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OVERVIEW

Co-Requisite: Psychology and Reading

DAN KESTERSON


I NTRODUCTION

Introduction For reading, the destination is clear. To reach that destination of success in credit-bearing courses, reading skill preparation must focus, not on sets of isolated skills or every core common standard the learner did not fully develop, but rather on cognitive strategies and habits of mind that specifically prepare the student for success in credit-bearing courses at a level of understand and proficiency that prepares the student for subsequent courses. The same is true for career readiness


S ECTION 1

Table of Contents Chapter 1 - Introduction 1

Section 2 - Understanding Facts and Ideas in the Context of a Conceptual Framework 52 Section 3 - Understanding Facts and Ideas in the Context of a Conceptual Framework 54 Chapter 6 - Reflection is Key 58

Section 2 - Co-Requisite Reading: Psychology and Reading 3

Section 1 - Reflection 59

Section 3 - To the Instructor 12

Section 2 - Reflection: Stepping Back Mentally 61

Section 4 - Co-requisite Reading Learning Outcomes 15 Chapter 2 - Organization and Conceptual Framework 17 Section 1 - Conceptual Framework: The Foundation of Rigorous Learning 18

Chapter 7 - Psychology Terminology 74 Section 1 - Terminology 75 Chapter 8 - Willingness to Stay on Task - 79 Section 1 - Ages 17-25: the Known, but Unaddressed 80

Section 2 - Overview of Thinking Skills for Deep Learning about Psychology 20

Section 1 - Getting Unstuck: Yearning for Balance 85

Section 3 - The Big Questions 30

Section 2 - Other Factors Affecting Learning 87

Chapter 3 - Overview of Thinking Skills for Deep Learning about Psychology 35 Section 1 - Overview of Thinking Skills for Deep Learning about Psychology 36 Chapter 4 - Internal Dialogue 41 Section 1 - Internal Dialogue 42 Chapter 5 - Developing Competence 48 Section 1 - Why Deep Learning Matters 49

Chapter 9 - Visualizing 93 Section 1 - Using Mental Imagery 94 Chapter 10 - Mind Mapping 99 Section 1 - Mind Mapping Unveiled 100 Chapter 11 - Want to Be Able to Learn and Use Psychological Concepts 103 Section 1 - The Rules of Consolidation 104 Chapter 12 Writing to Learn 110

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S ECTION 2

Co-Requisite Reading: Psychology and Reading

quent courses. The same is true for career readiness as defined below. What is Kentucky’s definition of career readiness? Career readiness is the level of preparation a high school graduate needs in order to proceed to the next step in a chosen career path, whether that is postsecondary coursework, industry certification, or entry into the workforce. These include core academic, critical thinking, and technical skills required in the workplace.

Why Co-Requisite Reading? • Kentucky has defined college readiness as the level of preparation a first-time student needs in order to succeed in a credit-bearing course at a postsecondary institution. “Success” is defined as completing entry-level courses at a level of understanding and proficiency that prepares the student for subsequent courses.

Kentucky - College Readiness For reading, the destination is clear. To reach that destination of success in credit-bearing courses, reading skill preparation must focus, not on sets of isolated skills or every core common standard the learner did not fully develop, but rather on cognitive strategies and habits of mind that specifically prepare the student for success in credit-bearing courses at a level of understand and proficiency that prepares the student for subse-

Reading (RDG 185) Instruction In the College Reading Course, you will learn many thinking strategies that will help you learn in ways that ensure deeper learning, better and more useful memory of facts and ideas you will learn in the psychology course.The course will organize these thinking strategies around what we now know about how humans learn. The organization of thinking strategies will be developed around the following: 1. Developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge. 2. Understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework. 3. Organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application.

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To make the learning strategies more meaningful, each strategy will be explained within the framework of how the brain learns in ways that make that learned more useful. Reading instruction will focus on developing conceptual understanding of concepts in psychology in which the learner will apply core-learning strategies for dealing with the content they will encounter in their reading assignments. The reading course will help the learner learn thinking strategies that help the learner go beyond mere comprehension. Comprehension will no longer be the main goal, but rather developing competence in the study of psychology will be the goal. The conceptual understanding approach to reading and learning 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. Conceptual understanding here also refers to grasping the meanings of concepts presented in the assigned reading in psychology and systematically organizing those ideas so that they are more easily retrieved when needed later by the learner. 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 makes learning of future related concepts easier, as well making that learned applicable in new situations.

“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…. Transfer is affected by the degree to which people learn with understanding rather than merely 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.” Also transfer not only requires organizing information into a conceptual framework, but also understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework. (Bransford, 2002) Remember, reading is a reconstruction and reorganization of meaning and psychology is an ongoing reconstruction and reorganization of our ideas of how the brain affects behavior - that is the definition of education and learning.

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

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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. Why a co-requisite model? The goal of the co-requisite model is accelerating student progress and moving students to and through college level courses 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 mat-

ter of your 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 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, we have been 6


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 you will be able to spend more time learning how to learn deeply rather than learning a lot of skills shallowly.

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 you 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 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 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 entry-level 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 will read about the of abnormal behavior; you will need to understand how the criteria for determining if behavior is abnormal behavior and how it 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 longterm 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 re7


quires 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 information, 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 entrylevel 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 (problem-solving, 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 everything 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 8


situation. It would 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 first 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 and quickly forgotten. 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, you will learn how neural pathways are strengthened to increase the 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). This is why re-exposure 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: The brain contains many billions of very special kinds of cells - the nerve cells or neurons. These cells are organized 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 informa9


tion 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-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 longterm-memory.

8. 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 developing 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 entrylevel college course, which is crucial for later retrieval and usefulness. 9. You will also be learning habits of mind that takes advantage of the “use it of lose it” balancing act the brain is con-

stantly 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. 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. Co-Requisite From the Literature for the Instructor Only I have modified some note from the Dana Center below: The Dana Center notes that “if the goal of college readiness (learning the reading skills students need of college work) is 10


for helping 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/higher-ed-issuebrief-1-june2012.pdf

College Reading Readiness College readiness is about success in entry-level or gateway courses that prepares The student for subsequent courses.. The goal of a college readiness reading course is to ensure that the learner has developed cognitive strategies and habits of mind that enable him or her to learn when reading in ways that develop competence in their gateway courses and in future courses in their program of study. First, to develop competence in an area of inquiry, discipline or program of study, the reader needs to be able to develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge. Factual knowledge is not a memorized set of facts in a program of study, but rather sets of interrelated facts that are organized into a conceptual framework of knowledge - a neural network of interrelated information - not isolated facts. Second, if the learner wants the information to be learned in ways that make the information learned transferrable to new situations where they can think, reason, make decisions, solve 11


problems or apply the information, then the reader must understand the facts and ideas they are learning in the context of a conceptual framework. This requires knowing how to develop a conceptual framework for the subject matter in the course being studied. Third, retrieval and application is dependent on organizing the knowledge being learned. The learner needs to have strategies for organizing what is being learned within the conceptual framework of the subject and or discipline.

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S ECTION 3

To the Reading Instructor

This reading course is about “igniting curiosity” in the learning process while reading. "It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry." -- Albert Einstein This course will focus on developing curiosity by learning how to step back in one’s mind and reflect on the meaning of that being read. Reflection is the key to developing curiosity. Reflection is the stepping back in the mind and constructing meaning by mentally interconnecting what is being read with what is already known by the reader that moves a reader from one idea into the next with deeper understanding of its relationships with and connections to other ideas. “It is the thread that makes “continuity” of learning possible.” (Dewey)

“A source of motivation is curiosity, without which there is little energy for the hard work of reflection: “until we understand, we are, if we have curiosity, troubled, baffled, and hence moved to inquire” (Dewey, 1933).) The trick is once stymied, caring or wanting to take the time to explore why one is stymied. “Curiosity, in contrast, bespeaks of a positive, wideeyed attitude toward both one’s own learning and other’s learning” (Rodgers). For many readers, the recognizing, and caring or wanting to take the time to explore why one is stymied is not built into their “learning while reading” mental processes. That is the focus of this reading course, learning mental strategies and habits of mind that shifts uncaring or not wanting to take the time to explore why one is stuck to one of mental arousal to want to know. Think of reflection this way; stop and mentally ask yourself, “What did I just read?”; “Do I understand what I just read?”; “What do I already know about what I just read?”; “Have I done anything to help ensure that I will remember what I have read?” It is in those moments of mentally stepping back and observing one’s thinking (reflection) that builds curiosity. To the extent that the reader feels a twinge of conflict and is aroused to end the unease of not knowing by finding meaning is the beginning of curiosity, which begins with reflection. In this reading course, reflection (inquiry) will move to deeper questions the reader will want to ask and to learning mental strategies for answering those questions. 13


This reading course is an ongoing series of reflections while reading and using mental strategies for dealing with the conflict that emerges during these moments of reflection in an effort to build curiosity for wanting to resolve the conflict that move meaninglessness to meaningfulness. “As Dewey defines it, reflection is a particular way of thinking and cannot be equated with mere haphazard “mulling over” something. Such thinking in contrast to reflection, is, in a word, undisciplined” It is the bridge of meaning that connects one experience to the next that gives direction and impetus to growth. The process of refection, Dewey claims, moves the learner from a disturbing state of perplexity (also referred by him as disequilibrium) to a harmonious state of settledness (equilibrium). Perplexity is created when an individual encounters a situation whose “whole character is not yet determined.) That is the meaning is not yet established. The internal experience for the learner is one of disequilibrium an unsettledness. It is the yearning for balance that in turn drives the learner to doing something to resolve it - namely, to start the process of inquiry, or reflection” (Rodgers). Education and competence learning are the same thing. Today we define learning as growing new dendrites when the learner’s new information interconnects with the learner’s prior knowledge. Let’s take a look at John Dewey’s definition of “education”, “that reconstruction and reorganization of experience which adds to the meaning of experience, and which increases [one’s] ability to direct the course of subsequent experience.” Dewey’s definition of education is no different than

the modern work of John Bransford’s on developing competence in an area of inquiry. Dewey goes past passive learning when he insists that that learned is a “reconstruction or reorganization of  experience which adds to the meaning of experience.” Dewey anticipated the conformation of the physical nature of leaning in the brain a hundred years before MRIs - an external reflection of an internal process. What make his definition of education (learning) even more prophetic is the anticipation of the works of researchers such as John Bransford on human learning. The second part of Dewey’s definition of education (learning), “and which increases [one’s] ability to direct the course of subsequent experience”, even predates Flavell’s insights into metacognition and is actually a definition of metacognition. John Bransford’s research on human learning concluded in “On Human Learning” that in order to develop competence in an area of inquiry, the learner needs to (parenthesis below parallel with Dewey’s definition of education): • Develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge (the need for a vast and deep reservoir of factual knowledge in which “reconstruction and reorganization of experience adds meaning to experience”) • Understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework ( this “increases on’s ability to direct the course of subsequent experience”)

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• Organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application (“that reorganization of experience which increases [one’s] ability to direct the course of subsequent experience”) Today, the learner needs more than to be able to memorize or stop at mere procedural learning. Today the learner needs to be able to develop competence in an area of inquiry as they pursue programs of study. The learner must develop the skills that allow for “increasing their ability to direct the course of subsequent experience” by learning reflection strategies and mental strategies for developing competence in the content of their program of study. Reflection is the core of deeper learning and is the foundation and springboard for the mental strategies and habits of mind that will be learned in this reading course.

Continuity: “What [an individual] has learned in the way of knowledge and skill in one situation becomes an instrument of understanding and dealing effectively with the situation which follow. The process goes on as long as life and learning continue. “Without continuity learning is random and disconnected, building toward nothing within the learner or in the world” (Rodgers). The ability to ‘transfer” from one situation to another (continuity) is the essence of John Bransford’s research and will underlie all reflection (inquiry) while reading to learn.

Carol Rodgers in “Defining Reflection: Another Look at John Dewey and Reflective Thinking” looks at four distinct criteria that characterize Dewey’s view of reflective thought (a mode of thought which can be equated with inquiry) and offers them as a starting place for talking about reflection so that it might be taught, learned, assessed, discussed, and researched. We will look at the first of these four criteria is the following: Reflection is a meaning-making process that moves a learner from one experience into the next with deeper understanding og its relationships with and connections to other experiences and ideas. It is the thread that makes “continuity” of learning possible. 15


S ECTION 4

Co-requisite Reading Learning Outcomes Learning Outcomes Skill: Does the learner recognize chapter text clues? Learning Outcome: given a textbook chapter, can the learner identify the chapter’s text clues. Skill: Does the learner recognize the organization of the chapter using the chapter’s text clues? Learning Outcome: given a textbook chapter, can the learner recognize the chapter’s organization. Skill: Does the reader stop and step back mentally to reflect on what they have read? Learning Outcome: Given a reading selection, the reader stops frequently to reflect on what they have read. Skill: Does the reader during reflection use re-exposure strategies for moving the information from working memory to long-term memory. Learning Outcome: Given a reading selection, the reader while reflecting uses re-exposure strategies for moving the information from working memory to longterm memory.

Skill: Does reader during reflection use elaboration strategies for moving the information from working memory to longterm memory. Learning Outcome: Given a reading selection, the reader while reflecting uses elaboration strategies for moving the information from working memory to longterm memory. Skill: Does the learner ask the following type questions when they come to text clues (title, headings, pictures): 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. Can I predict where this is going? Learning Outcome: Given a reading selection with text clues, the reader ask questions about what they read. Skill: Does the learner have strategies for organizing the concepts in a content reading selection? Learning Outcome: Given a content reading selection, the reader can organize the concepts around relationships. Skill: Does the learner have strategies for creating a conceptual framework for helping understand facts and ideas? 16


Learning Outcome: Give an organized introduction to the textbook or a chapter, the reader can create a conceptual framework (organized overview of the textbook or chapter content). Skill: Does the learner visualize or create mental images of concepts being learned? Learning Outcome: Given a reading passage in which the concepts are descriptive or has accompanying illustrations or pictures, the reader can create mental images of the concepts. Skill: Does the learner have strategies for developing deep understanding of new concepts (terminology)? Learning Outcome: Given a textbook chapter, can the learner strategies for developing deep understanding of new concepts (terminology)

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C HAPTER 1

Organization and Conceptual Framework

“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, 2002)


S ECTION 1

Conceptual Framework: The Foundation of Rigorous Learning

In this co-requisite reading course, you will be mentally dancing between two powerful uses of systematically organizing what you are learning. First, you will organizing information (what you are learning into a conceptual framework) of related facts, ideas and concepts. Second, you will endeavoring to understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework.

