idea and supporting details), but as clues to the conceptual framework of the text and how the clues contribute to the larger understanding and inclusion in the text’s conceptual framework. The shift in adaptive reading from traditional reading instruction (discrete skills) is a focus on constructing meaning and integrating that meaning within a conceptual framework in order to make later learning of related information easier to learn and to
make concepts learned more transferable. In textbooks, the clues for the text’s conceptual framework are everywhere. The use of examples, statistics, and other details signals a main idea is being clarified, proved, or developed. The main idea is not an end in itself in adaptive reading, but rather information that helps the reader not only connect with their prior knowledge, but to help the reader figure out how new information is systematically organized within the a conceptual framework. With supporting details, emphasis is not on details, but on the use of details to understand the concept being learned and more importantly to understand the facts and ideas within a conceptual framework. Clues to the text’s conceptual framework can be found in titles, heads, subheads purpose sentences, preoutline, objectives, topic sentence, italics repletion, questions, numbering, visuals, details, organizational patterns, and summary. Conceptual Understanding and Metacognition This is where the conceptual understanding approach to reading instruction shines. Most approaches teach skills that are “ends in themselves” - main idea and details for example. The isolated skills don’t add up to producing a learner who can read to develop competence in an area of inquiry. Metacognition and Internal Dialogue (thinking about thinking; making thinking visible). Metacognition must be taught: Metacognition is not an instinctive process; therefore deliberate efforts must be made by teachers and students to call attention to it when it is occur24
ring. Doing so can be difficult because the process often occurs as an internal dialogue, meaning there are no tangible or verbal cues to aid in awareness (Bransford et al., 2000; Wolfe & Brush, 2000). Second, the most successful strategies for teaching metacognition require the complete reorganization of a studentâ€™s thinking process, which involves much more than simply pointing out when metacognition is occurring (Perkins & Grotzer, 1997).
The conceptual understanding approach does just that - develop metacognition strategies, The focus is not on discrete skills as much as it focuses on more basic questions of what readers mentally and actively do while reading idea of a text metacognition. Cognitive strategies for developing conceptual understanding do not act in isolation.
Internal Dialogue Must Be Taught: Bransford et al. (2000), warned that educators often make the misguided assumption that because metacognition takes the form of selfimposed internal conversation that students will develop this internal dialogue on their own. They emphatically state that this is not true. The point is that the better understood the entire concept of metacognition becomes, the more sophisticated the thinking process becomes. When given metacognitive training, the degree to which transfer occurs in different settings has been shown to increase (Bransford et al. 2000). However, significant discussion and practice with metacognition are required before students are able to sufficiently comprehend and accommodate the concept. In a highly recommended book by Bain (2004) that discusses the practices of the best college teachers, the concept of metacognition is mentioned and strongly implied throughout. To get students thinking about their thinking is an essential first step to their mental processes of learning and synthesis that are critical harbingers of transfer. (Ramocki, 2007)
C HAPTER 2
Explaining Co-Requisite Reading to the Student Itâ€™s about acceleration.
Then letâ€™s get on with it.
This chapter provides the instructor with an explanation for what a co-requisite reading course is, why the student is taking the co-requisite reading course, and what the content and strategies of the corequisite course will focus on.
S ECTION 1
Introduction to the Student
You are taking a co-requisite reading course. That means that you are taking an entry-level college course such as psychology, geology, sociology, biology, anatomy and physiology, history, etc. along with a reading to learn skills course or some other form of reading skill support. Every time you leave your entry-level college class, you will have a reading assignment that you will work on in your reading class or support class. It also means that you and your instructors have the goal of seeing that you successfully complete both the reading and entry-level college course. Together we will work on strategies for increasing the likelihood that when you are reading to learn that you will learn more deeply. That is, you will learn in a way that increases the likelihood that what you learn in the entry-level college course will transfer to new situations and make learning related information in the future easier.
S ECTION 2
Why a Co-Requisite Reading Model?
The goal of the co-requisite model is accelerating student progress and moving students to and through college level as soon as possible. You will come out of your entry-level college course each day with a reading assignment that has lots of facts and ideas. Your goal as a student who is reading to learn is not to learn a lot of facts or ideas (although you will), but to understand the facts and ideas in relation to one another and in the context of a conceptual framework. If you have taken a reading class before, you will notice that there will be distinct differences in the reading instruction between what you have done before and what you will be doing in the co-requisite reading class. The reading class is not tutoring or a study hall; you will be learning reading to learn skills that will enable you to develop competence in the subject matter of our co-requisite college course. You also will not be
learning reading skills in isolation from your entry-level college reading assignment. You will be learning reading skills relevant to your college course reading assignment and the focus of those skills will be on learning that will enable you to transfer what you are learning to new situations. These reading skills will focus on learning the content of the entry-level course as conceptual understanding that is directly related to how the brain learns naturally. Think of conceptual understanding as new concepts (think terminology) for which you are learning new meanings, and understanding and organizing into related patterns. For example, all new terminology, facts, and ideas are organized by how they are related to one another. It is understanding how they are related that is important. In order to develop competence in an area of inquiry (make useful the content and skills in you entry-level college course) John Bransford’s research found that the learner needs to: • develop a deep foundation of factual information • understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework • organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application
Every reading to learn strategy you learn in the reading course will be organized around these three learner learning needs that enable the reader to develop competence in the subject matter in the entry-level college course. As learning specialist, 28
we have been able to take the latest research on learning and develop exactly those mental activities you will need to be successful. By focusing on those skills within the above competence building needs you will be able to spend more time learning how to learn deeply rather than learning a lot of skills shallowly.
