5 Strategies to Demystify the Learning Process for Struggling Students | MindShift | KQED News

  • tags: learning brain brain science brain_research

    • But Oakley is a self-described “former math flunky” who “retooled” her brain — and who has since made it her life’s work to help others learn how to learn by explaining some key principles from modern neuroscience.

    • “But before you can even tackle these,” says Oakley, “you have to innoculate learners against the idea that they are stupid if they cannot figure things out first off. You have to teach them that faster is not always better.”

    • Oakley shares the common experience of students who reread their notes and think they know the material —  only to enter a test and find that they cannot retrieve the information. “They are horrified and think they must have test anxiety.” More likely, says Oakley, they simply haven’t been taught how to study in a way that allows them to retrieve the information.  

    • If a concept is easy for you to grasp right off, the focused mode might be sufficient, but if a new skill or concept “takes consideration, you have to toggle back and forth between these two modes of thinking as you get to true understanding of the material — and this doesn’t happen quickly.”

    • Because toggling is essential to learning, teachers and students need to build downtime into their day — time when learning can “happen on background” as you play a game, go on a walk or color a picture. It’s also one reason why sleep is so vital to healthy cognitive development.

    • The hiker brain takes time. It hears birds singing, sees the rabbit trails, feels the leaves. It’s a very different experience and, in some ways, much richer and deeper. You don’t need to be a super swift learner. In fact, sometimes you can learn more deeply by going slowly.”

    • “Any type of mastery involves the development of chains of procedural fluency. Then you can get into more complex areas of fluency,”

    • Here’s another way to think about it. We all have about four slots of working memory that we can use to problem-solve in the moment. One of those slots can be filled with an entire procedural chain —  and then you can put new information in the other slots.

    • “Metaphor and analogy are extraordinarily powerful teaching tools and very often underused,” says Oakley.  “When you are trying to learn something new, the best way to learn it is to connect it with something you already know.”

    • So familiar metaphors allow a learner to draw on a concept they have already mastered and apply it to a new situation. Or as Oakley says, metaphors “rapidly on-board” new ideas. For example, says Oakley, comparing the flow of electrons to the flow of water is a way to “jump-start students’ thinking.”

    • Oakley encourages teachers to not only use metaphor but to challenge students to develop their own metaphors as a study strategy.

    • First, choose a task to accomplish. Then, set a timer for 25 minutes and work until the timer goes off.  At that point, take a five-minute break: stand up, walk around, take a drink of water, etc. After three or four 25-minute intervals, take a longer break (15 – 30 minutes) to recharge. This technique “trains your ability to focus and reinforces that relaxing at the end is critical to the process of learning,” says Oakley.  

    • We always say ‘follow your passions’ but sometimes that locks people into focusing on what comes easily or what they are already good at. You can get passionate about — and really good at — many things!”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Why Ideo’s Fred Dust Thinks We Must Relearn The Art Of Dialogue

  • tags: listening Communication

    • “I’m going to posit that we are getting dialogue wrong …We’ve actually done it well for thousands of years, and it’s only now that we’re not doing it well.”

    • Televised political debates, Dust says, have taught us to focus more on the appearance of the candidates than the content of the debate itself, further diminishing productive dialogue.

    • That same bully mentality, Dust says, has infused the structure of workplace dialogues, which were informed by leadership training programs developed by the author and lecturer Werner Erhard in the early 1970s.

    • “One of the things we’re doing at Ideo is looking to design practices of the past, and seeing how they might work for us in the future,” Dust says.

    • Part of what we can learn from looking to tradition is how to actually design designated time for in-depth dialogue and conversations. In recent months, Dust says, “we’ve had crisis after crisis,” from the Las Vegas shooting to the California wildfires, “with no time for conversation.”

    • “The times when people learn the most and are most open to change are when they are coming out of a crisis,”

    • That type of reflective, change-embracing mentality can and should, he says, extend to entire communities and countries in the wake of a crisis. “If we’re not designing for how we have dialogue in those critical—potentially curable—moments, we won’t be able to get to radical change,” Dust says.