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)

Developing competence in psychology is straight forward, but challenging. Students need to be able to do the following: •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)

Conceptual Framework Let’s first define a conceptual framework, then we will explore how we will use them to learn while reading. Definition of 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 interpretation of information. This provides the big picture for learning, making associations, and making interconnections between new information and prior knowledge, which is the foundation of constructing meaning. “An expert in a particular field does not just have more knowledge, but the knowledge he has is connected in a logical and meaningful manner. This is important because when individual facts are recalled it is as if a whole set of interconnected further concepts are accessed at the same time and whole sets of (neural) 19


networks become activated. An expert does not just have a better overview of the field, but he sees all the connections between the various concepts.� (Zirbel, Teaching to Promote Deep Understanding and Instigate Conceptual Change)

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S ECTION 2

Overview of Thinking Skills for Deep Learning about Psychology

1. What is the big question(s) that the discipline being read about is trying to answer or observe? 2. How is the content organized around that big question? The answer to these two question provide the rationale for the activities that help a reader “understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework.” Examples of the Big Questions from Different Disciplines

In this section, psychology will be the area of inquiry used to explain most of the activities that facilitate the kinds of thinking that enable the reader to understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework. These activities are transferrable to other related areas of inquiry such as biology, and history. The Big Questions or Conceptual Framework Writers of college textbooks tend to systematically organize the concepts in the discipline. That organization is referred to as a conceptual framework. The organizational pattern of discipline textbooks can vary based on the purpose of the discipline. In the co-requisite psychology and college reading courses, among of the first things a learner needs to know is

For the reader, a conceptual framework is a group of concepts they will be learning that has been systematically organized to help the reader interpret and integrate the new information they are reading. The reader needs to learn how to identify or create the big picture question(s) (conceptual framework) of the given discipline in order to use cognitive strategies and habits of mind that lead to important facts. In the psychology textbook we will look at how conceptual frameworks are created and the answers to those questions for psychology. This is key for building activities for understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework. Psychology: Thinking Like a Psychologist To become competent in psychology, the learner must learn to think like a psychologist. What is a psychologist? In general, a psychologist is a “scientist who studies how the brain or mind affects behavior. 21


How Conceptual Frameworks are Developed in Psychology When a psychologist observes that there is a pattern in thinking, behavior or social interaction, they give the pattern a name or label. That label is the name of pattern or concept, which is always to be related back to the purpose of psychology and the conceptual framework of a given topic such s psychological disorders. For example, under the topic of psychological disorders, the author of the textbook will usually define psychological disorders as abnormal behavior and then define abnormal behavior followed by a set of criteria for determining whether an abnormal behavior is a psychological disorder. This information is the conceptual framework for learning about psychological disorders. All facts, ideas, and specific psychological disorders in the chapter should be learned and understood in the context of the conceptual framework. One of the most important things you will need to learn to do when encounter new information is decide if it is important to learn and to not proceed until you can explain it to yourself. This is just one way of helping the brain store the information so that it can be used later. If strategies like this are not used, then when you reach chapters which develop concepts, such as psychology disorders and you will not be prepared with prior knowledge.

A Quick Lesson on How the Brain Learns If you know what is going on in the brain while you are learning, you are more likely to take the time to develop learning skills and strategies that make deep and competent learning possible. The first thing you should know and why we will be building conceptual frameworks about the topics in psychology is that the brain learns virtually nothing if the learner is not tying what they are learning to prior knowledge (what they already know). Here is a quick explanation of how the brain learns:

Dendrites are Learning The neurons (brain cell) (fig.1) is the first of two illustrations you will learn about that will help you understand how learning occurs in the brain. In later chapters when you see the illustration on the following page; it will remind you about how the brain learns and that you have control over what is happening when you read to learn. The first drawing on the opposite page is of a neuron (brain cell). Looking from left to right at the first drawing, the filament-like structures are dendrites. New information enter the brain cell through these dendrites and travel through the cell body and down the axon to the end buds. If the signal finds information in other brain cells (their dendrites are prior learning) that is related to the new information, then a

22


dendrite grows (learning) (fig.2) on the dendrite of related information (prior knowledge).

If the end buds find other dendrites of related knowledge, a new dendrite grows. That new dendrite is learning. Dendrites

No learning occurs unless new information being learned interconnects with the learner’s prior knowledge. This fact will be the foundation for understanding how learning occurs when one uses learning strategies to learn when reading. We will go in much more detail later.

Axon

Neuron Ends Cell Body

When%the%message%(new%informa1on%the%reader%is%reading)%reaches%the%neuron%ends% (end%buds),%the%end%buds%look%for%other%dendrites%on%other%neurons%that%have%related% informa1on% (prior% knowledge).% Remember,% learning% only% occurs% when% the% reader% interconnects%new%informa1on%with%what%they%already%knows%(prior%knowledge).%

Cell Body axon synapse neurotransmitters dendrite

Figure 1

receptors

End Buds – dendritelike fibers that connect to other neuron dendrites (looking for related information)

Rule 1: New dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow only from what is already there.

Figure 2 Another strategy that builds on organizing knowledge in ways to facilitate retrieval and application is the use of visual graphics. One very popular form of visual graphic that is very powerful is mind mapping. Mind Maps You will learn later that the most effective mind maps have the following characteristics and among them is drawing a picture of the concepts you are learning. (More in a later chapter on visualization and imaging to learn either mentally or on paper.)

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ACTIVITY: Take time before ever beginning to read any chapter in the textbook and read any preface, introduction or those parts of the first chapter that indicate that the purpose of the discipline might be explained. This is like detective work that gets easier the more it is practiced. Instructor modeling and collaborative exploration for the propose of the discipline. For deep and useable learning to occur the reader needs to reflect and have opportunities to explore their own minds about what they know about psychology. Note: Keep in mind that it takes effort and repeated exposure to new ideas before the neural networks for those ideas are developed and strengthened in the brain. Finding the discipline’s purpose is the first of many opportunities for readers to learn to use the rules for moving new information from working memory to long-term memory for which the bottom line is re-exposure with elaboration (connection to prior knowledge.) Using Text Clues to Further Develop the Conceptual Framework Text clues in content textbooks are like maps that when the organization is recognized help the readers to create the chapter’s conceptual framework. The title, forward, introduction, chapter outlines, the heading and subheading, and summary all provide an opportunity to further expand and prepare the brain for grasping the big concepts around a subject, as well

as prepare the reader for using cognitive strategies for incorporating important concepts and facts. The Big Three Questions of Internal Dialogue Whether getting an overview of the chapter or reading the chapter, the reader should always have three question they are asking: 1. {What Do I Know} What do I already know? (Dendrites of Prior Knowledge) 2. {Are There Explanations or Examples} Are there explanations or examples in the book and do I know any examples of the concept being considered? (Connection to Dendrites of Prior Knowledge) 3. {Prediction} Can I predict where this is going? (Anticipate what is next) Those Three Questions Can Expand Into: • Why am I reading this selection? (Dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow only from what is already there.) • What do I already know about what I am Reading? (Dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow only from what is already there.) • Anticipating where is this heading going/what is coming next? (Dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow only from what is already there. The brain learns by predicting) (at 24


every level of the six levels of the neocortext the same heuristic is repeated—“matching sensory input to stored patterns and predicting what will happen next”) • How can I use this information? (Dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow only from what is already there. The brain learns by predicting) (at every level of the six levels of the neocortex the same heuristic is repeated—“matching sensory input to stored patterns and predicting what will happen next”) • What cognitive strategies do I have for strengthening new learning. (Dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow for what is actively, personally, and specifically experienced and practiced. Dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow from stimulating experiences. Use it or lose it.) • How does this apply to my own life? (“Dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow for what is actively, personally, and specifically experienced and practiced.” Smilkstein) ACTIVITY: It takes a lot of effort to build these questions into the learner’s neural networks of cognitive processes and become so strongly developed that they become automatic. Note: Once cognitive strategies become automatic, they no longer are crowding the learner’s working memory and then working memory can be devoted to further manipulation and

especially elaboration (connecting to the learner's prior knowledge.) More on working memory in later chapters. The above questions and the questions to follow are not questions to be superficially learned, but must be over-learned to the point of being automatic. Neural networks need to be developed through repeated exposure to these questions in order to build myelin in neural pathways for these questions when reading that enable instantaneous application of these questions in the reading and learning processes. These questions then become part of the students mental processes for thinking about their thinking. Note: Keep in mind that if the metacognitive processes do not become automatic (repeated exposure with elaboration), then working memory will not have the space to both store and manipulate the information (use cognitive strategies) being learned. Reflection and Metacognition The questions above drive metacognition (the reader thinking about their thinking). Metacognition has to be learned and mental activities that help the learner to automatically try to build a conceptual framework for what they are about to read and to expand that conceptual framework as they read is key to transfer learning (deep learning). Again, “Contrary to popular belief, learning basic facts is not a prerequisite for creative thinking and problem solving -- it's the other way around. Once you grasp the big concepts 25


around a subject, good thinking will lead you to the important facts.” (John Bransford) The Physiology of Practice “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 neurons. “The brain senses nerve firing and responds by wrapping more myelin (fat) (fig.3) 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. Dendrites Myelin Sheath

Axon

Neuron Ends

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) Metacognition and Internal Observation For rigor in learning to be successful, the learner has to be able to mentally step back and observe the learning process as it is occurring in the brain - this is the foundation of metacognition and it has to be taught. In order to take the most effective control of instruction and learning (rigor), the instructor and learner needs to understand what is occurring in the brain during instruction and learning that can transform both into rigorous learning.

Cell Body “Myelin’s vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers 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 – when we practice cognitive strategies when reading– our myelin responds by wrapping layers around the that 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 movements and thoughts become.” (Coyle, 2010)

“In the 1990s a committee of the National Research Council, led by John Bransford, Ann Brown, and Rodney Cocking concluded that metacognition is a key factor in learning that should be deliberately cultivated. They emphasized the particularly important role that metacognition plays in promot26


ing transfer learning. That is, students can more readily apply knowledge acquired in one context to another context if they have more awareness of themselves as learners, if they monitor their strategies and resources, and if they assess their readiness for tests and other performances” (Linda Baker). Internal Dialogue Questions 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. This ability to step back while learning and observe ones own thinking David Rock calls “The Director.” Research is indicating “the director” (metaphor for observing ones thinking about thinking ability of the brain) sits “above” our other working memory functions, monitoring our thinking and choosing how best to allocate resources (cognitive 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 by 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).

The good news is that “Mindfulness 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 and switching attention.” (Rock).

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Internal Dialogue (Comparing and Contrasting)

The Power of Comparing and Contrasting

One thing the brain tries to do automatically is to compare and contrast new information with what it already knows. The learner can take advantage of this fact by introducing further questions that if over learned helps the brain do more deeply what it tries to do naturally.

“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)

Six internal dialogue questions that readers need to learn to use as part of their internal dialogue for establishing a metacognitive approach to learning while reading are: 1. What do I already know about what I am reading? (learning – constructing meaning) 2. How does what I am reading reinforce or contradict what I already know (compare and contrast)? 3. What do the concepts (terminology) introduced in the reading have in common? (analyzing) 4. How are concepts (terminology) introduced in the text different; how do they contrast? (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)

How Comparing and Contrasting May Show Up in Working Memory Comparing and contrasting new information can show up in (1) the writer’s organization of information – facilitates categorization, (2) as a way the experts in the discipline have categorized information – ex. what is a sociologist trying to learn – “the reader must keep the author’s overall purpose in mind while classifying, in order to group information by useful criteria.” (Zwiers), (3) in the reader’s head as a natural reminder of what the reader already knows – putting new information into categories, or as (4) an internal dialogue question (cognitive strategy – decision making) in which the reader is trying to take control of their thinking (metacognition) to construct meaning.

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ACTIVITY: Again, re-exposure and practice are key to over learning these questions. Note: Again, instructor modeling and collaborative exploration of answers to these questions are very helpful. Reflection Activity: Taking the short reading selection below on anxiety disorders and general anxiety, stop and observe your thinking about what you are learning when you encounter the double orange parentheses (). Especially note that the author has organized all the new information around comparing normal to abnormal anxiety. This help the reader organize what they are learning if they recognize the comparison/contrast pattern.

(                                    ) They feature motor tension (jumpiness, trembling),   (                              ) hyperactivity (dizziness, a racing heart), (                                    ) and apprehensive expectations and thoughts. (                                    ) In this section we survey five types of anxiety disorders: (                                        )         • Generalized (                    )

anxiety

Panic disorders (                                      )

Phobic disorders (                                       )

• Obsessive-compulsive (                   ) •

disorders

disorders

Post-traumatic disorders (                                          )

Anxiety Disorders (                                ) Think about how you felt before a make-or-break exam or a big presentation (                                 )– or perhaps as you noticed police lights flashing behind your speeding car. (                                 ) Did you feel jittery and nervous and experience tightness in your stomach? (                            ) These are the feelings of a normal anxiety, an unpleasant feeling of fear and dread. (                                     ) In contrast, (                          ) anxiety disorders involve fears that are uncontrollable, (                                     ) disproportionate to the actual danger the person might be in, (                                   ) and disruptive of ordinary life.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder  (                                        ) When you are worrying about getting a speeding ticket, you know why you are anxious; there is a specific cause. (                                                  ) Generalized Anxiety disorder is different from such everyday feelings of anxiety in that suffers experience persistent anxiety for at least 6 months (                                   ) and are unable to specify the reasons for the anxiety (                                    ) (Kendler & Others, 2007). People with generalized anxiety disorder are nervous most of the time. (                                 ) They may worry about their work relationships, or health. (                                      )  That 29


worry can take on  a  physical tool and cause fatigue, muscle tension, stomach problems, and difficulty sleeping. ( )

Normal Anxiety

Normal Anxiety

Anxiety Disorder

Contrast Normal

Abnormal Anxiety

General Anxiety

and General Anxiety

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S ECTION 3

The Big Questions

information and skills we learn in developing an answer cannot be learned until the right question has been asked, because without having asked the question, memory will not know where to index the answer. For example, when a student faces an expectation failure, she will begin to ask herself questions to explain why her theory was incorrect. Again from Schank: Such failures force us to ask ourselves questions like 'What caused the failure?' and 'How can I prevent the failure from occurring again?' But expectation failures are not the only times when we sit back and ask ourselves

Contrary to popular belief, John Bransford, learning

questions. Sometimes, we are faced with a new problem

basic facts is not a prerequisite for creative thinking and

and need to develop a new plan. In such cases, we might

problem solving -- it's the other way around. Once you

proceed by asking ourselves 'What old problems is this

grasp the big concepts around a subject, good thinking

new problem like?' or 'How can I break down this

will lead you to the important facts. (John Bransford)

problem into simpler problems?' Other times, we puzzle over our experiences, asking questions such as, 'What

The Big Questions Questions make the difference

would have happened if I had behaved differently?' and 'Why did X act as he did?'" The more questions we ask, the more ways we can index a thought in memory. Better indexing produces greater flexibility, easier

We construct knowledge by asking questions. Questions

recall, and richer understanding. If we ask many

serve several functions: they point to holes in our

questions, we build detailed indices that enable us to use

knowledge and memory structures and are critical for

knowledge gained in one context in other

indexing the information that we attain when we

situations. (Bain, How We Learn)

develop an answer for that question. Some cognitive scientists think that questions are so important that the 31


Today new evidence from many sources about psychology is turning up almost daily, spurring great debates. Information is being added faster that college textbooks can be published and therefore the textbooks often lag behind. Today’s student will find themselves going to many sources to find current information, especially the internet. For almost every idea idea in psychology, there is an opposing idea and it can become very confusing. Again, the student must play detective. Evaluating a Website When Using the Internet Duke University has a set of question that a learner would want to ask when seeking information on the internet. See: http://library.duke.edu/services/instruction/library guide/evalwebpages.html Evaluating Web Pages Before using information found on a web page for your research project, consider the following criteria to evaluate its credibility. Click links below: Authority Purpose/Intended Audience Currency Objectivity Support

Big Questions in Psychology Let’s take an example from an introduction to psychology textbook in a chapter on psychological disorders. The big questions might look like this: Where to Ask Questions in a Conceptual Framework Walking through an Example from a Psychology Textbook, Psychological Disorders: Building Conceptual Frameworks (Mental Scaffolds) Within Which to Understand Facts and Ideas 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 interpretation of information. This provides the big picture for learning, making associations, and making interconnections between new information and prior knowledge, which is the foundation of constructing meaning. What Constitutes the Systematically Organized Group of Concepts Making Up a Conceptual Framework in the psychology chapter? Purpose of the Discipline Branch Under Consideration within the Discipline Category Being Studied within That Branch 32


From the chapter on Psychological Disorders, what Constitutes the Larger Conceptual Framework That Provides a Focus, a Rationale, and a Tool for Integrating and Interpretation of Concepts to be Learned (the conceptual framework had to be constructed from the reading)

In this chapter, there are many psychological disorders. In this instance under psychological disorders, the reader would be reading about eating disorders. Example: Eating Disorders