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).
The facts and ideas in every textbook, in every chapter in a textbook, and in every section in a textbook are dependent on understanding those facts and ideas in the context of the purpose of the the subject matter. For example,all ideas and facts in a psychology textbook are organized and meant to be understood around the idea that “the mind affects behavior and thinking.” Regardless of what you are reading in the psychology textbook it is related to how the mind affects behavior and thinking. The same is true for all entry-level college textbooks. For example, sociology is about group interaction and everything will read in the sociology textbook will be related to what sociologist have observed about group interaction. Anatomy and Physiology are about form and function (body parts and what they do). In the reading course you will be constantly balancing understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework and organizing new information being learned into a conceptual framework. “A key finding in the learning and transfer literature is that organizing information into a conceptual 29
S ECTION 3 What the Student Needs to Know about the course
The following is the most important information you need to know and learn in the reading course, which will be applied to reading to learn in the entry-level content course every day. 1. The information you are reading to learn in the entrylevel college course textbook is never a piece of isolated information; everything you read about is always related to the overarching conceptual framework of the subject matter. For example, psychology is about how the mind affects behavior and thinking (overarching conceptual framework). If you are reading a chapter about abnormal behavior in the psychology textbook, it is important to understand how abnormal behavior is a mental illness that affects behavior and thinking. If in the chapter on abnormal behavior you are reading about the characteristics of abnormal behavior, you will need to understand how the characteristics defines abnormal behavior and is different from normal behavior. Everything you learn in an entry-level college textbook is related and those relationships need to be understood in the context of a conceptual framework. Rule: understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework.
2. Any reading skill you will be learning only becomes maximally efficient when it is used with other reading skills such as strategies for moving newly learned information to long-term memory, which must also incorporate strategies for organizing the information in ways that facilitate retrieval. You will not be learning one skill, then another in isolation; all skills aid or reinforce all other skills. Rule: reading requires a lot of mental interaction with the text and your brain (the strategies you use). 3. If you have identified new information as important to learn when reading, you will want to stop and apply strategies you will learn in the reading course for ensuring that deep learning is occurring. Learning to make a habit of stopping and reflecting as you read is a crucial habit to acquire. New information requires re-exposure with elaboration of those ideas. Elaboration is about making connections with what you already know about the information being learned. For example, stopping and having an internal dialogue with yourself about what you already know about the information, or how it is like or different that what you already know, or how you might use the information. There will be many internal dialogue questions that you will learn how to use in the reading course. Rule: if it is important to learn, learn it before going on with your reading. We will be learning the strategies for doing that more efficiently. 4. When you know how the brain learns and know what it takes to ensure that what is learned is not forgotten and how to increase the speed with which the brain processes informa30
tion, and how to organize information in ways that facilitate retrieval and application, you will be able to think about your thinking as you learn while reading and understanding more deeply why you are learning the reading strategies you will be learning. Rule: “Peak mental performance (example, reading to learn) requires a combination of knowing your brain, and being able to observe your brain processing occurring” (Rock, 2010). 5. Depending on the subject, the ability to use or create visual images of the information being learned is very important. For example, the harder the science, the more important it is to connect what is being learned to a visual image. In fact, some concepts in the hard sciences cannot be understood without an accompanying visualization. Whether the entry-level college course you are taking is a hard science or not, visualization is a very powerful learning tool. 6. Learning new terminology (concepts) is not about memorizing definitions. That violates everything we know about how the brain learns and especially how the brain learns if the reader (you) want to use the information later in new situations. Here is where John Bransford’s research on developing competence in the subject matter you are learning in the entry-level college course becomes invaluable. The goal is not about learning new terminology; it is about learning in which that which is learned transfers to new situations (problemsolving, decision-making, etc.) Instead of learning new vocabulary or terminology, the focus shifts to learning new concepts (how information being learned is useful and relates to every-
thing else you are learning as you reading in the entry-level college content course). Rule: never memorize; construct meaning by connecting what you are learning to what you already know and the other related concepts in the text readings. For example, in sociology, a “norm” is a rule or guideline about how to behave in a given situation. It will be easy for you to memorize the definition of “norms”; however, if you do so, it will not be useful later as you read about other types of norms and related information and will be quickly forgotten. The brain stores meaning, but must first make connections with what you already know about rules about how to behave. If you have not stopped and reflected on what you already know about rules about how to behave in given situations and connected it to examples, the information gets stored in isolation in the brain. 7.
