Monday, April 11, 2011

Classroom Management and Assessment

Managing the Classroom

My Opinion
To me this is the most frightening thing I can think of when it comes to teaching a class, because at times I can be a push over. As a student I was one of the worst behaving, I picked fights, was loud and talkitive, but I now see why I did it. I was a student who just wanted to seek attention. The one teacher I really admire is one who used my outburst as a teaching tool to me. She gave me options and treated me like a person not just a child, she understood where I was coming from and helped me through my behaviour. I think that when I am a teacher that I would use her as my greatest inspiration.

Dealing with classroom problems is a matter of timing, and the best time is before the problems occur (preventive), but sometimes problems arise and the teacher must deal with issues even if there was preventative measurements (reactive).Balance between preventive management and reactive management.

Teachers should ask what the function of the behaviour is, and why are they misbehaving? (Functional Approach)

Assessing the Seriousness and the Three Things to Consider
  1. Severity: overall potential impact.
  2. Chronicity: How chronic is the behaviour where does it take place?
  3. Frequency: How often does it happen? If it happens all the time how effective is the teacher’s response?

Minor Interventions: These minor issues arise when the activity isn’t moving along and appropriate transitions are not in place.
Progressive Discipline Approach
  1. Non-verbal: eye contact
  2. Proximity: move closer to the issue
  3. Redirection: make a general situation
  4. Give needed instruction
  5. Directly and Assertively tell them to stop

Moderate Interventions: Semi- Formal, like detentions, time outs, and with holding privileges.

Serious Interventions: Formal interventions that involve school administration, like suspension, in-school detentions, at home detentions, or even expulsion (usually last resort)

Assessing Students’ Learning

Alberta Assessment Consortium (AAC): Program of studies → Teacher as Planner → Teacher as Coach → Teacher as Judge →Program of studies …

Four Types of Assessment
  1. Before instruction assessment: provides teachers with a baseline, where students are at before assessment.
  2. During instruction assessment: Formative assessment ( FOR Learning) the teacher as coach stage, serves as a diagnostic to help the teacher and students know how they are doing.
  3. After instruction assessment: Summative assessment (OF Learning) final exams, are the teacher as judge stage and assess the overall learning.
  4. Assessment AS Learning: Self – Reflections involve meta-cognition allows for a higher level of cognition.

Three Features of Assessment
  1. Reliability: Yields similar, predictable, reproducible, stable, and dependable results.
  2. Validity: Measures what it claims to measure.
  3. Fairness: All learners have the same opportunity to learn and show how they have learned the knowledge.

Current Trends
  1. Use at least some performance based assessment
  2. Examine some higher order cognitive skills
  3. Use multiple assessment methods.
  4. Have high performance standards
  5. Use computers as part of assessment, incorporate new technology.
My Opinion
Assessment I think will be a easy part of teaching, but being the evaluating I think will be very tricky because at times you will know what the student is trying to say but the ideas presented will be too vague, and you might have to read between the lines. The questions is do you give the student a mark based on what you see or what you know, being completely objective to the situation and trying not to be subjective will be difficult. I hope that I will use as many different kinds of assessment so that all students have a chance to succeed this means I should use types for each type of intelligences. How can you find a way to teach math using music, or the students who ask why are we doing algerbra, when I have no need for it in real life? How can a teacher be truely fair?


Learner-Centred Planning and Instruction

Constructivism: Student actively constructs own knowledge.

Four Principles
  1. Seems to support Cognition and Meta-cognition, by facilitating thinking and self awareness by making corrective steps to fill in the gaps.
  2. Seems to support Motivation and Affect, because it taps into the students desires to empower them to dig into the material.
  3. Seems to support Developmental & Social Needs, because the students actively work with the world around them and by interacting with others.
  4. Seems to be supportive to  Individual Differences, each student has a different learning style, gender, class and culture which the student can use in their own way to support their learning.

Three Strategies
  1. Problem based or Project based strategies: students work together to solve a problem or create a project. This is how students can make a real world connection, and produce a product which would be a solution to a real world problem.
  2. Asking Essential Questions: these are questions that dig down to the heart of the matter, like essay questions that ask to make connections.
  3. Discovery Learning: Research based which guides the students understanding through the material. Guided discovery which is like Vygotsky’s scaffolding.

Integrating the Curriculum
  1. Authentic: curriculum is more like the real world; subjects are normally holistically integrated, which makes the knowledge more useful to the everyday situations.
  2. School: Subjects are not holistic, subjects are all taught separately and do not make any connections to each other which does not make sense when applying it to the real world.