1. Purpose of the Discipline

anorexia nervosa

Psychology: The study of the mind and mental processes, especially in relation to behavior. There are a number of fields of psychology.

bulimia nervosa

2. Branch Under Consideration Within the Discipline Psychological Disorders Under Abnormal Psychology: three criteria help distinguish normal from abnormal behavior: 1.Abnormal behavior is deviant. Abnormal behavior is certainly atypical or statistically unusual. 2.Abnormal behavior is maladaptive. Maladaptive behavior interferes with ones ability to function effectively in the world. 3.Abnormal behavior involves personal distress over a long period of time. 3. Category Being Studied within this Branch

binge eating disorder Example of Concept, Anorexia Nervosa, to be Learned Integrated and Interpreted within the Larger Conceptual Framework (understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework) Anoxia Nervosa is an eating disorder that involves the relentless pursuit of thinness through starvation. Learning the definition of anorexia nervosa or that it is one of the three eating disorders discussed in the chapter is not sufficient for transfer learning. Anorexia Nervosa needs to be understood (integrated and interpreted) in the context of the larger conceptual framework. Questions the Learner Should be Trying to Answer in the Context of the Larger Conceptual Framework Questions in the Larger Conceptual Framework 33


What does anorexia nervosa have to do with the purpose of psychology? What does anorexia nervosa have to do with the study of the mind and mental processes, especially in relation to behavior. What makes anorexia nervosa an abnormal behavior or psychological disorder? Does anorexia nervosa one or more of these criteria? 1.Abnormal behavior is deviant. Abnormal behavior is certainly atypical or statistically unusual. 2.Abnormal behavior is maladaptive. Maladaptive behavior interferes with ones ability to function effectively in the world. 3.Abnormal behavior involves personal distress over a long period of time. Transfer or Application: Without understanding anorexia nervosa in the context of the larger conceptual framework of psychological disorders (merely memorizing the definition), future transfer may not occur, problems cannot be solved or decisions made. To illustrate how understanding new concepts (anorexia nervosa) in the context of the conceptual framework enables transfer learning, take the following example: Sue is to be married in two months. She is restlessly pursuing thinness by eating as little as she can. Does she have a psychological disorder or an eating disorder? This illustrates how understanding in the context of a conceptual framework pro-

vides the big picture for learning, making associations, and making interconnections between new information and prior knowledge, which is the foundation of constructing meaning. Application Answer: As one can see, Sue’s behavior does not fit the criteria for being a psychological disorder as it is not deviant (atypical), maladaptive (interferes with her functioning in the world), not does it involves personal distress over a long period of time. The key to answering the question hinged on understanding the concept of anorexia nervosa in the context of the larger conceptual framework as do most applications of new information in new contexts. Whether Learning or Teaching, Always Ask the Questions, “How does the new information fit within the larger conceptual Framework?� Anorexia Nervosa Quiz Name ________________________________ Date_________________ Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that involves the relentless pursuit of thinness through starvation. Learning the definition of anorexia nervosa or that it is one of the three eating disorders discussed in the chapter is not sufficient for transfer learning. Anorexia Nervosa needs to be understood (integrated and interpreted) in the context of the larger conceptual framework.

34


Directions: 1. What does anorexia nervosa have to do with the purpose of psychology? 2. What makes anorexia nervosa an abnormal behavior or psychological disorder? 3. Does anorexia nervosa meet one or more of these criteria? 4. Explain why you answered Yes or No to question 3 above. Application Sue is to be married in two months. She is restlessly pursuing thinness by eating as little as she can. Does she have a psychological disorder or an eating disorder? 5. Does Sue have a psychological disorder? 6. Justify your answer to question 5 based on the your answers to the two questions you answered above. This illustrates how understanding in the context of a conceptual framework provides the big picture for learning, making associations, and making interconnections between new information and prior knowledge, which is the foundation of constructing meaning enables the reader to solve problems.

35


C HAPTER 3

Neurological Foundation for all RDG 185 and 30Reading Strategies

Learning occurs in the brain, therefore all the cognitive reading strategies taught in the reading course are built upon a neurological foundation.


S ECTION 1

The Three Physiological Changes in the Brain when Deep Learning Occurs

If the end buds find other dendrites of related knowledge, a new dendrite grows. That new dendrite is learning. Dendrites Axon

Neuron Ends Cell Body

Rule 1: New dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow only from what is already there.

Learning is physiological

Learning is Physiological

The first physiological change necessary for learning is the growing of new dendrites.

When learning occurs new dendrites grow off brain cell dendrites of prior

New structures grow in the learner’s brain during learning, and learning is the growing of new brain structures (dendrites and neural networks). In other words, learning and growing new brain structures are the same ting. (Smilkstein, 2003) How the Brain Learns The brain has two billion brain cells (neurons), which are all trying to communicate with one another and make connections. Neurons carry electrical charges and make chemical connections to other neurons. A neuron has a cell body and attached to the cell body are dendrites (short fibers) that receive messages. When you, see, hear, feel external information, that information is received by the dendrites.

knowledge. 37


The message goes to the cell body and on down the axon (long fibers) that transmit messages to the neuron ends (end buds) If the end buds find other dendrites of related knowledge, a new dendrite grows. That new dendrite is learning.

dendrite, new information being learned must find older dendrites with related information (prior knowledge) Developing Cognitive Strategies Around How the Brain Forgets

Dendrites Axon

Neuron Ends Cell Body

Rule 1: New dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow only from what is already there.

When the message (new information the reader is reading) reaches the neuron ends (end buds), the end buds look for other dendrites on other neurons that have related information (prior knowledge). Remember, learning only occurs when the reader interconnects new information with what they already knows (prior knowledge). If the brain finds other dendrites of related knowledge, a new dendrite grows. That new dendrite is learning. Every time we learn something new, brain cells grow new dendrites. In order for brain cells to grow new

Most forgetting occurs within the first twenty-four hours if newly grown dendrites (learning) are not strengthened and this continues for what was read until the average college student forgets eighty percent of what was read after only two weeks. The more often the neural pathways of new learning are activated, the stronger and faster the those pathways becomes and the more resistant to being pruned (reabsorbed by the brain) they are. Knowing this, the reader can use mental processes to strengthen newly grown dendrites. Anything the reader does to tie new information to old information not only helps construct meaning but also used following learning strengthens dendrites. For example, saying what was learned in the reader’s own words (reciting) ties new information to the reader’s prior knowledge. How do we strengthen new dendrites (new learning?

The second physiological change for deep learning requires the re-exposure of newly learned information. Every time the learner is re-exposed to newly learned information the myelin sheath (fatty insulation) on the brain cell’s axon wraps another layer of fat around 38


the axon with a resulting increase of speed in transmission and processing down that neural pathway of learning. This increase the speed of transmission and processing up to 3oo times down that neural pathway to the new dendrite of learning and protects the new dendrite from being pruned, Learning strategies will be built on re-exposure to the new learning and on building thicker myelin layers along the axon of the neural pathway to the brain cells related to the new learning by re-exposure with elaboration (internal dialogue, writing to learn, etc.). Dendrites Myelin Sheath

Axon

Neuron Ends Cell Body “Myelin’s vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers 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 – when we practice cognitive strategies when reading– our myelin responds by wrapping layers around the that 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 movements and thoughts become.” (Coyle, 2010)

The third physiological change requires the interconnectedness of lots of related information which results in vast of neural networks as concepts are systematically organized. The more dendrites of prior knowledge that new information encounter the brain looks for related knowledge in the brain upon which to grow new dendrites of learning, the more neural pathways the learner has for retrieving that information in the future. The learning strategies will build on strengthening all the interconnections (new dendrites) on other brain cells that also grew new dendrites. Think about it this way: if you saw a new kind of car, your brain would find brain cells among the 200 billion you have all over the brain where information about cars is stored and grow new dendrites al those locations. For example, you know about kinds of cars (new dendrites grow), your first car (new dendrites grow) and so on among all the thousands of pieces of information you know about cars. Recap of Neurological Learning that Form the Basis of the Thinking Skills Taught in RDG 185 First, no learning occurs until the brain finds dendrites of prior knowledge in the brain upon which the new information 39


can anchor by growing new dendrites of new learning. The first level of thinking strategies to be learned in RDG 185 focus on ensuring that the learner activates prior knowledge that is related to what is being learned. Second, once learning has occurred, the major function of the thinking strategies taught is to strengthen new learning. The first level of strengthening learning is re-exposure to the information newly learned. The second level of strengthening learning is re-exposure to the information newly learned with elaboration. The build the myelin sheath coating the brain cells axons in the neural pathway to the new information, thereby speeding up the transmission and processing of that information and providing protection from pruning (reabsorbing the dendrites of newly learned information by the brain and forgetting). Third. the brain doesn’t just create a single new dendrite for newly learned information. The brain has 200 billion brain cells and the brain will grow new dendrites on dendrites of prior knowledge on any of them they can find. For example, if I read that I should eat oatmeal for breakfast, I already have hundreds upon hundreds of dendrites on all kind of prior knowledge about breakfast foods, cereals, brands, etc. The more the brain makes interconnections with all these dendrites of prior knowledge about food and breakfast foods, the more new dendrites that are grown creating neural networks of interrelated information thereby creating many pathways to new information. The first level of thinking skills taught in RDG 185 for creating neural networks is helping the

learner ask the right questions for activating neural networks of prior knowledge. The second level is deliberately organizing new information within the organized knowledge the learner already has or helping the learner create conceptual frameworks of prior knowledge for understand new information. Quick Videos on How the Brain Learns (click on red or go to website)

Growing New Dendrites - 6 ½ minutes

http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=G6_7_JFkuBY

Description: an illustrated explanation of how the growing of new dendrites is learning

Remembering and Forgetting – 9 ½ minutes

40


http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=ON7_g_y0-1Y

Description: a continuation of the above video with an explanation of how to strengthen new dendrites and pruning.

41


C HAPTER 4

Internal Dialogue The Power of Questions Excerpt from How We Learn: “We construct knowledge by asking questions. Questions serve several functions: they point to holes in our knowledge and memory structures and are critical for indexing the information that we attain when we develop an answer for that question.� (Bain, How We Learn)


S ECTION 1

Internal Dialogue

One of the most powerful cognitive strategies the reader can apply when stepping back and reflecting before, during, and after reading is re-exposing themselves what is being learned with elaboration.

Rules of Consolidation Rule Two: “Re-expose yourself to the information being learned with elaboration” You are elaborating any time you are having an internal dialogue (creating mental images or having a mental conversation with yourself. You are 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 learns. Elaboration refers to any method of "thinking about new ideas and prior knowledge together" so the two become more deeply interconnected. Learning takes place when the new information becomes a part of the existing knowledge network. When elaborated and richly integrated, the new knowledge becomes meaningful and useful. Knowledge can be called "meaningful" only after it is richly interconnected with related knowledge. Knowledge can be called "useful" only if you can access it under appropriate circumstances. Meaningful knowledge is filed and cross referenced with other knowledge to which it is connected. Useful knowledge is filed and cross-referenced in the brain when you 43


use elaboration strategies, so that you can find it when you need it.

Internal Dialogue Stuff to know about Internal Dialogue Bringing Prior Knowledge Into Consciousness Through Internal Dialogue How to Start? The most elementary steps are (1) to learn when and where to use questions and deeper inquiry, (2) initially learn sets of questions to ask to force the seeking of prior experiences, and (3) most important, initially write down the internal dialogue to learn how to get in touch with and strengthen internal dialogue. (1) Questions and (2) Deeper Inquiry Questions 1. Questions: Change headings, subheadings, 1st sentences in paragraphs, and new concepts into questions. 2. Deeper Inquiry Questions That Should Be Built Into moments of Reflection: •What do I already know about what I am reading? •Are there examples and can I think of examples?

•Where is this going? •Can I visualize what I just learned? •Can I change this to another form, a song, poem, painting. Etc. To learn how to get in touch with prior knowledge and develop internal dialogue, the reader must externally express their internal conversation. There are many ways of doing this, but the most straight forward ways are talking about their internal dialogue or writing about their internal dialogue. Writing down their internal dialogue forces the reader to slow down and get in touch with the mental process (thinking about thinking – make thinking visible) while refining those processes at a much deeper level. Internal Dialogue and Organizing Information into Conceptual Frameworks Writing down internal dialogue is a “writing to learn” activity which with practice helps the learner refine their thinking and prepares them for much more meaningful and deeper mind maps. “Writing to learn” is a very important “writing across the curriculum” activity. Practicing writing down their internal dialogue prepares the reader for reading discipline textbooks and, very important, it prepares them for analyzing to use key words for mind mapping and synthesizing to see the relationships necessary to develop a conceptual framework using mind mapping.

•How is this like or different that what I know? 44


Notes to the Instructor that More Mature Students May FInd Interesting: Metacognition (thinking about ones thinking) is not an instinctive process; therefore deliberate efforts must be made by teachers and students to call attention to it when it is occurring. 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 student’s thinking process, which involves much more than simply pointing out when metacognition is occurring (Perkins & Grotzer, 1997). Handelsman etal (2006) refers to metacognition as "the internal dialogue about what is being learned", and state that it includes "the process of setting challenging goals, identifying strategies to meet them, and monitoring progress toward them". The latter two aspects, in addition to addressing student's beliefs about learning, are also the focus of Lovett's approaches to teaching metacognition (Lovett, 2008). (Appalachia Educational Laboratory, 2005) Bransford et al. (2000), warned that educators often make the misguided assumption that because metacognition takes the form of self-imposed 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) Donovan, Bransford, and Pellegrino (1999) describe metacognition as an internal dialogue that in- dividuals develop in order to build skills for predicting learning outcomes and monitoring comprehension. (Gorsky, 2004) Because metacognition often takes the form of an internal dialogue, many students may be unaware of its importance unless the processes are explicitly emphasized by teachers. (Bransford, 1999) Developing Internal Dialogue – SLOW DOWN Metacognition is about helping the reader tae control of their reading – think about their thinking or make their thinking visible. As we have just read, it is a mistake to think that readers will necessarily develop internal dialogue on their own or will 45


learn how to engage in internal dialogue if the processes are not explicitly emphasized by instructors. It is very important that in developing internal dialogue driven by inquiry that the reader slows down and consciously engages in carefully designed inquiry and has an internal conversation with themselves and the text. This is the most difficult part of helping readers develop internal dialogue. Just telling the reader to slow down and ask questions and engage in internal conversation with themselves and the text will not work. Instructional Strategies This module will focus on two instructional strategies that slow the reader down and has them begin to drop their rush to finish reading – a common unproductive reading habit of mind. Students lives are complex and time is a premium, so slowing down initially is hard for them. The first instructional reading strategy is collaborative modeling and scaffolding of a specific set of inquiry questions while reading. The second instructional strategy will focus on a writing to learn strategy – Writing to Learn: Monitoring Internal Dialogue with a specific set of inquiry questions for internal dialogue. The weaker the reader’s internal dialogue, the more valuable the Monitoring Internal Dialogue strategy (second) becomes. Inquiry Questions for Internal Dialogue Here are the core Inquiry Internal Dialogue questions that is the focus for moving surface learning to deep learning:

Internal Dialogue: 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? 5. How has the author organized the information in this reading selection and how does it relate to prior readings? Instructional Strategy 1: Modeling and Scaffolding Inquiry Internal Dialogue Any time a cognitive strategy is used, Inquiry Internal Dialogue questions should be used with it. For example, if the first sentence of a paragraph is changed to a question, the following inquiry questions should be asked. 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?

