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How We Learn


RIT Photography. RIT Art. 20. 20. 20. 20. 40. 40. 40. 40. 60. 60. 60. 60 ... male and female. 5) State, 'Now that you are in two groups, what is the question? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How We Learn

How We Learn
10 Reading
Discussion Group
Practice by Doing
90 Teach Others
Student Centered Learning Strategies
  • Case studies
  • Problem-based assignments
  • Concept mapping
  • Writing
  • Brainstorming
  • Peer teaching
  • Debates
  • Simulations
  • Games
  • Role playing
  • Story telling

Get their attention!
  • Learn students names, even if you have to use
    tent cards.
  • Ask students to refer to each other by name.
  • Use icebreakers or team building activities.
  • Begin the class with an activity a writing ,
    quote, poem, puzzle, silly or serious quiz or
  • Call on students. Dont wait for volunteers.
  • Use examples, language, metaphors that they can
    relate to.
  • Show enthusiasm for the subject.
  • Teach in chunks. Intersperse the
    lecture/presentation with questions, activity,
  • When showing a graph, chart, maps, etc., ask
    students what they see before telling them what
    is there.
  • Recognize effort. Everyone likes positive
    feedback. Great question, Erin. Terry,
    thanks for that comment.

Silent StartObjective Apply critical thinking
skills and prepare for discussion.Materials
Paper, pen
  • Start the class with a brief writing assignment
    by putting 2-3 questions on the board.
  • Give students 5 minutes to write responses.
  • Group students in pairs or triads for discussion.
    Allow 6-8 minutes.
  • Facilitate discussion. Compare and contrast
    responses. Summarize and bring to closure.
  • Examples
  • - In what ways have RIT faculty and students
    influenced the growth and
  • development of Upstate New York?
  • - What is feminism? Are you a feminist?
    Why/why not?
  • - Why is understanding our mental models

Silent DialogueObjective Apply critical
thinking skills, practice writing,
dialogue.Materials A dialogue notebook
(spiral bound or journal)
  • This exercise is initiated by a question(s) you
    pose to students at the conclusion of a class.
    The question should be tied in with the class
    content you have recently covered and/or assigned
    readings. Advise students that what they write
    will be read by another student.
  • At the beginning of the next class, pair them up
    and tell them this is a silent exercise. They
    cannot talk with their partner.
  • Partners are to exchange papers, read the answer.
    Then they are to write one question on the
    partners paper to clarify understanding or
    provoke deeper understanding of the topic.
  • Exchange papers, read the question and write an
    answer. Exchange.
  • Depending on the time you intend to allocate for
    this activity, students could l exchange several
    questions and answers.
  • .

Traffic Lightfor a lecture-type class
  • At the beginning of the semester, or class,
    distribute three
  • cardsone green, one yellow, one red. Instructs
    students to
  • Keep the green card visible if you are following
    what is being communicated by the professor or a
    fellow student.
  • Display the yellow card if you are confused,
    getting lost.
  • Flash the red card if you are disagreeing with or
    objecting to what is being said.

Traffic LightObjective Assess
progress/understandingRegularly or periodically,
assess what is working for students in terms of
active learning. Use an assessment sheet, like
the one below, or post one on a flip chart size
for students to write on.
In and OutObjective Stay
focusedResearch indicates that most they people
are only fully engaged for the first 18-30
seconds someone is speaking to them before they
begin to have distracting thoughts. It is
suggested that if people process the
distracting, or "out" thought, they can quickly
come back in. Suggest to students that they
keep two columns going in their note taking. The
in thoughts are concepts, ideas, information
that is important. Any "out" thoughts can be
written down in the "out" column. Once a student
acknowledges "out" thoughts she can leave them
because she knows they are written down and can
go back to them later. This technique can be
helpful when trying to get students to focus
attention on their "in" thoughts and dispense
"out" thoughts.
  • In
  • Beginnings of RIT 1829 Nathaniel Rochester
  • Athenaeum. Started as a reading society 5. To
  • lecture. Brought in Emerson, Holmes,.
  • Mechanics Institute 1885 - businessmen developed
    as free
  • evening school for industrial trades, i.e.,
  • Mechanics Institute merged in 1891 with Rochester
  • Athenaeum to form the Rochester Athenaeum and
  • Institute (RAMI).
  • Out
  • call Dana
  • Meet Erin
  • Store
  • Chicken
  • soda