    • The Creative Tensions format works by collecting a group of people together in a room, and asking them to arrange themselves along a tension—for example, between the statements “police make me feel safe” and “I feel nervous when police are around.”

    • People move, like life-size chess pieces, around the room, aligning themselves next to others whose views differ slightly from their own. The fluid dialogue structure, Dust says, allows people to find common ground, rather than focusing on their differences.

    • What’s important, Dust says, is that we need to get back to a point where we listen to each other from a place of mutual respect and empathy—and if possible, enjoy doing so.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

You never connect the dots in advance

My former boss, Brett Jacobsen always said that we don’t connect the dots until afterwards. When we are planning for the future we can’t know exactly what the final product will look like. We can’t predict the future. It is hard to believe that just over two years ago I stepped into the role of the Head of Upper School at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. As a school of “inquiry, innovation and impact” it was a match made in heaven. For years I had been chasing the dream of transforming education for our students and Mount Vernon was just what I was searching for. Each and every day I had the opportunity to work with a talented team of educators to push boundaries to constructively answer these three questions. How might we …

  • make school more reflective of real life.
  • empower all learners to be seekers and explorers.
  • inspire one another — and the larger world — through the work we undertake.

I had the pleasure of continuing work where students could explore their passions with iProjects, developing interdisciplinary courses, watching students partner with outside organizations to develop ideas and create was inspiring, creating meaningful project based learning was fun,  using design thinking to develop creative solutions made sense, and where studying assessment for the future was beyond the trees.

The work was challenging and rewarding.

So, no one would have predicted that by July 2017 I would be on safari for new teacher orientation in Mikumi National Park. I never would have predicted that path back in 2015.

Elephants 2
Taking a Drink
Hippo Heart
Sunset at the Hippo Pool
Sailing
Sailing in Msasani Bay

I never would have guessed that my family and I would move to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where I would be the Secondary Principal at the International School of Tanganyika. IST is another amazing school but very different than MVPS. We strive to “challenge, inspire and support all students to fulfill their potential and improve the world.” At IST our curriculum is based on the International Baccalaureate Primary, Middle Years and Diploma Programs. There are 60 different nationalities represented in the student body and the faculty hails from 20 different countries. Like MVPS, I anticipate that the work will be challenging and rewarding.

After spending 14 years working at three different international schools outside the United States it feels like we’ve found our niche. While our time in Atlanta was an adventure, our life here in Dar will be an uber-adventure. Now that the transition is over I’m ready to share my learning again.

Karibu Nyumbani!

 

 

 

3 Ways to Build Trust on Your Team | Joe Hirsch

 

best-beaches-massachusetts-sm
Photo from Boston Magazine, June 12, 2016

On a note related to this article and what the Chicago Cubs did with their clubhouse.

On 4 July, along with thousands of others, we enjoyed the beach in Dennis, MA. One of the first things that I noticed was that the groups of people were setup in circles. It didn’t matter that some of the members of the group had their backs to the water. Now I have been to beaches all over the world and this is the first time that I remember this type of culture. Typically groups set up facing the water. Now I’m not talking about a few groups – I’m talking about nearly every group setting up that way. I could definitely tell that the circle was much more conducive to conversations among all members of the group. Why is it that me and my friends did not realize this before? Maybe the same reason why most clubhouses are rectangular.