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5. How has the author organized the information in this reading selection and how does it relate to prior readings? Instructional Strategy 2: Writing to Learn: Monitoring Internal Dialogue (VERY POWERFUL – this is a core activity for slowing down and developing metacognition) In instructional strategy 2, it is important to slow the student down and focus on the information at hand. Instructional Strategy 2 is a writing to learn strategy. * When the reader uses a cognitive strategy such as question or recite, slow down and take the time to answer the inquiry questions before moving on. It take time for this activity to become automatic (build neural networks for the process) Actively promote the development of students’ metacognitive skills “Metacognition refers to thinking about thinking in general, and reflecting on and regulating one’s own thinking and learning in particular. It is a kind of internal dialogue in which the learner monitors his or her own developing skills, understanding of concepts and mental approaches to the learning as it occurs.” (ACT Government: 2004) (School Excellence Initiative, 2004) Provide opportunities for students to have an internal dialogue that mental verbalizes their thinking, which can then be shared with others.

Self-Assessment and Reflection Encouraging reflection and self-assessment helps students develop important metacognitive skills that help them monitor their own thinking and learning. Students learn to think about learning as well as think about thinking. The distinction here is that self-assessment helps students think about how they make sense of the content. Students’ self-assessments and reflections provide valuable feedback to the teacher to inform how students’ ideas have changed or deepened over the course of instruction, how well students are aware of their learning, and the need to further differentiate instruction for individual students. (Keekey, 2008) Metacognition is often an internal dialogue, but the teacher must model this thinking. This is what we do when we say that we are developing independent learners. (roos) Studies of the learning process have found that students are more able to learn complex skills when they can think “metacognitively,” that is, when they think about their own thinking and performance so they can consciously monitor and change it. In fact, studies have found that successful writers engage in an internal dialogue in which they talk to themselves — sometimes even muttering aloud — about audience, purpose, form, and content. They ask and answer for themselves certain questions: Who are they writing for? Why? What do they know and what do they need to find out? They maintain this ongoing internal dialogue as they organize ideas, plan, draft, edit, and revise. Successful writers guide their thinking with meta47


cognitive strategies that help them write purposefully. (Darling-Hammond) Because metacognition often takes the form of an internal dialogue, many students may be unaware of its importance unless the processes are explicitly emphasized by teachers. (Bransford, 1999) Internal dialogue, a form of elaboration, causes the myelin sheath of fat to wrap additional layers of fat around the axon of the neural pathway being entertained making the speed of transmission and processing much faster. Elaboration taps many more dendrites of prior knowledge on other brain cells resulting in elaborate neural networks, which make retrieval faster and expands the amount of information working memory can manipulate when recalled later. This results in deeper learning and greater competence.

Dendrites Myelin Sheath

Axon

Neuron Ends Cell Body “Myelin’s vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers 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 – when we practice cognitive strategies when reading– our myelin responds by wrapping layers around the that 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 movements and thoughts become.” (Coyle, 2010)

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). By having an internal dialogues about what is being learned (reflection), the learner has the opportunity to evaluate new ideas, connect those ideas to knowledge the reader already knows, and results in understanding and long-term retention of concepts so that the ideas become useful. 48


C HAPTER 5

Developing Competence 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)


S ECTION 1

Why Deep Learning Matters This chapter will provide an overview of the thinking strategies and habits of mind for deep learning that are necessary to develop competence in the introductory study of psychology. The following chapters will go into more depth on the application of these thinking strategies and habits of mind. The next three sections will be organized around the thinking strategies and habits of mind for • 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. These processes are the foundation of developing competence in the introductory study of psychology. A Quick History of Reading Instruction

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). Why the Need to Develop Competence? As you just read, teaching isolated skills did little to foster transfer learning. In this college reading course, the key is transfer learning. Transfer learning means that what you learn about dinosaurs must be learned in a way that it can be easily retrieved from memory and can be used in new contexts to make decisions or solve problems.

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Resent research (Bransford, 2001) has found that in order 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, 2002) Thinking Like an Expert Psychologist “Experts (those who have developed competence in their area of inquiry, here it will be psychology) 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).

What Do We Know about College Students and Transfer Learning? 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).

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Transfer learning is the goal of education. Paraphrasing David Conley, developing rigor in a discipline content course such as the study of dinosaurs 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. 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:

“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).

Note: We will be looking at (1) developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge, (2) understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and (3) organizing knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application as though they do not overlap in order to grasp the concepts; however, we they actually work together and will be in actual practice reinforcing one another.

• 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) 52


S ECTION 2

Developing a Deep Foundation of Factual Knowledge Developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge is about learning the concepts in psychology in ways in which the learner recognizes not only how what they are learning is related to what they already know, but also about how the facts and ideas are related to one another. Reflection First, the reader must be attending to what they are reading and mentally stepping back in their minds to evaluate and reflect on the facts and ideas they are reading. Little happens of any depth unless these two aspects of reflection are happening as the reader is reading to learn. When reading, the reader must stop as they read and reflect on what they are learning or they will not store the information in the prefrontal cortex, which is the seat of planning, problem-solving, decision-making,, and application. Reflection enables the learner to take control learning when thinking strategies are applied during reflection.

Dendrites Myelin Sheath

Axon

Neuron Ends Cell Body “Myelin’s vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers 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 – when we practice cognitive strategies when reading– our myelin responds by wrapping layers around the that 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 movements and thoughts become.” (Coyle, 2010)

Thinking Strategies During those moments of reflection is when the most advantage of thinking strategies can take place. For developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge, it is important that strategies be used that move what is bing learned to long-term memory and the Rules of Consolidation are essential. The rules of consolidation tell you how and when to apply the rules. They are mental strategies that the learner initiates when there is something important to learn and forgetting needs to be minimized.

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Myelination: a process for speeding up the transmission and processing of information, and for strengthening memory, which help ensure that a deep foundation of factual knowledge is achieved.

Dendrites Myelin Sheath

Axon

Neuron Ends Cell Body “Myelin’s vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers 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 – when we practice cognitive strategies when reading– our myelin responds by wrapping layers around the that 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 movements and thoughts become.” (Coyle, 2010)

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S ECTION 3

Understanding Facts and Ideas in the Context of a Conceptual Framework Understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework is the key to transfer learning and the goal of education. The Learner Needs a Conceptual Framework or Big Picture

It is the organizing of knowledge that expands its potential meanings. The brain seeks to interconnect all new experience with prior knowledge and everything the learner can do to help organize information for the brain makes it easier to retrieve and more applicable in new situation. Mind Maps Mind mapping is a learning tool for graphically organizing information to show connections and relationships. For example, psychological disorders are defined around abnormal behavior; Below is a mind map of the meaning of abnormal behavior.

It is essential that the learner either brings a conceptual framework of prior knowledge, or that they build one with the help of the textbooks’s author, or with help from the instructor or all the preceding to the learning experience; otherwise learning is shallow. For example, the psychology textbook the introductions in each chapter can provide the context for learning facts and ideas presented in later in each chapter. This provides you as the learner the opportunity to broadly define overarching concepts about psychology and systematically organize them so that later learning can be deeper and transferable. You will learn how to use graphic organizers to visually develop a conceptual framework within which all new facts and ideas relate.

Thinking

Abnormal Behavior Social Interaction

Mental Illness

Behavior

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Below is a mind map of the criteria for determining if a behavior is abnormal. Together with the definition of abnormal behavior, they form the conceptual framework within which the learner will try to understand the facts, ideas, and specific psychological disorders (for example, anxiety disorders) presented in the chapter on psychological disorders. Mapping is also a way to organize knowledge that facilitates retrieval and application.

Chunking - The brain learns complex routines by automatically grouping information into chunks. Chunking enables learners to compare two chunks easily instead of having to compare dozens items. “Becoming an expert in any field seems to involve creating large numbers of chunks, which enables you to make faster and better decisions. “Having an explicit understanding of this process rather than just doing it implicitly will help you chunk more often and more efficiently” (Rock).

Deviant atypical behavior

To make a mind map more effective the follow these 10 basic components:

Criteria Abnormal Personally distressful long period of time

It is the conceptual framework that breathes excitement, curiosity, and adventure in the learning process. Without a conceptual framework within which to understand, words are just so much noise; however, with the “big questions” there are no limits to the creativity of the human mind.

1 .A map will begin with a subject at its center.

Behavior Maladaptive can’t function effectively

2. The use of color(s) is very helpful. 3. Branch off the center with key words or images 4.Use lower case print key word, and to make an idea stand out, use UPPER CASE PRINT

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5. Important: each key word should have its own branch (line). 6. All branches must be connected. 7. The length of a branch should be the same length as the key word. 8. The use of color for different branches is very helpful to recall of the information. 9. Use a visualization, such as a picture or drawing. 10. Map is neat. All printing right side up. Some Quick Notes on Mind Mapping Mind mapping is important whether you do it mentally or on paper as it represents the conceptual framework you are developing about concepts in psychology. For most learners, it is best to learn and practice making mind map of the concepts being developed about concepts in psychology on paper and then later learn to mind map mentally. Some quick DOs and DON’Ts When Constructing a Mind Map to Maximize Learning DO: If something is important enough to learn, learn it using the Rules of Consolidation, the Core Cognitive Strategies, and The Internal Dialogue Inquiry questions immediately – always before mapping it.

DO NOT: Never put anything on a mind map until you can explain the concept being learned in your own words (reciting). Note: One of the biggest mistakes students make while mind mapping text selections is identifying what is important to learn and then copying it to their maps before they have used the learning strategies to learn the information. Understanding is not learning. Do: Always, before moving on to construct the next major branch off the center of the mind map, make sure you can: See the mind map you have constructed in your mind’s eye without looking at the map, and Can explain in your own words what the information on the mind map means. John Bransford in his book on human learning summed it up best; “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)

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

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C HAPTER 6

Reflection is Key It is about Reflection “Reflection is a meaning-making process that moves a learner from one experience (in this case reading) into the next with deeper understanding of its relationships with and connections to other experiences and ideas. It is the thread that makes continuity of learning possible” (Carol on Dewey, 2012). The first thing you should know is that stopping and reflecting as you read is essential for the information you are learning while reading to move to that part of your brain which enables you to meet the overarching goals of this course. That part of the brain is called the prefrontal cortex and it is where you make decisions. The prefrontal cortex, the part of the frontal lobes lying just behind the forehead, is often referred to as the “CEO of the brain.”


S ECTION 1

Reflection

what you read in later reasoning in new situations and (2) to make later related learning easier” will call upon you to learn mental processes (thinking about your thinking) that fall under three categories. - Developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge.

Other Information You Need to Know About This Reading Course The Goals The goal of the course is about more than understanding what you read. The overarching goals are to be able to (1) use mental processes that enable you to use what you read in later reasoning in new situations and to (2) make later related learning easier. Mental Processes The primary mental processes used in this course will be reflection - slowing down while reading, thinking about what you are reading, and applying mental processes in those moments of reflection that enable you to reach the goal stated above. The course is about those moments of reflection while reading in which you will be asked inquire (ask questions) about your understanding of what you have just read and apply mental processes that enable you to reach the goal above. The goal of “being able (1) to use mental processes that enable you to use

- Understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework. - Organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application.

A Few Notes About Reflection “Reflection is a meaning-making process that moves a learner from one experience (in this case reading) into the next with deeper understanding of its relationships with and connections to other experiences and ideas. It is the thread that makes continuity of learning possible” (Carol on Dewey, 2012). Reflecting on what you are reading is the core mental process of this reading course. The first thing you should know is that stopping and reflecting as you read is essential for the information you are learning while reading to move to that part of your brain which enables you to meet the overarching goals of this course, that is the goals of “being able (1) to use what you read in later reasoning 60


in new situations and (2) to make later related learning easier.” That part of the brain is called the prefrontal cortex and it is where you make decisions. The prefrontal cortex, the part of the frontal lobes lying just behind the forehead, is often referred to as the “CEO of the brain.”

• Impulse control and delaying gratification

• Focusing attention

• Simultaneously considering multiple streams of information when faced with complex and challenging information (Wikipedia)

• Organizing thoughts and problem solving • Foreseeing and weighing possible consequences of behavior

• Modulation of intense emotions • Inhibiting inappropriate behavior and initiating appropriate behavior

You can see why this is so important. Memorizing definitions, for instance, does not move that being memorized to the prefrontal cortex unless the learner understands the meaning of the definition; that is where reflection or reflecting on that being learned comes in.

• Considering the future and making predictions • Forming strategies and planning • Ability to balance short-term rewards with long term goals • Shifting/adjusting behavior when situations change 61


S ECTION 2

Reflection: Stepping Back Mentally

This chapter is about what learners can do during those moments of reflection when the brain is focused on what the reader needs to do while reading to consolidate newly learned information into long-term memory - reflection. John Medina has pulled the findings on the most important mental processes that a learner should engage in during moments of reflection. Daniel Coyle has illustrated how the brain increases mental processing and transmission, as well as recall when core mental processes are applied during those moments of reflection. David Rock has created a metaphor that illustrates mindfulness (metacognition or thinking about thinking) in working memory. This chapter will offer practical strategies and habits of mind that readers have to learn - they have to be learned. Ken Bain has discovered what successful college students do in those moments of reflection while learning. All of these contributions help us move closer to understanding the strategies (decision-making processes) that are essential to deep learning in those temporal spaces between understanding and making new learning useful. It is the stepping back and observing one thinking (reflection) that is the foundation upon which deep learning builds. Stepping back and reflecting is about taking control of learning while reading. Reflection gives us the space of mind in which we can consider various options for learning and then choose the most appropriate ones. This process of awareness is referred to by many names - metacognition, reflection, mindfulness; however, they all refer to actively taking control of ones thinking while learning. 62


The rest of this paper focuses on why students need to reflect and what they need to do mentally while reflecting.

If the end buds find other dendrites of related knowledge, a new dendrite grows. That new dendrite is learning. Dendrites Axon

Dendrites are Learning The neuron (brain cell) is the first of two illustrations you will learn that will help you understand how learning occurs in the brain. In later chapters when you see the illustration that on the following page; it will remind you about how the brain learns and that you have control over what is happening when you read to learn. The first drawing on the opposite page is of a neuron (brain cell). Looking from left to right at the first drawing, the filament-like structures are dendrites. New information enter the brain cell through these dendrites and travel through the cell body and down the axon to the end buds. If the signal finds information in other brain cells (their dendrites are prior learning) that is related to the new information, then a dendrite grows (learning) on the dendrite of related information (prior knowledge). See second drawing at the bottom of the opposite page. No learning occurs unless new information being learned interconnects with the learner’s prior knowledge. This fact will be the foundation for understanding how learning occurs when one uses learning strategies to learn when reading.

Neuron Ends Cell Body

Rule 1: New dendrites, synapse, and neural networks grow only from what is already there. However, understanding is not enough. Dendrites begin to be reabsorbed in the brain almost immediately. During the reading process, the reader has to be able to step back and think about what they are learning as they are learning. This is called reflection, mindfulness, or metacognition. It is an internal dialogue (mental conversation) about the meaning being constructed as the brain looks for prior knowledge (previously constructed dendrites). There are a number of cognitive strategies that the reader can employ during reflection to move newly learned information to long-term memory. If the learner deliberately practices these cognitive strategies, the strategies themselves move to long-term memory and become automatic. When this happens, the strategies are referred to as metacognitive strategies. The ultimate goal is learn how to 63


use cognitive strategies during reflection (those moments of reflection during reading when the reader momentarily observes their own thinking) often enough for these strategies to become automatic. If they do not become automatic, working memory does not have enough capacity to store and manipulate what the reader is learning and it is forgotten or not stored deeply enough to be recalled easily. Reflection Let’s take a look at an example of using a cognitive strategy As the mature reader continues to read, they will step back and reflect on what they are learning - what they already know about what they are reading and/or how they might be able to use this information. Reflection is an ongoing process while reading; it is not just reflecting after reading; that is key to metacognition - thinking about ones own thinking as one are learning. What is the Key Cognitive Strategy? The key cognitive strategy around which all other cognitive strategies are built is re-exposure to the new information with elaboration. This is what the reader above was doing in a moment of reflection about sole proprietorships. The learner must re-expose themselves to the new information frequently and with internal dialogue on what they are learning. (Medina)

Six internal dialogue questions that readers need to learn to use as part of their internal dialogue for establishing a metacognitive approach to learning while reading are: 1.     What do I already know about what I am reading? (learning – constructing meaning) 2.     How is what I am reading reinforce or contradict what I already know (compare and contrast)? 3.     What do concepts (terminology) introduced in textbooks have in common? (analyzing) 4.     How are 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) What Has Happened in the Brain? Before we continue lets’ take a look at what is happening in the brain in order to have a deeper understanding about why the reader needs to be reflecting and applying cognitive strategies when reading.