Teacher Centred Planning and Instruction

Traditionalism: teacher centred approach, where the teacher is the direct provider of the knowledge the student needs to receive. Teacher lectures.

Behavioural Objectives: Statements that communicate proposed changes in the students behaviour to reach desired levels of performance.
  1. Student’s behaviour, what the student will be able to do.
  2. Conditions under which the behaviour will take place (when, where, how).
  3. Performance criteria (measureable) and the terms (degree of accuracy or precision or quality).
*must be observable and measureable.
By June 15, Johnny will be able to correctly state all the provinces and capital cities in Canada with 90% accuracy.

  1. Actions- the verb
  2. Conditions
  3. Terms
  4. How? How will you know, how will it be assessed?

Instructional Taxonomies: There are a number of them including Blooms taxonomy, Affective Domain (emotional engagement), and Psychomotor Domain.

My Opinion
Personally I think the method Teacher Centred Instruction is most helpful, as a student I like to know what it is I need to know, and I can assume that if the professor states something I would probably need to know it. But I also like to incorperate the student centred approach as well, I think that it is important to dig deeper and find out material what you find interesting and expand it in a way that you find useful. It is important to show that you are able to use the ideas the instructor has taught you in a way that you can look at a subject and state what is going on even if it isn’t the particular example shown. I really find this most useful in biology and other science programs because the idea are too complex to understand if you teach yourself but with they help of someone who has the knowledge and knowing it for yourself in the end it is easy to find similar examples, or larger examples but explain it in a more complex way.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cooperative Learning and Motivation

Cooperative Learning: Constructing knowledge through social interactions.

Constructivist Approach:
We construct knowledge through our own knowledge of what we bring to the picture individually (learner specific).

Social Constructivist:
 Emphasizes on social and mutual construction. Vygotsky is a well known social constructivist.

Five Components of Cooperative Learning
1.      Positive Interdependence: Independent success is dependent on the success of the group. Everyone rises and falls together, this is common for me when doing group presentations because the overall presentation is what really counts the total effect of the work.

2.      Positive Face-Face Interactions: Sense of community which will reinforce the motivation to learn. When you see that everyone else is just as excited as you it is inspiring and motivating.

3.      Interpersonal and Small Group Interactions: People need to teach the skills and roles in group work.

4.      Individual Accountability: People don’t always contribute equally. Often teachers find a way to avoid this by assigning a mark based on what others had to say in your group.

5.      Critical Reflection: What I learned, and reflecting on the experience. Self reflection and self growth.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Deficiency of Needs: If the students don’t have these needs, the student cannot learn.

1.      Physiological: Most basic of needs, like food, shelter and clothes.
2.      Safety: A continuing supply of physiological needs.
3.      Love and Acceptance: Intimate core foundations of social relations.
4.      Self-Esteem and Respect: The social needs, feeling good about ones self and others.

Growth Needs: The needs we work for to become fulfilled.

5.      Knowledge and Understanding: Intellectual needs, want to grow and gain knowledge.
6.      Aesthetics and Beauty: Art, order, harmony, music, cinema, physical beauty.
7.      Self-Actualization: You as an individual are all you can be. Have peak experiences, and ecstasy.
8.      Self-Transcendence: No longer satisfied with self-actualization want to extend and contribute to others.

These needs drive behaviour. No matter what people do they do it because they have a need, there is always an explanation for peoples behaviours. The candle problem states that physical incentives don’t work, and that it stops creativity, this is true but not always true. I thrive on competition so if someone said I would be rewarded if I did better than someone else I would try my best. Like at work we were told that we needed to up sell some menu items, and that who ever did but would be rewarded. I told myself that I could do it that I would be the best and I did win. The candle problem also states that people should focus on the intrinsic motivations, the things that make us happy, I guess I did that too because winning is what make me happy, because I hate to lose and hate to be wrong.

2 Ways of Motivation
1.      Intrinsic: The internal reasons, we do what we do because we want to. (Higher levels of creativity)
2.      Extrinsic: The source that of motivation comes from the outside (Lower level tasks) money, power.


1.      Helpless: People that just give up, state that they have an internal trait that just doesn’t make them successful.
2.      Performance: People are not focused on the process but the outcome, have a continuous eye on the prize, and if they don’t succeed it sucks away motivation.
3.      Mastery: Focuses on the tasks, skills, rather than the ability. Positive affect (enjoyment) generates solution orientation strategies that improve performances, curiosity and ownership of work and learning.


Memory: The process of recovering information about past events or knowledge, and Learning.

