Enhancing Leaning in The 21st Century

 

I revisited Bloom’s Taxonomy with a keener view
and gained a deeper understanding of constructivist
learning theory.

 

Instead of simply using the action
verbs from Bloom’s list of “to do” words that clarify
expectations and objectives, I became more aware
of the actions required to acquire, comprehend,
apply, synthesize, and evaluate knowledge.

 

The actions indicated by the Bloom’s Taxonomy motivated
the transitions from declarative knowledge to procedural
knowledge, and then to structural or conceptual
knowledge.

 

These knowledge integration levels progressively transition the learner from a

passive existance as a receiver of knowledge to a proactive condition of 

constructor, builder, or designer of a knowledge base.

 

Utilizing transformative and constructivist approaches to teaching and learning,

proven instructional strategies can be identified, developed and implemented to target

specific objectives and structured learning activities that address individual learner

needs.  

 

Proven insturctional strategies include:

 

1.  identifying and distinguishing similarities and differences,
2.  direct summarizing and meaningful note taking practices, 

3.  effectively reinforcing effort and providing targeted feedback,
4.  defining engaging homework and practice activities,
5.  expanding concepts through non-linguistic representations,
6.  developing and supporting cooperative learning systems,
7.  keeping students organized and focused by grouping or chunking concepts,
8.  setting individual goals and offering feedback on the learner’s individual
     objectives,
9.  encouraging higher order or critical thinking by encouraging and supporting
     the creative generation and testing of personalized hypotheses,
10.and activating/analyzing prior knowledge constructs that allow students to
     supports their own learning needs and direction.

 

 

 

The proliferation of supportive and assistive technologies encourage differentiated learning in ways that allow the learner to be more engaged, motivated by instrisic values, and, thus, more self-directed.

While the preiouvly discussed instructional strategies are listed in the order of research generated percentile gains in learning, depending on the lesson objectives and learning style of the learner, emphasis on either of theses strategies can be placed with greater or lesser weight.

  

Upon reviewing these strategies, I learned that as a teacher, my skills in providing feedback are not as strong as I would like them to be.  In my zeal to get thing done, I must remember to first recognize and acknowledge benchmarks that have been met rather than assess the whole.

 

Providing effective feedback not only depends on reinforcing and staying focused on the objectives, but it requires proficient interpersonal skills and the ability to judge without being judgmental.  It is important to understand that any critique or criticism is a statement of value and can immediately be perceived as a commentary on self worth.  As in any situation, effective communication is key.

 

Disposition is even more relevant.  The ability to build relationships and community is a dispositional quality of character that a teacher must possess.

When offering feedback, remaining focused on the objectives can help to blunt the criticism; but I have also learned that it is equally important and much more effective to determine how objectives have generally been met before specifying how they have been missed.  

 

Consequently, as a teacher, in my zeal to “get it done”, I will have to back off enough to see the bigger picture first.  On my part, this will require some self-assessment, reflection on my role as teacher compared with that of  leader/facilitator, and practice in authentic assertive communication.  A relationship of trust must be established between teacher and student.

Additionally feedback must be timely if it is to be effective.

As a result of my studies,  I have gained a clearer understanding of the science and practice of teaching and the tools to navigate the process.   I understand  that structuring learning objectives in compliance with instructional strategies will increase the likelihood that anticipated learning outcomes are achieved. Technology can enhance the achievement of anticipated outcomes.