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The reader must be paying attention to what is being read as paying attention to what is being read is what is in the reader’s working memory. Working memory is those areas of the brain that stores and manipulates new information that the reader is holding in awareness at any moment. It is where cognitive strategies are applied to move new information to long-term memory where it can be later retrieved to be used in new situations. David Rock uses the Stage Metaphor to help one visually grasp what is happening. Let’s look at what the Stage Metaphor represents (see picture on opposite page). First the Stage Metaphor has a stage and the stage represents working memory. Working memory is where information you are reading is stored temporarily (20 to 30 seconds) before it is forgotten. Even more limiting, working memory can only hold about 4 unrelated items of information before new information starts to replace those items. In the stage metaphor there are actors, who represent new information the reader is encountering. Also in the Stage Metaphor is the audience, which represents prior knowledge. The Stage Metaphor also has stage hands, who represent learning strategies that the reader will need to manipulate the actors and audience once they are on the stage.

The$Stage:$metaphor$for$prefrontal$cortex$ Actor:$New$ informa,on$ Stage:$ Prefrontal$ Cortex$–$ where$ decisions$ are$made$

Prior$ Knowledge$

Learning$ StrategiesThe$ Stage$Metaphor$

ReCexpose$ 20<30$ seconds$to$do$ something:$ think$about$ thinking$

THE$STAGE$ Working$Memory$

Elaborate$

Internal$ Dialogue$

QuesJon$

Time$ Interval$ Recite$

Audience:$Prior$Knowledge$C$ dendrites$

We$learned$in$SecJon$1$is$that$no$learning$occurs$unless$new$ informaJon$is$Jed$to$what$the$reader$already$knows.$What$ the$reader$already$knows$is$referred$to$as$prior%knowledge.$

THE STAGE METAPHOR Videos (Working Memory) The Stage Metaphor: Part 1 (8 ½ minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SMwwmAympY (Explanation of The Stage Metaphor – what does the learner need to do between new information coming into the brain and growing and strengthening dendrites of new learning. These four videos construct the overarching goals (conceptual framework) of CMS 185.

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The Stage Metaphor: Part 2 (9 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrv4Pv78fpc (Continuation of explanation of The Stage Metaphor – what does the learner need to do between new information coming into the brain and growing and strengthening dendrites of new learning.) Thinking The Stage Strategies: Part 3 (7 ½ minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-bA8Opvr-8 (Examples of how The Stage Metaphor can be used to learn to think metacognitively to apply learning strategies) Thinking The Stage Strategies: Part 4 (8 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwtd8N3bD90

The Point The point of the Stage Metaphor is to remind the reader when they are reading to learn that they have very little time to store and manipulate new information you are reading before it disappears. It reminds them that reading just hoping to remember what they are reading just because it was read just doesn’t work. It reminds them that they must try and connect new information to prior knowledge before learning occurs. It reminds them that they must do something mentally if they want learn in a way that makes the information useful to them

later. For example, asking oneself what you already know about what you are learning. The Observer in Metacognition “In the stage metaphor, the actors represent conscious information. The audience members represent information in your brain just below conscious awareness, such as memories and habits (prior knowledge). Then there is the director. The director is a metaphor for the part of your awareness that stands outside of experience. This director can watch the show that is your life, make decisions about how your brain will respond, and even sometimes alter the script. This self-awareness is our ability to pause before we react, Seigel explains. “It gives us the space of mind in which we can consider various options and then choose the most appropriate ones.” Knowledge of your brain is one thing, but you also need to be aware of what your brain is doing at any moment for any knowledge to be useful. People who score high on a mindfulness scale are more aware of their unconscious processes. Additionally these people have more cognitive control, and a greater ability to shape what they do and what they say than do people lower on the mindfulness scale.  Activating your director (the part of ones mind that observes what ones brain is doing) is hard to do when there is a lot going on or when you feel under pressure. Teasdale explains, “Mindfulness is a habit, it’s something the more one does the 66


more likely one is to be in that mode with less and less effort…. It’s a skill that can be learned. It’s assessing something we already have. Mindfulness isn’t difficult. What’s difficult is to remember to be mindful”

stop and separate yourself from an automatic train of thought. In other words, you discovered that being able to notice your own thinking process itself was central to knowing and changing your brain” (Rock).

How do you remember to be mindful easily? It should be primed in your brain, something that’s at the top of your mind because it was a recent experience. One of the best ways of having your director handy is practicing using your director regularly. A number of studies now show that people who practice activating their director do change the structure of their brains. They thicken specific regions of the cortex involved in cognitive control and switching attention.” (Rock)

Awareness and control occur in working memory where new information being learned is temporarily stored and manipulated. The learner must bring to their conscious awareness (focus on) the new information being learned and at the same time the learner must bring into conscious awareness relevant background information and then deploy cognitive strategies to manipulate what is being learned. Until that happens, new information being learned is quickly forgotten. If the learner is successful in holding new information in conscious awareness and at the same time bringing to that awareness relevant prior knowledge, and deploys cognitive strategies to manipulate what is being learned, then new learning will move to long-term memory.

“You need to keep the director right on the front of the audience, so he can jump right on stage fast when needed. Having a director close to the stage helps keep your actors in line. A your director notices your brain’s quirks in real time, you get better at putting words to experiences, which makes you faster at identifying subtle patterns as they occur. This skill increases your ability to make subtle changes.  Ax your mind makes changes in brain functioning in real time, you become more adaptive, responding in the most helpful way to every challenge that comes along” (Rock). “About the Director – we’ve learned that being able to step outside your experience and observe your mental function, which comes from an ability to focus attention in the moment, openly. It is clear that the ability to notice your own mental process in this way has a dramatic impact on your capacity to

Note, that to succeed the learner has to be able to mentally step back and observe the learning process as it is occurring in the brain. This is metacognition and it has to be taught. The mature reader seeking sole proprietorships in bold print would mentally step back and reflect on what t know about sole proprietorships immediately; as they continued reading, they would step back and reflect on what they now about people who own their own businesses or business that have own owner; as they continued reading they would mentally step back and reflect on what main types of businesses are in other 67


countries. Learning how to do this takes deliberate practice before it becomes automatic and there are a number of mental activities that the readier can use during reflection, which we will look at later. Let’s look at why in any reading course most of the time should be spent learning how to reflect and deliberately practice reflecting to become efficient at reflecting and applying cognitive strategies when learning. The Myelin Sheath Recall that the key cognitive strategy around which all other cognitive strategies are built is re-exposure to the new information with elaboration. This is what the reader above was doing in a moment of reflection about sole proprietorships. The learner must re-expose themselves to the new information frequently and with internal dialogue on what they are learning. (Medina) Here is what happens in the brain when the learner reexposes themselves to the new information, especially with elaboration (ex. internal dialogue). See drawing below to follow the explanation to follow:

Dendrites Myelin Sheath

Axon

Neuron Ends Cell Body “Myelin’s vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers 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 – when we practice cognitive strategies when reading– our myelin responds by wrapping layers around the that 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 movements and thoughts become.” (Coyle, 2010)

The Myelin Sheath The Myelin Sheath of a neuron consists of fat-containing cells that insulate the axon from electrical activity. This insulation acts to increase the rate of transmission of signals. Think of the myelin sheath as an insulator, which promotes electrical transmission and as a result strengthens neural pathway. The more myelin the circuit attracts, the stronger and faster its signal strength becomes. It turns out that myelin, not the nerves, is what builds the speed, precision and timing that creates great learners. 68


The Point 1. All strong learning strategies help the learner interconnect new information to the learner’s prior knowledge, which results in growing new dendrites (learning). 2. New dendrites formed by new learning start to be reabsorbed by the brain (forgetting) if they are not strengthened. The most powerful learning strategies increase the size of the myelin sheath (by re-exposure with elaboration) around the axons in the neural pathways leading to the new learning (dendrites). These strategies always involve reexposing the learner to the newly learned information with elaboration. Elaboration means that the learner attempts with every re-exposure to the new learning to in some way have an dialogue about what they are learning that ties what they are learning to what they already know. For example, saying what is being learned in the learner’s own words. The Reflection Strategies The following is going to rely heavily on the strategies that Ken Bain found when researching what the best college students do. In order to set the stage for what these students do and how reading instruction must step away from teaching isolated skill units, let’s look at how learning works in the real world.

Ken observed that “Our best students engage in all the cognitive strategies at the same time, They remember, understand, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate as they read. many college professors; however, organize their courses as if that list of mental activities has to be conquered in order rather than in an integrated fashion. They insist that students memorize large bodies of information before thinking about the data. But the human brain doesn’t work that way” (Bain, 2012). Reading instruction is often taught as if these mental activities are isolated separate; they are not and readers need to learn to engage in all the cognitive strategies at the same time as they are needed. Bain’s research support john Medina, Daniel Coyle, David Rocks finding about learning that we have just explored. and he put it in a nutshell as follows: “What does the research tell us about how best to review material? Elaborate, elaborate, elaborate, Associate, associate, associate. Make connections, Ask questions, Evaluate. Play with words (new concepts) in your own mind. Have fun. Develop an understanding before trying to remember. Understanding requires a deep network of associations, and it is those intricate strands of connection that make recall even possible” (Bain, 2012). While reading, “Repeat, repeat, repeat” (Bain, 2012). “Consider how the brain works. When you encounter something new - let’s say a new work - you will begin to forget it im69


mediately, and a day later you might not recall it at all. but a second exposure will extend the time you can remember” (Bain, 2012). Think of reflection while reading as enhancing the chances of recalling what is being learned as you are reading by reflecting and applying cognitive strategies. “Repetition will pay the greatest rewards if done in the midst of meaningful and elaborated work” (Bain, 2012). “Testing is better than rehearsing.” (Bain, 2012). A cognitive strategy during reflection is asking yourself if you really understood the information and can say explain the information in your own words. Self-testing understanding while reading and immediately following the introduction of a new concept is very powerful and necessary. This needs to be practiced until it is automatic. Guessing and Predicting Guessing and predicting before and as one is reading during moments of reflection is a powerful strategy. It is counterintuitive, but effective. Let’s look at some research Ken Bain reported, “Suppose you begin by just guessing and getting something wrong. Will that help as much as trying to recall the correct answers? Shouldn’t you at least study first before attempting to remember something? If you just guess wildly before someone tells you the right answer (or read the right answer), you will undoubtedly get it wring, and wouldn’t that practice of incorrect information diminish your learning? Quite the contrary, argues some recent research. IN experiments at the University of California at LosAngeles. Students

were asked guess at a response first before seeing the correct one. The others studies first. THose who had generated possible answers, even though they were all wrong, scored significantly higher than those who had spent their time reviewing the material first. Other studies got the same results, even when those who read first had “copies of the article that highlighted and italicized all the material that would be on the exam.. Those who speculated first didn’t get the paper and they did significantly better on the final exam” (Bain, 2012). Guessing and predicting before reading and while reading prime those neural pathways of related information makes the construction of meaning more likely. Being wrong and making mistakes alerts the brain to pay attention and that attention is shifted to the correct answer. Bain recommends, “Speculate, sometimes wildly, about possible solutions and connections Related to this ideas is contrast. Contrasts: Comparing and Contrasting During Reflection Contrast - the brain sends signals down well worn pathways when learning; however, the brain learns by contrast Brain, Comparing/Contrasting, and Learning

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The Brain is a Natural Pattern Recognizer 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). In the 1990s a committee of the National Research Council, led by John Bransford, Ann Brown, and Rodney Cocking concluded that metacognition is a key factor in learning that should be deliberately cultivated. They emphasized the particularly important role that metacognition plays in promoting transfer learning. That is, students can more readily apply knowledge acquired in one context to another context if they have more awareness of themselves as learners, if they moni-

tor their strategies and resources, and if they assess their readiness for tests and other performances” (Linda Baker). Think about what the following processes have in common: Consider the following processes that are often taught in isolation; however, following the pattern seeking nature of the brain, understanding and then using the the power of seeking contrasts as a cognitive strategy during reflection while reading can amp up learning. 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. Analogy - comparison of two or more objects Metaphor – implied comparison between two unlike things Simile - comparison of two unlike things that are alike in one way They all compare and contrast. 71


Then think about what elaborative strategies have in common when reflecting; here are a few:

Internal Dialogue (Comparing and Contrasting)

Reciting – comparing and contrasting new information with prior knowledge expressing new learning in the language of new and prior knowledge.

Below are six internal compare and contrast dialogue questions that readers need to learn to use as part of their internal dialogue for establishing a metacognitive approach to learning while reading.

Writing to Learn -(clarifying and organizing) by comparison

1.     What do I already know about what I am reading? (learning – constructing meaning)

Questioning (Inquiry) -  triggers prior knowledge in preparation for comparing new and prior knowledge

2.     How is what I am reading reinforce or contradict what I already know (compare and contrast)?

Metacognition and Developing Internal Dialogue& Compare and Contrast

3.     What do concepts (terminology) introduced in textbooks have in common? (analyzing)

Handelsman etal (2006) refers to metacognition as "the internal dialogue about what is being learned", and state that it includes "the process of setting challenging goals, identifying strategies to meet them, and monitoring progress toward them". (Lovett, 2008). (Appalachia Educational Laboratory, 2005) Donovan, Bransford, and Pellegrino (1999) describe metacognition as an internal dialogue that individuals develop in order to build skills for predicting learning outcomes and monitoring comprehension. (Gorsky, 2004)

4.     How are 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? (mentally mind mapping – systematically organizing – deductive reasoning - synthesizing) 7. Helping Novice learners to Take Actively Control of Their Thinking - Reciprocal Teaching

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Reciprocal teaching can take many forms but at its essence it refers to an instructional activity that takes place in the form of a dialogue between teachers and students regarding segments of text. In its initial form the purpose of reciprocal teaching is to facilitate a group effort between teacher and students as well as among students in the task of bringing meaning to the text. Within the context of developing in an area of inquiry, the purpose goes beyond constructing meaning to also to including incorporating mental processes within those moments of reflection that foster developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge, understanding facts and ideas i the context of a conceptual framework, while organizing knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. Effective reciprocal teaching lessons include scaffolding, in which the instructor models reflection while reading aloud (explaining the thinking about thinking that is going on as the instructor reads and then gradually increasing having the student model reflective thinking aloud until the instructor is out of the process. Many students are unaware or are only vaguely aware that they can observe their own thinking and that old habits of reading through sentence after sentence through a reading selection are very inefficient. Reflection has to be taught and deliberately practiced until the neural networks are fully developed and the myelin sheath on neuron axons make the process automatic at which time the cognitive strategies become metacognitive strategies.

Scaffolding Process In the scaffolding process, the instructor points out aloud all the reflective thinking going on while reading; however, the instructor can focus specifically on (draw attention to) any one of the cognitive strategies he or she is employing in the reading process to emphasize and have the student model. For example, if the focus is on inquiry such as how is what I am reading like or different than what I already know the instructor will pay particular attention to passages that compare and contrast. For example if the reading passages are comparing normal and abnormal behavior in a psychology text, the instructor will model the active reflection of noting the comparison. The instructor will note any of the following comparison pattern of organization as he or she model reflecting. 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.