3 Processes of Memory:

1.      Rehearsal: Is the conscious repetition over time. Example: writing out notes over and over again.
2.      Deep Processing: Dig into the concept and move towards deeper meaning. Example: Researching how different elements come into play and make the concept you want to know about more elaborate. Chemistry of why bread rises.
3.      Constructing Images: Another form of elaboration by making a visual extension of the concept. Example: Andi Bells super memory strategy.
4.      Organization: Make meaningful connections, by giving the concept structure. Example relating people in my life to Erik Erikson’s levels of human development, turns out everyone in my house hold is at a different level.

1.      Sensory: Fleeting in seconds or less. Most of it doesn’t stay. That why at times, when I am having a meaningless conversation I cannot recall what I just had said, because it doesn’t matter.
2.      Short Term: About 30 seconds. For me this would be random web searches, I will remember parts of that I had found out but not a lot.
3.      Long Term: Lasts a long time, because we make a connection to something we already know to something we want to know. This extends to my interests in Biology I tend to remember what I study because I find it enjoyable and I want to know more.

Retrieval: Knowing where to find it.
1.      Cue Dependant: The label or cue to find the information has a lost connection therefore the cue no longer works.
2.      Interference Theory: Other new information we have learned interferes with old information being found.
3.      Decay Theory: The foundation of the pathways to the information disappears. Neuropath ways decay because of lack of use.

My Opinion:  The way I study is in a sense rehearsal, I like to study with flashcards which is repetition until you think you know the material. This study strategy works for exams but I don’t think it lasts in the long term memory. I think that if I made more connections to the material like my example of comparing family to Erik Erikson’s levels that it would last longer. Memory to me only works if you work on it, but I believe that it takes a lot of effort for it to remain and lots of the time I would rather relax or do something better, in a sense our brains are just as lazy as the user. So if people want better memory and be better, work on memory and work on yourself. Use the secrets of success.

Richard St.Johns secrets of success.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Functional Analysis and Cognitive Information Processing

Functional Analysis:
Involves examining a student’s inappropriate behaviour as well as the antecedents, and its consequences to determine the functions of the behaviour might serve for the students.
A-     Antecedents- what brings up, or happens before the negative behaviour.
B-      Behaviour- the negative behaviour.
C-      Consequences- what happens after the fact?
Positive Behaviour Support:
After indentifying the purpose of the inappropriate behaviour we find other ways to deal with the needs in an appropriate way.
5 Strategies:
1.       Directly teach desirable behaviours
2.       Consistently reinforce new behaviours in a way the student appreciates.
3.       In the classroom try to identify predictable routines. This reduces anxiety and makes them feel comfortable.
4.       Provide frequent opportunities for choice, learning through doing.
5.       Provide adaptations to support academic success, to allow for change we remove barriers.
My Opinion:
I understand that by doing preventative measures it may reduce negative behaviours but it seems to be that this is just makeup on the problem, nothing is really solved it just prevents issues for the time being. I think people need outlets where they can deal with issues and fulfill their needs; these ideas seem a bit manipulative. Sometimes even if routines are in place it won’t always be an effective strategy.

Cognitive Information Processing Approach:
The brain acts like a computer, bringing information into the system and storing it there in an organized fashion.
Robert Siegler’s 3 Characteristics:
1.       Thinking:  Information processing.
2.       Change Mechanisms: How information and content changes in the system.
1.       Encoding:  Storage- bringing information into the system and storing it in a way the brain can understand.
2.       Automaticity: Process at which the cognitive activities becomes automatic. The way the brain works and changes.
3.       Strategy Construction: Creating more effective and efficient ways of processing information in a conscious way.
4.       Transfer: Apply something we learn and transfer it to another situation.
3.       Self Modification: Meta cognition, thinking about our own thinking. How people can reframe a situation. This is an active process asking the questions am I really getting it.
1.       S- Survey: What’s to come, prepares mind.
2.       Q-Question: Mode of active engagement.
3.       R- Read: Kind of obvious
4.       R-Recite: Say it out loud, mobilizing modalities.
5.       R-Relate: Relate what you are learning to what you know.
6.       R-Review: Go back and do another survey.
My Opinion:
This way of looking at the brain is really effective, but I dislike the terminology of the computer, I think that there is so much more going on than that. The SQRRRR method really does work, I use it all the time not when reading though but when studying flashcards, to me I think this is the most effective way of studying but at times it is not effective when reciting something you did months ago.  In many ways the characteristic of Transfer is used most often in psychology because that is the reason for the blog I think to take the information we have learned and be able to recite and apply it to something else we know, or how we think we might use information in a particular setting.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Operant Conditioning