  • tags:leadership Teams trust

    • Instead of stretching across a long rectangular hall, the new Cubs clubhouse at Wrigley Field is a rounded circle. With a diameter of 60 feet, 6 inches, it is the same distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate. Unlike the sprawling facilities of other teams, the Cubs’ clubhouse is designed to promote a culture of trust.
    • 1. Get to know the other person.
    • A Google study found that managers who express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being outperform others in the quality and quantity of their work.
    • 2. Readily share information.
    • Only 40% of employees report that they are well informed about their company’s goals, strategies, and tactics. This uncertainty about the company’s direction leads to chronic stress, which inhibits trust and undermines teamwork.
    • 3. Facilitate whole-person growth.
    • t signals the team’s commitment to each player’s long-term performance and progress.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Ideo Studied Innovation In 100+ Companies–Here’s What It Found | Co.Design

  • tags: Innovation Innovative

    • Purpose, experimentation, collaboration, empowerment, looking out (i.e. staying informed about what’s happening in the industry), and refinement (the ability to successfully execute new ideas).
    • For instance, the metrics might show that a team is very purpose-driven, but lacking in collaboration; or a team might score highly on experimentation but less so on refinement.
    • Instead, when teams iterate on five or more different solutions, they are 50% more likely to launch a product successfully.
    • Everyone Should Feel Comfortable Challenging The Status Quo

      Anecdotally, we’ve all heard that team members who are unafraid to challenge the status quo–which often means the leadership–are a surefire way to encourage new ideas.

    • When a majority of team members who took the survey said that they felt comfortable challenging the status quo and acting with autonomy, the chances of a failed launch decreased by 16.67%.
    • “The factor that we’ve identified is that when it remains stable over time, the priorities aren’t constantly changing and the innovation projects and teams have a stable foundation that they can continue to work towards,” Aycan says.
    • As surprising as it might seem, teams that work together across distances can actually be more successful than teams with fewer remote workers.
    • deo’s data shows that the most innovative companies surveyed have between 25% to 57% of their employees working remotely, with an average ratio of remote workers at 41%. Teams with remote workers are 22% more successful in their initiatives compared to counterparts that are comprised of less than 15% remote collaborators.
    • For teams to truly work together seamlessly, they need to collaborate every day–which, amongst the companies using Creative Difference, led to 28% fewer failed launches.
    • “Teams that work together seamlessly across other business functions daily, compared to those that only update on a weekly or monthly basis, are 21% more likely to be successful,” Aycan says.
    • Ideo’s data shows that leaders–both executives and project leaders–who see their role as helping their employees reach their full potential are 17% more effective when compared to more top-down, traditional leadership styles.
    • “But the best organizations are able to empower more of their organization to identify tensions, equip them with ways to solve them, and be fair in terms of where budgets go and what they chose to work on.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Breaking Down the Silos

In the Upper School at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School we are on a mission to open up interdisciplinary learning experiences to our students. In January, we introduced 10 new interdisciplinary courses that will be team taught. If all goes as planned we will have approximately 21 faculty members working in a co-teaching situation.

We believe so strongly in the benefits of breaking down the disciplinary silos.

“The historical model was based on separation and specialization; the new model will be about creating connections and interactions among a wide variety of separate domains.” 

Duke University President Richard Brodhead

An interdisciplinary approach offers so many benefits to today’s students.

“Interdisciplinary teaching helps students…

  • Uncover Preconceptions or Recognize Bias…
  • Advance Critical Thinking and Cognitive Development…
  • Tolerate or Embrace Ambiguity…
  • Appreciate Ethical Dimensions of Concerns.

Study compiled by Arthur H. Goldsmith, Washington and Lee University

These 9 courses, along with Humanities 10 make up our new interdisciplinary courses for the 2017-18 school year. You can see that we have the common social studies and English connections, as well as science and English and statistics and English. These are one period classes where students can determine which core content area they can earn the credit for. Yes, we’re still working under a Carnegie unit paradigm.

interdisciplinary-courses-2017

Here are a couple of course descriptions. The course below is one that every student should take during his/her academic career. These particular courses allow students who are interested in math and sciences to take those courses and then use this course for their English credit. Oh, and students can earn honors credit for any of these courses. The sections are heterogenous and those who want to excel must complete work at a higher level.