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Analogy - comparison of two or more objects Metaphor â&#x20AC;&#x201C; implied comparison between two unlike things Simile - comparison of two unlike things that are alike in one way

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C HAPTER 7

Psychology Terminology The reader will run into lots of unfamiliar terminology when reading about psychology and pronunciation may at first be difficult. Always check your glossary in the back of the text to see pronunciation.


S ECTION 1

Terminology

Rules of Consolidation You will read about how to store new information in longterm memory using many mental strategies, but for now letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s get a little introduction so that you can be using the rules for remembering long-term. Rule 1: Re-expose yourself to the names as often as possible. Rule 2: Always try to connect the terminology word to a picture of the concept.

Sometimes readers have difficulty pronouncing and/ or learning new words in psychology. Below are a couple sources of help: Dinosaur Name Pronunciation If you would like to hear the pronunciation of a word, you can go to the following web link and type in the word you would like to hear pronounced. (have speaker turned on). http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=psychology&sub mit=Submit Imitation When the instructor says the name, repeat it to yourself.

Rule 3: Re-exposing yourself to the terminology word with elaboration is very powerful. Elaboration is doing anything to connect what is being learned to prior knowledge and an excellent strategy is to have a conversation with yourself about the concept while using and pronouncing the name as often as possible. Rule 4: Be sure to do this when you first encounter the word and again between 90 minutes and two hour and the next day. Vocabulary and reading comprehension are closely linked because of the relationship between words and conceptual knowledge (Beck, Perfetti, & McKeown, 1982). Concept knowledge is an understanding of ideas, whereas words are labels for these ideas.â&#x20AC;¨ (Education.Com) 76


Adaptive Reading Concept Development

Reading to Learn Conceptual Framework

Before we begin exploring developing college-level vocabulary in the psychology class, we need to make a decision about the goal of reading in the psychology class. 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 (paleontology) 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 expanding vocabulary. When learning terminology related to understanding ideas in psychology, it is essential that mental connections be made with what you already know abut dinosaurs.

All reading strategies will fall into the following three categories of developing competence in paleontology.

Contributing to the Construction of Meaning Because construction of meaning in textbook reading is more than memorizing isolated vocabulary, meaning construction and learning demand interconnections to prior knowledge, which is dependent on (1) developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge to draw upon, that must be (2) understood in the context of a conceptual framework, and (3) organized in ways that facilitate retrieval and application.

Concept: Develop a Deep Foundation of Factual Knowledge To develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge, readers have to have strategies for moving new information from working memory to long-term memory – Rules of Consolidation. Concept: Understand Facts and Ideas in a the Context of a Conceptual Framework 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. The reader must be able to recognize, and where needed, construct the conceptual framework for the content being learned – cognitive strategies, inquiry, and internal dialogue – Rules of Consolidation. Concept: Organize Knowledge in Ways that Facilitate Retrieval and Application Developing competence in an area of inquiry depends on developing neural networks of interconnections that facilitate retrieval and application – writing to elaborate by organizing and clarifying (reading journals, etc.), creating graphic repre77


sentations of the organization of content – Rules of Consolidation. Distinguishing Between Concepts, Terminology and Vocabulary What is a Concept? A general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences. For example, the concept of “abnormal behavior” developed from many observations by psychologist from many sources that were deviant (atypical), maladaptive (can’t function normally), and personally distressful (over a long period of time). 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. “College textbooks have organization that reflects the logic of the discipline represented or patterns that dominate thinking in the field.” (Caverly, 1999) What is Vocabulary? 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. Psychology Terminology Needs to be Understood in the context of a Conceptual Framework: What We Know about the Clues Authors Provide for Developing a Conceptual Framework: 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 78


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. College Textbooks are Organized Around Conceptual Frameworks College textbooks are organized around conceptual frameworks within which writers select topics (subject(s) they want to write about) and support them with details. Finding the main idea by reading a paragraph and identifying the topic and supporting details alone is not sufficient for understanding the topics and supporting details within the context of a conceptual framework. In fact, it can isolate topics and details and fail to make connections within a conceptual framework. Textbooks are organized within a conceptual framework group of concepts that are defined and systematically organized to provide a focus, a rationale, and a tool for integrating

and interpreting information. See conceptual framework for The Family (pp. 267-271 in College Reading). Conceptual Framework and Prior Knowledge Among the more solid research on learning is the fact that to learn, the learner must connect what they are learning to what they already know. Note: New information only becomes “useful” once it has been interconnected to prior knowledge; it is the further interconnection with conceptual frameworks that make the information “useful” (transferrable to new situations). Note: 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. 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).

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C HAPTER 8

Willingness to Stay on Task Perplexity is created when an individual encounters a situation whose â&#x20AC;&#x153;whole character is not yet determined.) That is the meaning is not yet established. The internal experience for the learner is one of disequilibrium an unsettledness. It is the yearning for balance that in turn drives the learner to something to resolve it namely, to start the process of inquiry, or reflectionâ&#x20AC;? (Rodgers).


S ECTION 1

Ages 17-25: the Known, but Unaddressed Most people easily give up and only identify the generalized ideas from specific readings - failing to creatively adapt these new concepts to inform new ways of thinking and acting.” (Chapman, 2013)

Many of the17 to 25 year old students we are seeing in our reading courses have learned to look for facts and correct answers, or as Sandra Chapman notes, “These students have been taught in a mechanistic rote style of stuffing away facts for a test and have built very different brains than those trained to abstract, synthesize, and connect meaning to their own world and other vast knowledge sources.” Or as she further notes, learning that focuses on the search for the correct answer does not necessarily lead to expanding curiosity and enhanced capacity to stole complex problems. “In other words, the emphasis on speed of information access may be weakening your brain fitness at a time when you should be strengthening your brain’s strategic and deeper thinking capacity.”

Too often, the focus of instruction in reading is on reading to acquire facts, which shortcuts the development of higher-level cognitive capacity. The brain of the 17-25 year old is undergoing more changes that at “any other time except for the first two months of life. The years between 17 and 25 are a critical time for developing the fundamentally necessary strategicthinking skills to guide them for a lifetime, because their brain’s frontal lobe is primed to undergo rapid development. The caveat is that it now appears that this higher-level cognitive capacity does not unfold on its own but requires proper stimulation, exposure, and training to fully develop” (Chapman, 2013). Three Key Frontal Lobe Processes The Center for BrainHealth has identified three key frontal lobe processes that are responsible for higher-order brain function: strategic attention, integrated reasoning, and mental flexibility. Strategic Attention - “How proficient are you at strategically evaluating information? Blocking information and avoiding distractions have become increasingly more difficult. It seems adults today literally strive to be distracted, unable to allow a solo entry of input for even brief lengths of time” Integrated Reasoning - “What is the status of your current capacity to apply new information across situations? How often do you absorb new content and quickly synthesize the meanings for a vast richness of generalized applications? To succeed in a competitive work environment, one must have 81


knowledge of facts and an ability to appropriately apply ideas and content at a more global context to strategically direct key changes in course and actions, and an ability to dynamically switch between the two. Switching, or quickly shifting focus between details at hand to bigger issues, is essential to successful brain function whether in the workplace, service of others, or home environments” (Chapman, 2013). One can see why this co-requisite reading course is organized around the research findings of John Bransford for developing competence in an area of inquiry: • 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.

It is this foundation that is necessary for transfer learning to new situations. and for the research findings responsible for higher order function - innovation. It is the switching between factual knowledge and understanding in the context of the larger conceptual framework, while organizing new knowledge that develops brainpower. Innovation - is the ability to generate and exploit new ideas to solve problems; to seek, devise, and employ improved ways of dealing with unknown and unfamiliar contexts; or to create something that is original and valuable.

“Imagination is more important that knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. “ - Einstein

Innovative brain building: Brain networks strengthen in response to new challenges or wither with status quo thinking at all ages. - Chapman

“Innovation and mental flexibility require embracing and learning from mistakes and challenges - overcoming insurmountable odds. Paradoxically, the tendency to not get stopped or stuck by failure is the fuel that leads to the greatest advances in these areas. The brainpower of paradox is enhanced when one reflects on a completed task and perceives the holes, and then dynamically and flexibly reworks and reinvents for a better product/output.” “Why do these three areas - strategic attention, integrated reasoning, and innovation - matter so much? These cognitive areas are the foundation to achieve brain efficiency, ensure mental productivity, maximize brain-power.” (Chapman, 2013). The key is to constantly push your cognitive performance to construct something novel and abstract. Chapman

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“Cognitive brain health depends not on how much information a person takes in but rather how deep the person is reinterpreting and creating new meaning from information” (Chapman, 2013). A Strategic Brain What is a strategic brain? When you use your brain strategically. It filters information by deliberately sorting input and output. The approach is two-pronged: (1) attending to unnecessarily essential information while (2) filtering out extraneous data that is less critical to the task at hand. In contract, a nonstrategic brain takes in all information” (Chapman, 2013). IMPORTANT: Chapman’s research found, “when one focuses on remembering the minute details, it may adversely affect the ability to engage in more strategic abstract thinking. In essence, trying to remember as many details as possible can actually work against being selective about what you let into the brain” or as Bransford would say, “Understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework.” Once again, “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)

“You can rewire your frontal lobe connectivity by constantly thinking in challenging, complex ways.” (Chapman, 2013) Putting it All into Practice Example, once again let’s look at how • developing a deep foundation of factual knowledge, • understanding facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and • organizing knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application contribute to higher-level thinking. Example of Transfer or Application: Without understanding anorexia nervosa in the context of the larger conceptual framework of psychological disorders (merely memorizing the definition), future transfer may not occur, problems cannot be solved or decisions made. To illustrate how understanding new concepts (anorexia nervosa) in the context of the conceptual framework enables transfer learning, take the following example: Sue is to be married in two months. She is restlessly pursuing thinness by eating as little as she can. Does she have a psychological disorder or an eating disorder? This illustrates how understanding in the context of a conceptual framework provides the big picture for learning, making associations, and making interconnections between new information and prior knowledge, which is the foundation of constructing meaning. Application Answer: As one can see, Sue’s behavior does not fit the criteria for being a psychological disorder as it is not deviant 83


(atypical), maladaptive (interferes with her functioning in the world), not does it involves personal distress over a long period of time. The key to answering the question hinged on understanding the concept of anorexia nervosa in the context of the larger conceptual framework of understanding what abnormal behavior is and how the criteria for determining if an abnormal behavior is a psychological disorder. This requires a switching back and forth between facts and the larger picture of psychological disorders.

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S ECTION 2

Getting Unstuck: Yearning for Balance

Key: Recognizing When We are Stuck and Sticking with it Until We are Unstuck Stuck “Perplexity is created when an individual encounters a situation whose “whole (understanding) is not yet determined.That is the meaning is not yet established. The internal experience for the learner is one of disequilibrium an unsettledness. It is the yearning for balance that in turn drives the learner to something to resolve it - namely, to start the process of inquiry, or reflection” (Rodgers). Getting Unstuck: Caring and Wanting to Take the Time to Explore Why One is Stuck “A source of motivation is curiosity, without which there is little energy for the hard work of reflection: “until we understand, we are, if we have curiosity, troubled, baffled, and hence moved to inquire” (Dewey, 1933).) The trick is once stymied, caring or wanting to take the time to explore why one is stymied. “Curiosity, in contrast, bespeaks of a positive, wideeyed attitude toward both one’s own learning and other’s learning” (Rodgers).

One of the major part of this reading course is (1) simply learning to stop, mentally step back, and think about ones level of understanding of what is being read (reflection), and (2) being willing to learning in those moments how to become curious. Curiosity Curiosity-drive model The curiosity-drive model states that experiences (reading) that are novel and complex create a sensation of uncertainty in the brain, a sensation perceived to be unpleasant. Curiosity acts as a means in which to dispel this uncertainty. By exhibiting curious and exploratory behavior, (learners) are able to learn more about the novel stimulus and thus reduce the state of uncertainty in the brain. Optimal arousal model The optimal-arousal model of curiosity posits that the brain aims to maintain an optimal level of arousal. If the stimulus is too intensely arousing, a “back-away” type behavior is engaged. In contrast, if the environment is boring and lacks exciting stimuli, exploratory behavior will be engaged until something optimally arousing is encountered. In essence, the brain is searching for the perfect balance of arousal states. Back-away Behavior and Exploratory Behavior It is not unusual to find that some of us have developed “backaway” behaviors when we are reading and find ourselves not understanding. It has become a habit of mind. In this course, 85


we will replace this habit of mind to back-away and replace it with with reflection behaviors, which drive curiosity. We will learn mental strategies that make “exploratory behaviors” more likely and more productive. We will be learning to care and wanting to construct meaning where just moments before we recognized we were stuck.

Important: In order to learn how to do these things, we have to be willing to first, stop and reflect on what we have just read and train our minds to become curious enough to stick with those moments when we are stuck about any place we have become stuck. Curiosity has to be relearned.

Beyond Being Stuck An essential part of this course is how to learn (what to do mentally) that ensures that what we are learning is useful in the future. What we do mentally when learning affects where what we are learning is stored in the brain and where what we are learning is stored affects dramatically our ability to use the information being learned in the future. This is called “competence learning” (transfer learning - useful in new situations). “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) We will learn how to : • Develop a deef foundation of factual knowledge. • Understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework. • Organize knowledge in application.

ways that facilitate retrieval and

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S ECTION 3

Other Factors Affecting Learning

In order to read to learn most efficiently, the reader must keep the physical brain in good condition. There are many things that impact the functioning of the brain while reading to learn. How Does Exercise Affect Our Learning? Dr. Ratey: Exercise Affects Learning In 3 Major Ways. • Exercise improves the learner. Their senses are heightened, their focus and mood are improved, they’re less fidgety and tense, and they feel more motivated and invigorated. • In addition to priming your state of mind, exercise influences learning directly, at the cellular level, improving your brain’s potential to log in and process new information. Exercise creates the environment for

our brain cells to wire together, which is the basic building block of learning. One of the key ingredients that exercise increases is BDNF, Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or what I call Miracle Gro for the brain -- as it truly is fertilizer. • Exercise is also perhaps the best way to increase neurogenesis, which is the making of new neurons that happens on its own daily. The process is pumped up greatly after we exercise, by releasing factors to encourage the process of our innate stem cells to divide and then provide a healthier internal environment for them to grow up to be functioning nerve cells on their own. How Does Sleep Affect Our Learning? An interesting finding is how sleep after learning something helps cement the learning.   During sleep the brain turns recently acquired memories into long term memories. Sleep helps lock in the learning. This appears to be one of the main biological functions of sleep. Sleep is particularly important in learning higher-order abstract concepts.   Research has found a significant correlation between the level of improvement in tests of learning and the amount of slow-wave sleep obtained.  People consolidate the new learning much better after a period of sleep than during a waking day.  Even an afternoon nap helps.

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Evidence now suggests that sleep is important in the processing of newly acquired information and for the longterm storage of memory. This has become known as “sleepdependent memory processing.” Memories can be initially formed or “encoded” when the brain engages in an idea, image, thought, experience, or action, leading to the formation of a representation of this information in the brain. However, following encoding, this memory then appears to require “consolidation,” which refers to the process of memory stabilization over time, making it more resistant to interference or disruption. Memories can also be reconsolidated should they become destabilized, deteriorate, or require enhancement. Sleep has been implicated in all of these processes. (Walker, 2009) Studies indicate that sleep is most helpful to memory when it happens soon after learning new things. Sleep seems to have a stabilizing effect on newly learned information, rooting it into memories that last and clearing the way for new information to be processed. (WebMD) Dr. Krag: Anyone with longstanding problems with ADHD knows that when they are rested and calm they have fewer ADHD symptoms than when they are tired and anxious. Since TM helps create a calm and stable state, it clearly can help reduce the problems of ADHD. How Does Food Affect Learning? Throughout the brain, biochemical messengers called neurotransmitters help the brain make the right connections.