Post NoteObjective Provide opportunity for
students to post questions to instructor or the
class or communicate an idea or
concernMaterials Sticky notes
  • Communicate to students that their comments,
    questions, concerns are important to you. They
    may think of questions or concerns before or
    after class. Suggest they capture those
    questions/ideas on a sticky note and post it in a
    designated area.
  • Supply sticky notes or have students bring their
  • Designate a place in the room for students to
    post notes. This may be a section of the
    blackboard, part of a wall, inside the door.
  • Advise students to post notes before class or
    during break (if a lengthy class).
  • Address content of sticky notes at the same
    time, i.e., end of class, one day a week.

Concept MapsObjective To create a visual
representation of structures and
relationshipsMaterials Paper, pen, pencils.
Can be created with concept mapping
software.Begin your class inviting students to
take notes using the concept mapping technique.
Stop the presentation from time to time and ask
students tospend 5 minutes collaboratively
drawing a concept map of the topics covered so
far. Continue with your presentation and repeat
the concept-mapping interludes. Use maps for
  • Presentation
  • Note taking
  • Creating an outline
  • Essay/paper writing
  • Creative writing
  • Summarize reading
  • Planning
  • Organizing

FOUNDER Nathaniel Rochester
Named RIT 1944
Concept map Use for
lecture presentation / note taking

Concept map of
students knowledge Use for
review and study relationships
Concept map two approaches
How to do a Map
  • Concept-Mapping" is a typically a non-linear
    tool used for thinking and learning. However, it
    can be created in a linear fashion. The
    following guidelines are offered for ease of
    creating a map. However, dont get locked into
    rules that hinder learning.
  • Use unlined paper, if possible, to support the
    non-linear process of mapping. If you must use
    lined paper, turn it so the lines are vertical.
  • Color coding may be helpful. Use colored
    pencils, ink or highlighters.
  • Begin with the main idea in the middle of the
    page. This may be a word, a phrase, a symbol, or
    a drawing.
  • Each new concept, theory, or idea is placed on a
    spoke or branch that stems from the main
  • A concept may branch several times to include
    closely related information.
  • If several branches are closely related, group
    them together by drawing a circle around them.
  • Connect all words, phrases, pictures or lists
    with lines, to the center (main idea) or to other
  • Create the map without concern over where things
    should go. Analyzing and ordering are linear
    activities that may hinder the Mapping process.
  • Write down everything you can think of without

Partner ProgressObjective Compare information
and share ideas.
  • Depending on the nature and time frame of the
    class, ask students to turn to one another and
    compare notes or exchange any questions or
    concerns about the class content.
  • Give them 3-5 minutes.
  • After this activity ask what they learned about
    the content or another persons perspective.
  • Ask what questions they have as a result of the
    partner exchange.

Types of QuestioningUse a variety of
question types. Teach toward the type of
questions you want students to ask.
  • Convergent thinking represents analysis and
    integration of remembered or given
  • information.
  • How, Why, In what ways. What countries were
    involved in the Cuban Missile
  • Divergent thinking brings out interpretation or
  • If, thenSuppose, What are some local
    effects of the Enron scandal?
  • Evaluative questions deal with values, judgment,
    and choice.
  • Justify, Defend, What do you think Should
    capital punishment be abolished?
  • Open-ended questions encourage involvement.
  • How would you research this problem?
  • Closed-ended questions usually ask for answers
    requiring simple recall or memorization.
  • What are the three principles of.?

