Carrie Ann’s Reading Log (Week of March 28th)

Posted by on March 29, 2010 
Filed under Reading logs

Though I did read both chapters assigned, I want to focus this reading log on the Steadman text, due to issues I have seen with students that have crossed my path during my educational career.  When teaching a class you wonder if all the information that you impart reaches and is understood by all the students in front of you.  The group that this chapter brings to light are “The Leslies” and the idea of the learning issues that your students face from their perspective.  You wonder when a student has an issue with the understanding of a particular topic, where there was an educational disconnect.  Was it the way that I presented the information?… Could it be that I covered too much in class that day?… Or could it be that the student is not effectively reviewing the material on his or her own?  All these questions plus a few others come to light and we need to formulate the hypothesis to solve the question at hand.   One quotation that we must remember when dealing with “The Leslies” or any other student who crosses our path was presented on page 40, “Existing knowledge structures provide a framework for understanding new information.”  The ways that our students learn, combine, and retain information are ingrained specifically to them and we must find ways to help students in our classes, not push them away. (We don’t want to lose students; we need to find new ways to make connections).

One way that we could this is in the Learning Strategies that were presented in this chapter.  There were five different strategies that were mentioned in the discussion of “The Leslies”: 1) Rehearsal (highlighting the text/flashcards), 2) Elaboration (Making meaningful connections), 3) Organization (taking large amounts of new information and making connections with previous knowledge), 4) Comprehension monitoring (activities to check attention, avoid mind wandering, and self testing), and 5) Resource management (making a homework schedule, taking advantage of office hours and study groups/sessions). Over the years I personally in my own learning, have used all of these in learning material/concepts for myself.  But, my students that I teach I can see do not.  Out of a class of 90 or so students, maybe 30-40 will show up for a review session, in a semester I might have 5 ask to meet with me to go over material (and some will wait until the last minute and until they really realize they are in trouble to talk), and though I do in-class activities to keep everyone engaged, only a few will actually talk during class discussions. I am always available to help my students, but few take advantage of that… it is a struggle that I am still battling against.   We as educators need to find out why this is, keep enforcing the learning strategies, and keep doing everything we can do to reach “The Leslies” out there.

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