Data and Rhetoric: How Statistics Shapes Arguments How do we know what data to trust? How do we use data responsibly? Because of practices like data dredging, p-hacking, and the use of logical fallacies, not all arguments are created equally, and the mere presence of data does not validate an argument. In this course, students will master introductory skills in statistical methods and data interpretation in conjunction with argument analysis and construction. Students will become critical readers as they learn to evaluate sources and evidence, including the statistics methods and analyses used to collect and interpret the data, trace an author’s line of reasoning, and evaluate the logic and efficacy of the claims, ultimately preparing students to become thoughtful researchers and writers. As students work to answer the essential questions for this course, they will also examine how culture and context shape data and its presentation as they work to answer the essential questions for the course. Learning outcomes and spiraling skills for this course allow learners to take this course for 1.0 English credit or 1.0 Mathematics credit.

Ecological Rhetoric: Science and Literature of the Environment In this course study discussions of environmental issues through a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction texts, exploring both the rhetoric and the scientific basis for claims made. The course emphasizes a strong foundation of the chemical, biological, and physical processes in ecosystem, as well the literary themes and linguistic devices deployed in environmental argumentation. Students will also craft arguments about the environment and attempted to mobilize communities around environmental issues in this project-based class.

We also are striving to provide our students with more options and to allow our older students to build their own path. These changes create many more options for out MVPS students. Prior to making a decision our Upper School Leadership team tested out possible schedules for student. What we found that each one had his/her own story based on their new choices.

Notice the differences between Javier and Ignacio.

Javier

  • *Data and Civic Engagement (SS) Year
  • *Environmental Advocacy: An exploration of the science and rhetoric surrounding the environment (Science) Year
  • Atlanta’s Place in America/Southern Studies:  What is Southern Culture? (English/Social Studies) Sem
  • Propaganda and Protest: Studying 20th century American warfare through the lens of film (Social Studies/English/Arts) Sem
  • Race, Class, and Gender in America (English/Social Studies) Sem

Ignacio

  • PreCalculus
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Data & Civic Engagement (Eng)
  • AP World
  • AP Latin
  • Yearbook

Our teachers will be in course development the rest of this semester and into the summer vacation. Afterwards each individual decided to honestly find a way for the child. The next step that is on our agenda is to find someone who can teach programming and also be able to craft. Leads on these position.

Since rolling out Humanities 9 this year we have learned that our teachers need support with becoming high performing teams in the classroom. At one of our recent meetings someone said, “We’re all alphas in our own classrooms.” Navigating class with  a teaching partner can be a stressful situation.

 

Empowering Seekers and Explorers

Disclaimer: This post has been in my draft box since August. It’s still worthy of sharing even though the timing is off.

This week we welcomed new faculty members to the Mount Vernon Presbyterian School Family. In the past we have spent a small amount of time on mission and culture before diving into the nuts and bolts of work life. This year we tried something different and we focused on our Norms and Principles and Practice:

  • Relationships are foundational to learning
  • Curiosity and passion drive learning

  • Empathy influences learning
  • Learners apply knowledge to make an impact
  • #FailUp

  • #HaveFun

  • #StartWithQuestions

ponce-city-marketWhile the maker and design thinking activities were excellent, the highlight for me was our field trip to Ponce City Market. In my recent post, #ILOVEMYSCHOOL I mentioned that one of our strategic questions is, How might we empower all learners to be seekers and explorers?”. 

 

 

fsbl-boBefore embarking on our adventure, Bo Adams shared his lifelong quest searching for project based learning (PBL) and his experience with Father-Son Based Learning (#FSBL). He also touted the benefits of building muscles around “Innovator’s DNA traits – observe, question, experiment, network, and associate. – through the methodology of observation journaling and curiosity-curated curriculum.”

 

Once we arrived at the market we split up into two groups but people were free to go wherever the wanted. The time together helped us build relationships and we had FUN. Not exactly what most people are used to during an orientations session.

city-planning
Learning from ATL City Planners
atl-popup-lab
So much to consider when redesigning a city
collage-ponce-cm
You just don’t know what you’ll find…

Let’s see what comes of trips like this. Who knows how it may transfer to our students.