Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning

Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James M. Lang

I just started reading this book. My plan is to capture at least one idea from each chapter and incorporate immediately into my teaching.

Part 1: Knowledge
1. Retrieving. The idea here is that retrieval practice will help learners retain foundational material. Frequency matters, align practice and assessments and require thinking. The opening and closing of class are good places to add retrieval activities. 
I could close the training event with a short quiz or  solve a problem. I could also close the class by asking learners to write down the most important concept from today. 
Example of a problem. Your student needs to work online for 60 minutes during the week. How might you weave that time into your weekly schedule?

2. Predicting. Predictive activities prepare your mind for learning by driving you to make connections. Predictive exercises may also reveal gaps in our knowledge. Stay conceptual, provide fast feedback. Induce reflection. Curiosity.
Ideas. Begin the session with a pretest. When presenting a case or a problem, stop before the conclusion and ask the learner to predict the outcome.
Example: after reviewing the action tabs, ask participants how long they think it will take to check this information. After reviewing auto placement information ask participants to predict how long a 1st grader placed in level 2 will be asked to work online each week.

3. Interleaving. Spacing out learning sessions over time and mixing up your practice of skills you are seeking to develop.
If we used spaced learning to allow some time for forgetting to set in, we are forced to draw from our long-term memory when we return to it. A little forgetting has the effect of retriggering consolidation, further strengthening memory.
The time that intervenes between spaced learning sessions allows our mind to better organize and solidify what we are studying.

More to come.....