Food influences how these neurotransmitters operate. The more balanced the breakfast, the more balanced the brain function. There are two types of proteins that affect neurotransmitters: 1) neurostimulants, such as proteins containing tyrosine, affecting the alertness transmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, and 2) calming proteins that contain tryptophan, which relaxes the brain. A breakfast with the right balance of both stimulating and calming foods starts the learner off with a brain that is primed to learn and emotions prepared to behave. Eating complex carbohydrates along with proteins helps to usher the amino acids from these proteins into the brain, so that the neurotransmitters can work better. Complex carbohydrates and proteins act like biochemical partners for enhancing learning and behavior. This biochemical principle is called "synergy,"meaning that the combination of two nutrients works better than each one singly, sort of like 1 + 1 = 3. Breakfast research. If your hectic household has a morning rush hour like the one in our home, you may feel that you don't have time for a healthy breakfast. But consider what studies have shown: • Breakfast eaters are likely to achieve higher grades, pay closer attention, participate more in class discussions, and manage more complex academic problems than breakfast skippers.

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• Breakfast skippers are more likely to be inattentive, sluggish, and make lower grades. • Breakfast skippers are more likely to show erratic eating patterns throughout the day, eat less nutritious foods, and give into junk-food cravings. They may crave a midmorning sugar fix because they can't make it all the way to lunchtime on an empty fuel tank. • Some learners are more vulnerable to the effects of missing breakfast than others. The effects on behavior and learning as a result of missing breakfast or eating a breakfast that is not very nutritious vary from learner to learner. • Whether or not learning eat breakfast affects their learning, but so does what they eat. Learners who eat a breakfast containing both complex carbohydrates and proteins in equivalent amounts of calories tend to show better learning and performance than learners who eat primarily a high protein or a high carbohydrate breakfast. Breakfasts high in carbohydrates with little protein seem to sedate learners rather than stimulate their brain to learn. • Learners eating high calcium foods for breakfast (e.g., dairy products) showed enhanced behavior and learning. • Morning stress increases the levels of stress hormones in the bloodstream. This can affect behavior and learning in two ways. First, stress hormones themselves can bother the brain. Secondly, stress hormones such as cortisol increase carbohydrate craving throughout the day. The food choices

that result may affect behavior and learning in children who are sensitive to the ups and downs of blood sugar levels. Try to send your child off to school with a calm attitude, as well as a good breakfast. • Breakfast sets the pattern for nutritious eating throughout the rest of the day. When learners miss breakfast to save time or to cut calories, they set themselves up for erratic binging and possibly overeating the rest of the day. How Does Meditation affect Learning? How to Meditate S t e p 1
 Choose a word to use as a meditation focus, a mantra. You can use a name of God, a nonsense syllable, or a neutral word. Dr. Herbert Benson (see below) suggests the word "one." You want a word with no attached energy, a word that will let your mind float freely. S t e p 2
 Sit in a comfortable upright position in a chair that won't distract you by being too uncomfortable or too relaxing. The room can be dimly lighted as an aid to relaxation. Sit with legs uncrossed, feet flat on the floor if this is comfortable. Arms should be relaxed and resting at your sides. Palms up is traditional, but not required. S t e p 3
 Close your eyes and allow your mind to settle itself. This may 89


take a few minutes; just be patient. It is normal for the mind to keep chattering. This process isn't about stopping the mind's chatter; it's about not paying it any attention. The focus here is on the soul of the person that also has a mind. S t e p 4
 Using no effort, introduce you’re the word “one” into your thoughts. Let it do what it wants, bouncing around your brain, silently taking the place of your thoughts, even disappearing and reappearing. The important thing is to avoid effort. You don't need to work at this process. Be at peace with however it goes. S t e p 5
 Check the clock occasionally, again with no effort. Your goal is to spend 20 minutes with the word “one”. When the 20 minutes is up, keep your eyes closed. Say a silent thank you and let go of your mantra. Sit quietly for another minute or two, until you feel ready to face the world. Gradually open your eyes and go about your day. This procedure ideally is practiced twice a day. There is no wrong way to do this, other than to work at it. Quiet, uninterrupted conditions are best, but you can also do this in the middle of a busy airport terminal. Always remember, it isn't about meditating perfectly, it's about meditating.

If you are interrupted, deal with the interruption, then just settle back in. Allow a few extra minutes in addition to your original 20. Avoid having children or pets or any other distractions around you, if possible. Make sure you sit upright to prevent accidentally falling asleep. Don't use a timer; avoid having an alarm go off. Other Affects of Meditation Reduced Blood Pressure (Current Hypertension Reports, December 2007) 
 This meta-analysis of 17 published studies from the medical literature (selected from over 100 published studies for their careful experimental design utilizing randomized controlled trials) reported on the effects of stress reduction techniques on elevated blood pressure in about 1000 subjects total.  The treatments employed included simple biofeedback, relaxation-assisted biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, stress management training, and the Transcendental Meditation program.  The results of statistical analyses showed that none of the first 4 treatment approaches demonstrated statistically significant reductions in elevated blood pressure, while the Transcendental Meditation program showed both significant clinical and statistical reductions in blood pressure. 90


Enhanced Longevity (American Journal of Cardiology, May 2005)
 This study was a first-of-its-kind, long-term, randomized trial. It evaluated the death rates of 202 men and women, average age 71, who had mildly elevated blood pressure. Subjects in the study participated in the Transcendental Meditation program; behavioral techniques, such as mindfulness or progressive muscle relaxation; or health education. The study tracked subjects for up to 18 years. The study found that the TM program reduced death rates by 23%. Reduced Blood Pressure and Use of Hypertensive Medication (American Journal of Hypertension, January 2005)
 This long-term, clinical trial evaluated 150 men and women, average age 49, with stage I hypertension (average blood pressure 142/95 mm Hg). Blood pressure in the Transcendental Meditation group reduced by nearly 6 mm diastolic pressure and by 3 mm systolic pressure. In contrast, blood pressure in the progressive muscle relaxation group and conventional health education classes reduced by 3 mm diastolic pressure, with no change in systolic pressure. Use of hypertensive medication was also found to significantly decrease in the TM group in comparison with controls. Reduced Blood Pressure in At-risk Teens (American Journal of Hypertension, April, 2004) This $1.5 million, four-year, randomized, controlled study found that adolescents at risk for heart disease experienced decreased

blood pressure as a result of the daily practice of Transcendental Meditation. Relaxation of Blood Vessels (Psychosomatic Medicine, July 1999 and January 1999)
 A study of middle-aged adults reported that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduced blood pressure by reducing constriction of the blood vessels (vasoconstriction), thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease. A separately published study on adolescents with high normal blood pressure found that randomly assigned subjects who practiced the TM technique exhibited greater decreases in resting blood pressure, vascular resistance, and stress reactivity from pre-to post-treatment, compared to controls. Relaxation of Blood Vessels (Psychosomatic Medicine, July 1999 and January 1999)
 A study of middle-aged adults reported that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduced blood pressure by reducing constriction of the blood vessels (vasoconstriction), thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease. A separately published study on adolescents with high normal blood pressure found that randomly assigned subjects who practiced the TM technique exhibited greater decreases in resting blood pressure, vascular resistance, and stress reactivity from pre-to post-treatment, compared to controls.

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Multitasking ScienceDaily (July 26, 2006) â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Multi-tasking affects the brain's learning systems, and as a result, we do not learn as well when we are distracted, UCLA psychologists report this week in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Multi-tasking adversely affects how you learn," said Russell Poldrack, UCLA associate professor of psychology and coauthor of the study. "Even if you learn while multi-tasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialized, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily. Our study shows that to the degree you can learn while multi-tasking, you will use different brain systems. "The best thing you can do to improve your memory is to pay attention to the things you want to remember," Poldrack added. "Our data support that. When distractions force you to pay less attention to what you are doing, you don't learn as well as if you had paid full attention."

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C HAPTER 9

Visualizing In the sciences, it is important to be able to visualize the concepts being learned. For some concepts in the sciences to be deeply understood, the learner must create a mental image that stands for the concept. A major part of being a psychologist is begin able to take evidence, that requires making mental imagery comparisons and contractions among the evidence. Just learning about psychology requires the learner to construct and retain mental images of the information being learned.


S ECTION 1

Using Mental Imagery to

ing the concepts psychology require developing the ability to reflect (step back in your mind and think about what you are learning) as as you reflect while reading create mental images of the concepts you are learning. The ability to visualize (taking advantages of pictures in the textbook is critical for deep learning. How to use visual imagery Follow these few simple steps to provide practice developing mental images:

Why use visual imagery? Creating an image while reading requires the reader to continually be stepping bak mentally and reflecting on what they are reading. Creating mental images while reading can improve comprehension. It is one thing to see a picture of a dinosaur while reading and quite another to reconstruct and build that image into your neural network in the brain in ways that facilitate retrieval so that you can most effectively use the information later. It is in those moments of reflection (stepping back mentally and thinking about your thinking) while reading that the deepest learning occurs. Visualizing or Mentally Imaging What You are Learning Like all reading in the sciences, understanding, deep learning and developing competence in the subject being studies, learn-

Begin reading. As you encounter pictures or descriptive passages, pause and mentally reconstruct the picture or the image being described (a form of reflection). This practice also helps build myelin in the brain of the neural networks being fired and speeds up the retrieval of the information and image later. One of the ways that is most effective for incorporating images into the conceptual framework of related information being learned is to use elaboration. Have an internal dialogue with yourself in which you describe the imagery and/or discuss with yourself or others how the images contribute to what is being learned. This helps ensure deep learning. Other Visualization to Learn Techniques Mental Action Imagery â&#x20AC;&#x201C; mentally creating an image which has three components (1) the new information, (2) something you associate with the new information, (3) yourself, and (4) you doing something with the new information. Drawing and Labeling â&#x20AC;&#x201C; some information (ex. in the sciences) need an image in order to be understood. 94


Organizing information in a mind map – mind maps can show the relationship between new concepts, and new concepts and prior knowledge. Drawing pictures, especially on a mind map – images free working memory to hold additional items. SOME NOTES ON VISUALIZATION AND IMAGERY Visualization (Imaging Concepts) What is Visualization or imagery? Visualization Definition • To form a mental visual image of • A mental image that is similar to a visual picture • Visualization is converting a thought in to a visual image. Imagery Definition • A set of mental pictures or images. • The formation of mental images, figures, or likenesses of things, or of such images collectively. In this course, we are going to look at how imagery can impact reading to learn. Around four processes: 1. Imaging concepts and examples while reading (new terminology paired with visual examples) 2. Creating images to represent a concept (pulling from prior knowledge and creating mental images using prior knowledge) 3. Using imagery to organize information (Mind mapping) 4. Using imagery to create metaphors for learning concept (she is a rose)

Images are internal sensory representations that are also used in the creation of memory. They can bring words to mind, which can arouse other images or pictures. The formation of images helps in learning and remembering what has been learned or experienced in the past. More than you want to know, but I will tell you anyway: “For meaningful learning to occur in a multimedia environment (when we use words and images to learn, we are creating a multimedia environment), the learner must engage in five cognitive processes: (1) selecting relevant words for processing in verbal working memory, (2) selecting relevant images for processing in visual working memory, (3) organizing selected words into a verbal model (mind map – conceptual framework), (4) organizing selected images into a pictorial model, (5) integrating the verbal and pictorial representations with each other and with prior knowledge. Although these cognitive processes in list a list, they do not necessarily occur in a linear order.” (Mayer) Using Mental Imagery – Moving Past Memorizing Strong concept imagery improves the ability to process, organize, verbalize, and write information, independent of rote learning. Imagery is also very important for higher order thinking, which includes the ability to critically analyze, infer, predict and evaluate. (Langsford Learning Center) The mind map that the introductory paragraph provides lacks details; however, as we can see from the mind map of the paragraph, it is providing us a great conceptual framework for adding details later. As we continue to read the chapter, we will be analyzing to see what commonalities in the details are shared 95


with the mind map we have created above. We should expect to find examples an explanations that we can use to create images or mental pictures. Adding Pictures to Mind Maps: Show and explain how an image (picture) with a mind map can be an informationefficient construct holding a lot of conceptual information. And through mental action imagery can be a powerful vocabulary and terminology learning strategy interconnecting complex relationships. Mental practice or rehearsal. Mental practice or mental rehearsal is complementary to real practice.

used in the creation of memory. They can bring words to mind, which can arouse other images or pictures. The formation of images appears to help in learning and remembering what has been learned or experienced in the past. Images and words can help you in remembering things by bringing pictures in your head instead of just words or figures. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s say, in learning the process of cell mitosis or cell division, most of the books that contain concepts or scientific ideas have pictures to describe scenarios that are sometimes difficult to be seen by the human eye. Another example would be the structure of a bacteria or a virus. Graphic elements and visual tools, therefore, may become guiding principles in learning conceptual or precisely scientific ideas.

Visualization is converting a thought in to a visual image. Imagery Definition A set of mental pictures or images. The formation of mental images, figures, or likenesses of things, or of such images collectively Visuword Online Graphic Dictionary http://www.visuwords.com/ VIVID ASSOCIATIONS. We have already discussed the idea of associations: aiding storage and retrieval of new information by intentionally pairing it with something familiar. When learning something new and unfamiliar, try pairing it with something you know very well, such as images, puns, music, whatever. The association does not have to make logical sense. Often times it is associations that are particularly vivid humorous, or silly that stay in your mind. (Intelegen) Visualization and Imagination Images are internal sensory representations that are also

Another example would be in memorizing the lyrics of the songs or in remembering stories that you might have read before. In these two examples, the memorization process becomes easier if you imagine the images conjured by the lyrics of the song or if you create vivid images in your mind as you read or recall a narrative or tale. Picture the actual scenario described by the sentences or paragraphs. To further intensify your imagination, you have to actually feel what the character is feeling. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re reading a story about a knight in shining armor fighting a dragon, then feel your strength, the power of your sword, the heat of the fire from the dragonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mouth, and even the kiss of the princess after saving her from the monster. Images and the formation of which, in the process of learning or remembering, can therefore help you in improving your memory. Here are some of the valuable methods which you can use in achieving an imaginative memory: 96


1.Learn to think with both words and figures. For example, in reading a book, it would be helpful to stop for a while and reconstruct the suggested scenario inside your head. This way, you are also increasing the chances of not only recording linguistic data but also some of the essential cognitive aspect of remembering, like the reconstruction of perceived or imagined senses in your brain. The smell and taste of ice cream, the redness of a strawberry, or the thickness or thinness of blood described in a crime novel that not only gives chill or excitement in reading but also makes your reading experience more memorable. b. In learning new ideas, associate these concepts with a very particular image or picture that is very personal or relevant to you. Put some premium on what you already know or on what is easily conjured by your brain in experiencing these words (like in learning a new language or subject). Put some personal relationship with these words like knowing the origin of their meanings (etymology) or by giving them a concrete symbol in your head. c. 3. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re reading a very technical manual or theory pamphlet, what you can do is imagine yourself doing the scenario suggested by the book. This is also what we call as vivid reading. Words and sentences become alive not with their meaningful connections but with their correlative value with reality. In fact, writing prose or poetry involves a highly developed skill in imagery and mental mapping. Poets and creative writers are said to be good not only in remembering details or facts, but also in the creation of worlds or situations found within the mind. (PSI TEK)

Five Processes in the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia "In One Ear and Out the Other" The Langsford Learning Center, Louisville, Kentucky: Why do good readers, ones who have learned to read words with ease and fluency, sometimes have difficulty understanding what they read? People often wonder if this difficulty is due to not trying hard enough or a lack of attentiveness. While attention can sometimes be involved, often the difficulty is due to an underdeveloped learning process important to understanding what we read: concept imagery. The ability to develop concept imagery from words is an important underlying process that all readers need in order to develop into life-long independent learners. Research conducted by cognitive psychologist Allan Paivio has shown that children and adults with good comprehension have the ability to "dual code." This is the process of turning words read or heard into images, pictures and/or movies in the mind and then turning those images back into words. This interplay between verbal and visual information within the brain is important for true understanding and learning to happen. As the thinker Thomas Aquinas said, "Man's mind cannot understand thoughts without images of them." Falling Through the Cracks In the early grades most schools have a "learn-to-read" focus and teachers are primarily concerned that the actual mechan97


ics of reading and spelling are in place. Then a gradual shift occurs and schools move toward "reading-to-learn." We can see this shift by simply looking at books. Books for young children have lots of pictures and images, but as the reading level increases, the words on the page increase and pictures gradually decrease. The basic idea is that with continual practice and increased fluency, imaging and understanding will progress naturally. However, this is not always the case. Some students have to work much harder than their peers to get good grades, or can't progress at the same rate as their peers. They seem to read the text just fine, yet can't understand it, or they only understand parts rather than the whole. This can happen despite good vocabulary and good fluency. Readers who do not process the information through dual coding often find other ways to compensate, such as relying on memorization. Memorization may help these readers do well on tests, but eventually they hit a wall where this just doesn't seem to work anymore, usually because the content required is simply too much information to memorize. This might happen in 5th grade, high school, college, or maybe not until doing graduate work. It all depends upon the individual's ability to compensate.

the facts. In addition, good memorizers often don't do well on tests that require them to think about the material in a different manner from how they memorized it. Strong concept imagery improves the ability to process, organize, verbalize, and write information, independent of rote learning. Imagery is also very important for higher order thinking, which includes the ability to critically analyze, infer, predict and evaluate. They're Just Words The reason to read is to get meaning from the printed word. Learners who are not efficient at generating concept imagery and also struggle with memorization are just reading the words. These words seem to go in one ear and out the other if there is no picture or image created to anchor the meaning in the brain. Such readers often find themselves reading and rereading information in order to recall even basic facts. Until an image is created, critical and analytical thinking cannot even begin to happen. A person can't read between the lines when they are only focused on the lines.

