Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 2

HOW LEARNING WORKS

Adrianne Moore For a great deal of my academic career Ive been required to look at a whole range of written material academic policies, tenure guidelines, grant requests and generic student evaluation formsthat, as a faculty member in the arts, dont really apply to me. Ive got to the point where I assume that unless something is arts-specific it wont really apply to my students either. However, a general principles text about teaching and they way we learn has lead me to reconsider not just content but my approach to teaching. The book is: How Learning Works - 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching By Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, Marie K. Norman. Here are some things I found really useful: How does the way in which students organize knowledge affect their learning? My strategies for organizing information may not match those of my students and these differences may affect their ability to retain and utilize it. As faculty we apparently tend to organize our domain knowledge around "meaningful features and abstract principles." But students, even those who seem highly skilled, often don't have such connected ways of managing information. Students as novices will often have superficial knowledge structures and will differ in the number or density of connections, so their ability to recognize relationships amongst pieces of knowledge becomes as crucial as the knowledge itself. It would seem then that a crucial part of my job is to present information in a way that facilitates the development of students' organizational structures (or associations). This obviously includes how I sequence the students physical experiences. One symptom which I certainly recognize is students tendency to lock onto terms which give them a false sense of understanding the material. For example, they just love that word support, and may think that they understand it long before they do. So I have started to think not just about sequencing their learning experiences, but also about information grouping and the way I categorize information in classes. Some appealing strategies from "How Learning Works" included giving students an advance organizer of principles within which to fit the knowledge they will be acquiring, and creating a concept map to analyze my own knowledge organization and then explaining to my students the organizational structures behind why I am teaching what and when. I can also help them map out how my concepts relate to information presented elsewhere in their training. The kinds of practice and feedback that enhance learning

A fair bit of this chapter is discipline specific but I did take away a few applicable tips on aligning goals for performance, feedback, and practice. (Practice is defined as the individual work students do outside of class.) At the early stages in their academic careers, I can help students to set specific goals for their practice sessions and to develop practice strategies and techniques in line with my course goals. Feedback is a familiar tool of course but this book has helped me focus on precise timing of feedback, and on the "looping" of observed performance to target feedback to practice and around to performance again. (The book provides a cool diagram on this.) And I'm learning to clarify some of my goals in terms of simple exposure to material vs proficiency, and the implications of this for student practice. I liked the idea of scaffolding i.e. adding my support to a students practice to ensure that it is at the appropriate level of challenge. As the term implies this support can be taken away when the student is more secure. Applying the seven principles to ourselves The logical progression is of course to apply the principles of learning expounded in the book to my own learning about how we learn and (and therefore how to teach.) Although I have given less thought to keeping up with the advances in pedagogy than I have to the content of my field, it does seem like a realizable goal to implement two clear pedagogical improvements to a class each time I teach it. The most cogent argument made for devoting time to learning more about teaching is that our students, collectively and individually, change constantly. Logically our teaching needs to constantly adapt to changing parameters. This book was a stimulating read and I found lots in it applicable to teaching voice and speech.