Blooms Taxonomy Levels of
QuestioningBenjamin Bloom created a taxonomy
for categorizing level of abstraction of
questions that commonly occur in educational
settings. The taxonomy provides a useful
structure in which to categorize teaching and
test questions. Lower level questions are those
at the knowledge, comprehension, and simple
application levels of the taxonomy. Higher-level
questions are those requiring complex
application analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
skills. If you want to develop higher order
thinking, ask higher order questions.
  • KNOWLEDGE - Recall verbatim information
    memorization with no evidence of understanding.
  • remembering
  • memorizing
  • recognizing
  • recalling identification and
  • recall of information
  • Who, what, when, where, how ...?
  • Describe
  • COMPREHENSION Restatement in your own words
  • translating from one medium to another
  • describing in one's own words
  • organization and selection of facts and ideas
  • Retell...

  • APPLICATION - Use of information to solve
    problems transfer of abstract or theoretical
    ideas to practical situations.
  • problem solving
  • applying information to produce some result
  • use of facts, rules and principles
  • How example of...?
  • How is...related to...?
  • Why is...significant?
  • ANALYSIS Identification of component parts
    determination of arrangement, logic, semantics.
  • subdividing something to show how it is put
  • finding the underlying structure of a
  • identifying motives
  • separation of a whole into component parts
  • What are the parts or features of...?
  • Classify...according to...
  • Outline/diagram...
  • How with...?
  • What evidence can you list for...?

  • SYNTHESIS Combining information to form a
    unique product requires creativity and
  • creating a unique, original product that may be
    in verbal form or may be a physical
  • object
  • combination of ideas to form a new whole
  • What would you predict/infer from...?
  • What ideas can you add to...?
  • How would you create/design a new...?
  • What might happen if you combined...?
  • What solutions would you suggest for...?
  • EVALUATION Judgment the ability to make
    decisions and support views requires
    understanding of values.
  • making value decisions about issues
  • resolving controversies or differences of
  • development of opinions, judgments or decisions
  • Do you agree...?
  • What do you think about...?
  • What is the most important...?
  • Place the following in order of priority...
  • How would you decide about...?

JeopardyObjective Review, work in teams, and
have fun.At the beginning of the semester
advise students that you will be playing Jeopardy
as review for mid-term or final exams. Each
student is to submit 1 question in each
pre-determined category. Award students points
for each submitted. , i.e., 5 or 1 pt. These
points will accumulate toward the final grade.
Jeopardy Directions
  • Assign students into two teams. 
  • Teams select a name and someone whose
    responsibility it is to reveal the answers that
    the team agrees upon.
  • Advise students that if any team member calls out
    an answer without the team consensus, this will
    be considered the teams answer, whether it is
    correct or incorrect.
  • You, the instructor, will keep score. Record
    scores on a flipchart or chalk board.
  • Roll dice or flip a coin to determine which team
    goes first.
  • The first team chooses a category and a point
    value. (For example, in the sample above the
    choice might be RIT Art 40 Points.)
  • After the team decides on the category and point
    value, read a question from the category.
    Students discuss and decide on an answer.
  • The team captain calls out the answer for the
  • If correct, the team wins the appropriate points.
    (In this case, they will get 40 points.)
  • If this team did not correctly answer the
    question, the other team has the opportunity to
    answer the same question. Or the other team may
    choose a different category and point value.

Pair ShareObjective To stimulate short
discussion between pairs of students.Materials
Class notes, paper, pen
  • Stop the presentation and give the students a
  • Students each formulate an answer. Give them 3-5
  • Students share answers with partner.
  • Partner listens to answer.
  • Switch.
  • Create a new answer synthesizing both
  • Call on students to read the new question.

Role Play the ConceptsObjective To strengthen
learning by acting out the concept
  • Physically acting out a concept may be a
    more effective and engaging for students than
  • reading or hearing about the concept. The
    example below was used in a research methods
  • class. It can be adapted to many different
    concepts and learning environments.
  • Learning objective Distinguish between
    independent and dependent variables. Identify
  • possible antecedent and intervening
  • Have the entire class stand in a group.
  • 2) Pose the following research question What
    is the correlation between sex of the driver and
    being stopped for speeding?
  • 3) Advise the students to first identify the
    independent variable (sex of the driver), the
    attributes of that variable (male/female), and
    the dependent variable (stopped for speeding).
  • 4) Next, tell the students that they need to
    actually show how we would research this by
    moving around
  • the room. Ask, What would you do first?
    Here the students need to divide into the two
  • male and female.
  • 5) State, Now that you are in two groups, what
    is the question? ( Who has been stopped for