Memorization can be very helpful if the underlying ability to generate concept imagery is in place, but when that foundational piece is missing, other strategies are not nearly as effective. Relying on memory to study and learn puts the focus on 98


C HAPTER 10

Mind Mapping Mind Mapping is a very powerful visual graphic way of organizing information.


S ECTION 1

Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping Key Strategies for Organizing Knowledge in ways that facilitate Retrieval and Application Directing Information to the Hippocampus - Give the brain a chance to do a lot of the organizing on its own by reducing or eliminating all distractions and multitasking. Chunking - The brain learns complex routines by automatically grouping information into chunks. Chunking enables learners to compare two chunks easily instead of having to compare dozens items. “Becoming an expert in any field seems to involve creating large numbers of chunks, which enables you to make faster and better decisions. “Having an explicit understanding of this process rather than just doing it implicitly will help you chunk more often and more efficiently” (Rock).

Mind Mapping - Mind Mapping is a very powerful visual graphic way of organizing information. Mind mapping is a visual thinking tool that helps the learner organize information within the context of a conceptual framework. Mind mapping uses almost everything we know about how the brain learns, stores and retrieves information. Mind mapping is a powerful tool for preparing the learner for analyzing, comprehending, synthesizing, recalling and generating new ideas. Mind maps literally reflect how the brain organizes new information. When the reader uses the “rules of consolidation” for converting working memory into long-term memory, and the core cognitive strategies for understanding and retention of information in conjunction with mind mapping to visually represent relationships among concepts, thoughts, and ideas, information becomes much more useful in future applications. Using the internal dialogue inquiry questions along with mind mapping enables the reader clarify their understanding and move beyond surface learning to deep learn. Why Mind Mapping over Outlining for Understanding Within A Conceptual Framework: 1. The learner is not trapped by the limited linear format of 1, 2, and 3. 2. A mind-map is open-ended and open-minded, so mistakes are accommodated easily. 100


3. When you get new "ahas" or ideas, you can just add a new branch with new key words. 4.Make abstract ideas visible and concrete e. Connect prior knowledge and new concepts Think of a conceptual framework as a mind map that overviews the concepts being learned in a textbook reading selection within which related facts and ideas can be organized. This mind map would have grouped (organized) the chapter’s conceptual framework. Several mapping strategies were introduced during the 1970s and 1980s to help secondary students acquire vocabulary and concept knowledge. These strategies were an alternative to the ineffective practice of testing students on word definitions. Through a graphic depiction of ideas, these strategies build upon what students know to help them see relationships with newly introduced vocabulary. Students develop related rather than isolated word knowledge and develop skill in differentiating concepts as well as defining words. Each can be used before, during, and after reading. (Southwest Educational Development Laboratory) Positive Outcomes of Deep Surveying: • greater organization of information • better comprehension when reading begins

Mind mapping is a learning tool for graphically organizing information to show connections and relationships. As a learning tool it has certain basic components, which make it more effective. To make a mind map more effective the follow these 10 basic components: 1 .A map will begin with a subject at its center. 2. The use of color(s) is very helpful. 3. Branch off the center with key words or images 4.Use lower case print key word, and to make an idea stand out, use UPPER CASE PRINT 5. Important: each key word should have its own branch (line). (1pt) 6. All branches must be connected. 7. The length of a branch should be the same length as the key word. 8. The use of color for different branches is very helpful to recall of the information. 9. Use a visualization, such as a picture or drawing. 10. Map is neat. All printing right side up.

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As a tool for reading to learn, especially transfer learning, it should not be learned in isolation in which information in a textbook is moved from the textbook page to a sheet of paper with little more thought than ensuring that the 10 basic components above are used in a mind map. When mind mapping is learned in isolation, it often becomes that goal of reading for the learner rather than a learning tool for deeper learning. It should be learned in concert with the mental processes (cognitive strategies and habits of mind) that are the goals of RDG 185:

text of a conceptual framework, and can easily be retrieved and applied later in thinking and reasoning processes. Mind mapping is a learning tool for not only organizing and showing relationships, but for organizing the use of cognitive strategies and habits of mind.

develop a deep foundation of factual knowledge (ex. rules of consolidation to move new information from working memory to long-term memory before, while, and after mind mapping) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, (ex. what is the big picture in which facts and ideas are understood when reading) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. (ex. inquiry questioning before mind mapping such as 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. Can I predict where this is going?; and 4. How has the author organized the information in this reading selection? RDG 185 is not about merely organizing information, but rather about using organization along with mental processes to help develop knowledge, that is understood within the con102


C HAPTER 11

Want to be Able to Remember and Use Psychology Concepts Rules of Consolidation There are basic rules for remembering what you read. These rules are calls Rules of Consolidation. They are essential if the learner wants to be able to store new dinosaur concepts for future use; otherwise, forgetting occurs rapidly.


S ECTION 1

The Rules of Consolidation

Rules of Consolidation

Rule One: Re-expose yourself to the information.

1.  Re-­‐ Deliberately   re-­‐expose   yourself  to  

Say  in  own  

Rules  of  Con-­‐ solidation

Recite

(from   working  

Immediately   after  Encoun-­‐ Within  90   Ex.  in  class  –   minute  pa-­‐ pers,  muddi-­‐ est  point,  one  

3.  Re-­‐ expose   with  

Read  to  

2.  Re-­‐ expose  

Next  Day

Internal   Dialogue  

Summaries

Response  

Annotations

Rule Three: Re-expose oneself to the conceptual framework using fixed timed intervals. Fixed intervals for surveying are: Time Intervals

Write  to  

Reading  

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.

Synthesis  

Learning  

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 reading section, mentally reconstruct he mind map or summarize what you know at this point.

104


Looking at the Rules of Consolidation One at a Time. Here we are going to look at the “rules of consolidation” one at a time; however, to be most effective we will later look at putting these rules together to increase their effectiveness. We will be learning many mental strategies and habits of mind in the chapters that follow that will enable to the reader to move from surface learning to deep learning that will make the information they learn while reading textbook information with which we can think, reason and apply to new situations. 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 order 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 reexpose 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

105


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.” (Medina, 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 re-expose yourself to the information and

elaborate on the it (have an internal dialogue, what do you already know about what you are reading, write about it (take notes in your own words), explain it to yourself out loud. 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 reexposure 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 reexpose 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 unstoppa106


ble, 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 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). The Rules of Consolidation Rule One: Re-expose yourself to the information. 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. 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 reading section, mentally reconstruct he mind map or summarize what you know at this point. Looking at the Rules of Consolidation One at a Time. Here we are going to look at the “rules of consolidation” one at a time; however, to be most effective we will later look at putting these rules together to increase their effectiveness. We will be learning many mental strategies and habits of mind in the chapters that follow that will enable to the reader to move from surface learning to deep learning that will make the information they learn while reading textbook information with which we can think, reason and apply to new situations. 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. 107


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 order 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.” (Medina, 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 108


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 you identify 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.

Review again the next day as soon as you can. From the Research â&#x20AC;&#x153;When a reader reads nonstop, new information is subject to being confused with other information. â&#x20AC;&#x153;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 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 baseâ&#x20AC;? (Medina, 2008).

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. 109


C HAPTER 12

Writing to Learn As a student in a psychology course, you will be learning a lot of information that needs to be more than memorized. Memorizing ensures the most forgetting. However, writing to learn is among the most important clarifying, organizing and constructing new meaning strategies that man has created. It will be a very important strategy for organizing dinosaur knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. It is nearly impossible to learn all the dinosaur information deeply if strong strategies such as writing about what you are learning are not incorporated in your learning strategies.


S ECTION 1

Writing to Learn Writing to Learn 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 questions, 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, instructors and students are focused only on final products: the final exam, the grade, the perfect research paper, mastery of a subject. But how do we as learners get from here to there? What are the intermediate stages that help us develop the skills and habits of master learners in our disciplines? What kinds of scaffolding enable us to move forward, step-by-step? How do we, as educators and students, recognize and support the slow process of progressively deepening our abilities to think like historians and

scholars? (Bass and Eynon, Capturing the Visible Evidence of Invisible Learning, 2009).

In this reading course, we will 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 in preparation for organizing knowledge in ways that facilitate application (inquiry-based inquiry and problem solving). Writing to Learn Writing to learn should take advantage of what is known about learning, especially re-exposure to ideas to build a deep foundation of factual knowledge, the use of elaboration to make interconnections with prior knowledge, clarification of ideas, and organization of facts and ideas in a conceptual framework. Writing to Learn and Internal Dialogue Questions Learners can always use “writing to learn” activities to mentally respond to internal dialogue questions. “Reflecting on what was just read helps clarify thinking and focus understanding. Full understanding cannot be achieved until students reflect in a meaningful way about their reading. 111


Reflecting has a couple of very important by-products. First, it helps students think critically about what they have learned and have yet to learn about what they have read. A second byproduct of reflective thinking is that it helps students retain material they have read” (Richardson, 2009). Writing to learn is a very useful reflecting activity and help us clarify and reorganize what we are reading. Writing to Learn as Elaboration Elaboration refers to any method of "thinking about new ideas and prior knowledge together" so the two become more deeply interconnected. Learning takes place when the new information becomes a part of the existing knowledge network. When elaborated and richly integrated, the new knowledge becomes meaningful and useful. Knowledge can be called "meaningful" only after it is richly interconnected with related knowledge. Knowledge can be called "useful" only if you can access it under appropriate circumstances. Meaningful knowledge is filed and cross referenced with other knowledge to which it is connected. Useful knowledge is filed and cross-referenced so that you can find it when you need it. 
 
 Some of these points may seem obvious, but studies strongly suggest that this kind of mental housekeeping makes the difference between good and poor readers.

Writing to learn should take advantage of what is known about learning, especially re-exposure to ideas to build a deep foundation of factual knowledge, the use of elaboration to make interconnections with prior knowledge, clarification of ideas, and organization of facts and ideas in a conceptual framework. Writing to Learn Activities Writing to Learn: “Summarizing is how we take larger selections of text and reduce them to their bare essentials: the gist, the key ideas, the main points that are worth noting and remembering” (Boushey). The brain stores meaning. (build a reciprocal relationship with mind map, which was built using the Rules of Consolidation, Core Cognitive Strategies, and Internal Dialogue Inquiry questions) Examples of Writing to Learn (WTL) Activities from the WAC Clearinghouse: Writing to learn activities can happen frequently or infrequently in your class; some can extend over the entire semester; some can be extended to include a wide variety of writing tasks in different formats and to different audiences. The Reading Journal First, students use the left half of the page or the left sheet of an opened notebook for recording what the reading is about. Teachers can ask for quite a lot of detail in this half of the reading journal so that students get practice in summarizing entire 112


articles or summarizing particular arguments, identifying main ideas, noting key details, and choosing pertinent quotations, among other crucial reading skills. On the right half of the page (or right page of the notebook), students jot down any questions they have or any connections they can make between readings or between readings and class discussions. At the beginning of the semester, the right half of the journal is dotted with questions, most of which can be answered quickly at the beginning of a discussion session in class. By the end of the semester, students will sometimes fill two right-hand columns for every reading. At this point, the questions are far richer (rarely about content) and the connections point out that students are integrating the readings and class work on their own. Generic and focused summaries Depending on the level of detail that might be useful for each assignment, have students write out a paragraph or a page of summary for each assigned reading. Annotations Unlike the summary that attempts an objective rendering of the key points in a reading, an annotation typically asks students to note key ideas and briefly evaluate strengths and weaknesses in an article.

Response papers Still another type of writing to learn that builds on assigned readings is the response paper. Unlike the summary, the response paper specifically asks students to react to assigned readings. Students might write responses that analyze specified features of a reading (is the information believable). Or they might write counter-arguments. Synthesis papers A more complex response to assigned readings is the synthesis paper. Rather than summarizing or responding to a single reading assignment, the synthesis paper asks students to work with several readings and to draw commonalities out of those readings. Particularly when individual readings over-simplify a topic or perspectives on a question in your course, the synthesis paper guarantees that students grapple with the complexity of issues and ideas. Like other writing-to-learn tasks, the synthesis paper can be shorter and less formal, or you can assign it at or near the end of a sequence leading to a more formal paper. The discussion starter Sometimes students feel baffled by a reading assignment and express that frustration in class, but they often understand more about the reading than they believe they do. When this situation arises, having students write about the reading can be especially valuable, both for clarifying what students do 113


and don't understand and for focusing students' attention on key points in the reading. The learning log The learning log serves many of the functions of an ongoing laboratory notebook. Students note key point from the reading. Sometimes, students write for just one or two minutes both at the beginning and end of a class session. At the beginning, they might summarize the key points from a reading At the end of class students might write briefly about a question such as: What one idea that they read about today most interested you and why? What was the clearest point we made today? What was the foggiest point? What do you still not understand about the concept we've been discussing?

Problem statement Teachers usually set up the problems and ask students to provide solutions. This gives students practice with both framing and solving problems: After you introduce a new concept in your course, ask students to write out a practical problem that the concept might help to solve. Students can exchange these problems and write out solutions, thus ensuring that they understand the concept clearly and fully. Believing and doubting game First espoused by Peter Elbow, this writing activity simply calls for students to write briefly first, in support of an idea, concept, methodology, thesis; second, in opposition to it. As students complete this writing activity based on a course reading or controversy in the field, they become more adept at understanding the complexity of issues and arguments.

If you had to restate the concept in your own terms, how would you do that? How does today's reading build on yesterday's? Such questions can provide continuity from class to class, but they can also give teachers a quick glimpse into how well the reading content is getting across.

114


Co-Requisite: Psychology and Reading