You and Your Brain
You can expect to learn in the reading course about how the brain learns and how every mental strategy you will learn reinforces how the brain learns naturally. This will serve two purposes. First, it provides a reason for using any given reading strategy and second, as you learn how the brain learns, you can begin to think about your thinking and you will begin selecting appropriate learning strategies based on how you learn. There will be four areas of brain learning that you will need to understand:
First, how the brain learns naturally: Dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow only from what you already know. This is why activating prior knowledge in the construction of meaning is so important (Smilkstein). Second, how neural pathways are strengthened to increase speed of transmission and reduce forgetting: “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=is is why reexposure with elaboration to new information being learned is so important and why deliberate practice is important. Third, how organizing newly learned information builds neural networks that facilitate retrieval and application:
ized into a very complicated intercommunicating network. Typically each neuron is physically connected to tens of thousands of others. Using these connections neurons can pass electrical signals between each other. The better organized these networks are the easier it is to retrieve related information which facilitates retrieval and application. You will learn how to organize the information you are learning to maximize retrieval, thus making new information more useful. Fourth, is the concept of working memory and the role attention plays in manipulating and constructing meaning and storing those constructions in long-term memory. With this understanding we will be able to: • Apply re-exposure techniques for moving new information from working memory to long-termmemory. • Apply elaboration techniques for moving new information from working memory to long-termmemory. • Apply organizing techniques for moving new information from working memory to long-termmemory. • Re-expose memory strategies in time intervals that facilitate moving new information from working memory to long-term-memory.
The brain contains many billions of very special kinds of cells - the nerve cells or neurons. These cells are organ32
Other Facts About the Reading Course 1. You will be doing a lot of writing to learn activities in the reading course that will focus on clarifying what you are learning. The writing to learn activities will balance the internal dialogue strategies you will be learning with with what you write to learn. Think of it as an integrated internal and external dialogue. The writing to learn activities will also focus on organizing the ideas you are learning in the entry-level college course, which is crucial for later retrieval and usefulness. 2. You will also be learning habits of mind that takes advantage of the â€œuse it of lose itâ€? balancing act the brain is constantly performing for building new brain structures as you learn and tearing down those structures (forgetting) that are not used. Did you know that if you re-expose yourself to what you are learning within 90 minutes of learning it that your are far more likely to remember what you have learned and also increase the likelihood that you will be able to use that information in the future? We will build on these nine areas of learning from day one throughout the semester. You will not be learning a strategy, then dropping it to learn another strategy and so on throughout the semester. You will instead be learning strategies much like building an orchestra with may instruments (learning strategies) to produce a sympathy of mental processes.
S ECTION 4
How Your Instructors See the ReadingCourse Your Co-Requisite Instructors The content the reading course will come from the entry-level college course; the reading to learn skills from the reading course. The entry-level course instructor and reading skills instructor work together to identify the aspects of the entrylevel course which might pose particular problems for you as a learner. How Your Instructors See the Reading Course “The Dana Center has provided a very good quick overview for the goal of accelerated learning, which a co-requisite reading course is and why a co-requisite model of instruction is desired. The following is a modification of their explanation placed in terms of reading. The Dana Center notes that “if the goal of college readiness (learning the reading skills they need of college work) is for students to succeed in college-level courses, students need access to— and experience in—college-level courses. We strongly believe that early college (learning), whether it is developmental or college-level, should focus on preparing students for their programs of study, not on reteaching a full high school curriculum.
In terms of curriculum design, such a focus means that students should engage immediately with applications and contexts that historically have been delayed until a college-level course. In our new model, these applications and contexts are supported with instruction on developmental skills aligned to students’ majors and careers. When it comes to preparing students for success in college, stakeholders broadly agree that faster is better and, as an extension, that students should be referred to the highest level course that can be responsibly defended (Bailey, Hughes, & Jaggars, 2012; Complete College America, 2011). For many students, the emphasis on acceleration means they go directly into college-level courses that are bolstered with mandatory supports. An increasingly popular approach to achieving the goals of accelerating student progress and moving students to and through college-level courses as soon as possible is the co-requisite model of developmental education (Commander, Stratton, Callahan, & Smith, 1996; Boylan, 1999; Edgecombe, 2011; Complete College America, 2011). “Evaluations of such models indicate that co-requisite approaches are associated with higher grades and higher completion rates in introductory college-level courses, increased fallto-fall persistence in enrollment and higher total credit accumulation” (Wilcox, et al., 1997; Jenkins et al., 2010; Tennessee Board of Regents, 2009). http://www.utdanacenter.org/mathways/downloads/highered-issue-brief-1-june2012.pdf 34