Operant Conditioning:
Is the most traditional way of managing the classroom because “It Works”, as it is effective for managing behaviours. But it does have a down side, it fails to ensure lasting behavioural management, Students will behave while the teacher is there but not when the teacher isn’t. The students are not being proactive in their behaviour, and not managing themselves. This topic most closely reminds me of Lawrence Kohlberg’s levels and stages of Moral Development.
Lawrence Kohlberg states that there are 3 levels of moral development each stage becoming more internalized.  The first stage is Pre Conventional which includes A) Punishment: which is the fear of negative consequences. B) Hedonism: Doing something despite negative consequences because they like the product.
 The second stage is Conventional which includes A) Nice boy/girl: They want society to see them as a good person in society. B) Law and Order: not doing something just because the law says so.
And Lastly Post Conventional A) Social Contract: Society respects each other and there is an open agreement to do it because they themselves choose to. B) Universal Ethical: Purely internalized, and see the practical options.
I see the class room in terms of what was stated above as the fear of negative consequences, like Pre Conventional stage Punishment.

At times I do not get these methods at all, because I have just resently moved in with my dad who has two young daughters, and it seems that no matter what anyone does they still act they way they do. You can tell them what they are doing is wrong, or you can praise what they do, and everything in between and the outcome is always the same. Is there just no hope for them?
Positive Reinforcement:
Increasing or maintaining good behaviour by adding something to the situation. An example of this in the classroom would be that the teacher sees that everyone is working quietly doing as they were told, and teacher adds a compliment, saying thank you all for working so nicely today.
Positive Punishment:
Decreasing negative behaviour by adding something to the situation. An example of this would be that the teacher sees a student picking on another student, so to decrease this behaviour the teacher gives the student a detention.
 Negative Punishment:
Decreasing negative behaviour by taking something away.  An example  of this would be the teacher sees that a student is not using computer time effectively, so the teacher takes computer time away from the student.
Negative Reinforcement:
Increasing or maintaining good behaviour by taking something away from the situation. An example would be that the teacher want to increase productivity and studying so the teacher says if you all work till the end of class appropriately I will take away the end of day quiz.
When there is a similar response to a similar stimulus. They will continue to show positive behaviour everywhere, so that the behaviour becomes generalized to every part of life.
You extinguish all types of Reinforcement and Punishment so that there is no stimulus. This is when nothing seems to work, just do nothing and see how the situation changes or if it does.

Differentiating Instruction

Differentiating Instruction:
The teacher modifies content, process, and product through the student’s readiness, interests, and learning profiles.
By modifying instruction all students will be able to learn despite all their differences, like strengths and backgrounds.
What Teachers Modify
Is “THE WHAT” and materials of learning. WHAT are the outcomes of the curriculum, how students can learn with different materials, like textbooks, posters, music, field trips, and all the other possibilities of materials that can be used to explore and expand the students mind. In short there is a choice and range of possibilities.
Are “THE ACTIVITIES” teachers use to get students to learn. How does the teacher want the students to learn the outcomes or “THE WHAT”. Will the teacher have the students create, read, research, listen? In many ways the teacher wants to have many choices to choose from, I myself would get tired if I only did one type of project, yes I would get really good at it fast, but I wouldn’t know how to use a variety of ways to get what I have learned across. It is important to also have many activities to allow all types to learners to feel engaged, if students just read then students who find this to be a challenge, then you put them at a disadvantage.
Are “THE VEHICLES” which students demonstrate what they have learned. Traditionally this is tests, asking can the student answer all the questions correctly? But there are many different ways that students can present their knowledge like, conversations, blogs, posters, demonstrating, or presenting. There are so many different possibilities, so teachers should give the students choices to show what they have leaned.
What Students Bring
This is where the student is in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Sometimes the student is in a grade level which they are not ready for, or is gifted and understands everything that is presented. There are challenges when it comes to the student’s readiness, do you sacrifice one student even though they struggle, or do you try to bring them to the same level as everyone else despite the time and effort, I would hope everyone would try to help others but sometimes that is just not the case. When it comes to gifted students they are not always engaged with what you teach, but teachers tend to spend extra time with these students to help them achieve greater expectations. This parallel is a little one sided.
These are the students passions, curiosity, what gets the students hooked. By using many students hooks we can get students passionate about their learning, they will actively pursue what makes them happy.   Many students say “what the point of learning this?” well if you show them that by learning something they think is trivial then they can apply it to what they love then it will get them more involved. Example: A student is passionately involved in skateboarding but they hate physics, so you can use examples of skateboarding and apply it to the problems.
Student Profiles:
This is the students learning styles, how do they learn in terms of Multiple Intelligences. Are they hands on learners, verbal, logical, reflective? Teachers are able to help students achieve success by using many types of learning styles.