PropsObjective Learn an abstract with a
tangibleMaterials Miscellaneous props
  • Roll dice or flip a coin to teach probability.
    Have students work in pairs or small groups with
    dice to experience this first-hand.
  • Use candy to show measures of central tendency.
    Jelly beans or MMs work well with this
    activity. Give pairs or groups of students candy
    and data. They are to use the candy to depict
    a bar chart, histogram, polygon, etc. You may
    make this competitive.
  • A human histogram or scatter gram can be created
    by asking students to position themselves in the
    room as if each person was data.

Problem based learningObjectives To promote
higher-order thinking, problem-solving,
communication and critical analysis- Apply
real world problems to acquire and integrate
knowledge, or use hypothetical problems.
  • Precede assignment with discussion on group
    dynamics and group roles facilitator, recorder,
  • Identify and assign actual or hypothetical
  • Establish guidelines and a timeframe to solve the
  • Schedule presentation of team solutions.
  • Ask class to discuss and evaluate effectiveness
    of each solution.

Interval Quiz Objective To assess learning at
intervals in the class period Materials Paper
and pen Interval Quiz involves alternating
lecture/presentation with quizzes. You may create
the quizzes or students may learn more if they
create the quizzes. Set a period of time to
lecture, say 8-12 minutes, (set a timer if you
need to). Then stop the lecture.
  • Instruct students to group together into teams of
    3-5 people (depending on size of class). Next,
    ask them to select a representative who will
    later share with the entire class.
  • The task is to compare their notes and come up
    with three substantial questions based on what
    they heard in this portion of the lecture.
    Advise them of the amount of time for this
    activity, say 7 minutes. They will need to get
    right to work on to task and not be chatting.
  • When the activity time has elapsed, select one
    team at random and invite the representative to
    read a question and to select an individual
    member of any other team to answer it. Continue
    to do this until all teams have posed a question.
  • Consider using some of the questions for review
    or on an exam.

Summary SwapObjective Summarize a segment of
content and identify key learning
points.Materials Index cards or students paper
  • After a period of time, roughly 10 minutes, in
    class or lab, ask students to summarize the key
    learnings from that segment of the class.
  • On an index card, or sheet of paper, they are to
    put their name at the top. Use only one side to
    record the summary. About 2 minutes for this.
  • Ask everyone to stand up and exchange the card
    with someone. The person who received the card
    will read it over and add anything they think is
    important that the card owner may have left
  • Exchange cards 2-3 times with different students.
  • Direct everyone to return the card to the
  • Ask for a volunteer to read their summary and
    what was added to the card.
  • The cards make a great tool for review.

Teach learnObjective To reinforce learning
by teaching to a peer
  • Advise students that they are to select one
    concept, formula, etc., from what has been
    covered today, to teach to a classmate.
  • Allow about 3-4 minutes for preparation. The
    teaching should only take
  • one and a half to two minutes for each
  • Pair students for the teach/learn activity.
    They may select their own partner or you may ask
    them to pair with someone they dont know, or
    havent paired with previously.
  • Give then some directions to begin, i.e., the
    person whose first name begins first in the
    alphabet. Tell them they have 5 minutes total
    for both students to teach and ask questions.
    Advise them when half of the time has elapsed.
  • Ask how the teaching reinforced the learning.

When we teach, we learn
Danserau, D.F. and Newborn, D. (1997) Using
knowledge maps to enhance teaching. In W.E.
Campbell and K.A. Smith (Eds.), New paradigms for
college teaching (pp. 127-147). Edina, MN
Interaction. Novak, J.D. and Gowin, D.G. (1984)
Learning how to learn. Cambridge, England
Cambridge University Paul, K. (1996) Study
smarter not harder. Vancouver Self-Counsel
Press. PBL Insight (a problem based learning
publication) is published quarterly by Samford
University, and distributed for free. - free
trial software with concept mapping
applications http// - education
resources for all disciplines http//www.vta.spco - nine modules for developing team
work among students