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Believing is Seeing: Exploring the Role of Student Beliefs in Real Learning Washington Assessment, Teaching & Learning Conference May 2006 William S. Moore,

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Presentation on theme: "Believing is Seeing: Exploring the Role of Student Beliefs in Real Learning Washington Assessment, Teaching & Learning Conference May 2006 William S. Moore,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Believing is Seeing: Exploring the Role of Student Beliefs in Real Learning Washington Assessment, Teaching & Learning Conference May 2006 William S. Moore, Ph.D. State Board for Community & Technical Colleges

2 Do you mean really learning or just learning? Student quoted in Bill Perrys Sharing in the cost of growth, from C.A. Parker, 1978

3 Questions to Consider How would you define knowledge? How do you see your view of knowledge influencing the way you think about learning and your teaching?

4 Whose Meaning Matters? Look! Do I sound crazy in saying that the students are the source of the meanings they will make of you? All right, so you feel you are making meaning for them; you know your subject matter, they do not. But it is the meaning they make of your meaning that matters! Obviously. Why am I shouting? After all, it is the meanings you make of my meanings that matter, and shouting will not help… William Perry, from The Modern American College, A. Chickering & Associates, 1981

5 Diversity, social problems, environmental issues, and the changing geopolitical situation all require minds that can grapple successfully with uncertainty, complexity and conflicting perspectives and still take stands that are both based on evidence, analysis and compassion and deeply centered in values. Craig Nelson, 1994 Why Does it Matter?

6 When bright people persist in doing stupid things, we know that powerful forces are at work. Perry-ism #1

7 Explanations for Individual Differences in Learners Intelligence/ aptitude Skills/expertise Learning styles Motivation Culture Dispositions Socialization process Cognitive strategies DEVELOPMENT

8 Key Aspects of the Perry Scheme Describes nine sequential positions from which students view knowledge and learning Represents a series of encounters with diversity of: –Perspectives (positions 1-3) –Contexts (positions 4-6) –Commitments (positions 7-9) Reflects students evolving conceptions of –Knowledge –Role of teacher (Authority) –Role of learner (and peers)

9 VIEW OF KNOWLEDGE ROLE OF LEARNER ROLE OF AUTHORITY Isolated, verifiable facts Discrete blocks of content Clear rights and wrongs Gathering & retaining information Getting facts from teacher, not peers Source of right answers Offers clear guidance-- no tricks DUALISM Supportive evidence Socially-constructed understandings Continua of certainty Gaining expertise Seeking most adequate solution/ interpretation Resource for context- specific expertise Facilitator, guide CONTEXTUAL RELATIVISM

10 From Dualism to Contextual Relativism: A Real Paradigm Shift (groan) Moving beyond received belief to creative faith Understanding the role and limits of reason, evidence and data-driven answers Coping with paradox: greater confidence in ones own stands AND greater empathy for those who hold different viewpoints

11 …Being able to repeat facts and plug numbers into formulae to get the right answers is handy, even essential. But it is not what education is fundamentally about… Learning should be about changing the ways in which learners understand, or experience, or conceptualize the world around them… Learning as Transforming Understanding Paul Ramsden

12 Contributions of Perry Scheme to Understanding Role of Beliefs in Real Learning Reflects critical underlying assumptions about knowledge (epistemology) Involves intellect and identity Represents qualitative changes in how people construct meaning and interpret subject matter Describes increasingly inclusive and complex forms of thinking

13 Perry-ism #2 If the power [of the scheme] is to label students the better to develop them, we shall dehumanize them and ourselves. Whats more, as we do not possess such powers, we shall be defeated…

14 Instructional Implications of Believing is Seeing Design learning environments, dont develop students Help make learning accessiblebuilding a bridge for students Balance challenge and support in the learning process

15 In Over Our Heads

16 Basically, you learn two kinds of things in college: Things you will need to know in later life (2 hours)… Things you will NOT need to know in later life (1198 hours). These are the things you learn in classes whose names end in -ology, -osophy, -istry, -ics, and so on. The idea is, you memorize these things, then write them down in little exam books, then forget them. If you fail to forget them you become a professor and have to stay in college the rest of your life. Dave Barry, 1981 Educational Practice?

17 FACILITATING REAL LEARNING NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE ROLE OF AUTHORITY ROLE OF LEARNER Re-think content coverage Explore uncertainty in field Address reasoning in context of specific content Consider teaching as functions, not role Think out loud w/ students Emphasize what students can do, not what you can do Help students make connections to prior learning Encourage students to take responsibility Insist students take stands, offer evidence

18 Re-Visioning Assessment from Perry Scheme Perspective Assessment as Learning Assessment as Meaning- making Assessment as Dialogue

19 Assessing Real Learning Understandings of core concepts/themes Ways of reasoning within disciplinary contexts Self-assessment of learning

20 Role of Self-Assessments in Real Learning Fostering meta-thinking Promoting active inquiry Developing self-evaluation skills Integrating learning/ making connections

21 When All is Said and Done, Its Easier Said than Done

22 Hope & Loss: Real Learning Takes Courage …It may be a great joy to discover a new and more complex way of thinking and seeing, but what do we do about the old simple world? What do we do about the hopes that we had invested and experienced in those simpler terms? When we leave those terms behind, are we to leave hope, too? Bill Perry, 1978 Sharing in the cost of growth

23 Perry-ism #3 This is our creative obligation as educators: to find ways to encourage.

24 Summary of Key Messages about Believing is Seeing Students have differing personal epistemologies, and these conceptions matter in terms of learning Real learning is more about transformation than transmission Real learning thus involves risk-taking and courage on the part of students Both assessment and teaching approaches reflect and reinforce epistemologies

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