A Self-Analysis of Our Teaching Willinghams final advice: videotape yourself teaching to increase awareness of what is happening in your classroom and to gain a new perspective on what you are actually doing and why, and on what your students are doing and why (p. 156). Are you as smart, profound, fascinating, funny, entertaining, or attractive as you think you are? – http://www.hulu.com/watch/112743/30-rock-take- 510 http://www.hulu.com/watch/112743/30-rock-take- 510
Three Things Youll Learn in this Presentation 1.Thinking is slow, effortful, and uncertain, but under the right conditions, students like to do it. 2.Most of the time, students dont remember what you say in class (yeah, you probably already know this one). Unless they think about the material and its meaning, they probably wont remember it well. 3.Learning styles dont really exist in the way many people think they do.
Willinghams Nine Principles 1.People are naturally curious, but they are not naturally good thinkers. 2.Factual knowledge precedes skill. 3.Memory is the residue of thought. 4.We understand new things in the context of things we already know. 5.Proficiency requires practice. 6.Cognition is fundamentally different early and late in training. 7.Children learn more alike than differently. 8.Intelligence can be changed through sustained hard work. 9.Teaching, like any complex cognitive skill, must be practiced to be improved.
Principle 1 Principle: People are naturally curious, but they are not naturally good thinkers.
Try This Problem In an empty room are a candle, some matches, and a box of tacks. The goal is to have the lit candle about five feet off the ground. Youve tried melting some of the wax on the bottom of the candle and sticking it to the wall, but that wasnt effective. How can you get the lit candle five feet off the ground without having to hold it there?
What This Example Tells Us Thinking is slow Thinking is effortful Thinking is uncertain Twenty minutes is the normal allowed time for the candle problem, and most people arent able to solve it by then.
Memory in Thinking Given the importance of working and long- term memory in thinking, it seems as though we should also be devoting some attention to how students remember things! This leads us to a discussion of Willinghams third principle.
Principle 3 Memory is the residue of thought. Students need to think about meaning. Students also need to be thinking about the right aspect of meaning.
Attention and Emotion If you dont pay attention to something, you cant learn it! Whatever you think about, thats what you remember. Things that create an emotional reaction will be better remembered, but emotion is not necessary for learning. How else do teachers encourage students to think about meaning?
Principle 7: Children Are More Alike than Different in Terms of Learning http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIv9rz2NTUk
Discussion Questions What do you think of Willinghams definitions and claims about thinking? What stories, mnemonics, or other Willinghamian strategies have you used successfully in the classroom? What do you think about Willinghams decision to ignore attention in his list of nine principles? What do you specifically agree/disagree with in his nine principles based on your experiences? What is he omitting/forgetting about why students dont like school?
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