Saturday, November 21, 2009

John Ratey

Presentation on exercise and the brain.

Torkel Klingberg

Presentation on working memory.

Willy Wood

Presentation on getting teens' attention in the classroom.

Francis Jensen

Presentation on the development of the teen brain.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Social Cognitivism Podcast Fall 2009

Our brief discussion about Social Cognitivism.

Behaviorism Podcast Fall 2009

Our class discussion on Behaviorism.

Constructivism Podcast Fall 2009

Our class discussion on Constructivism.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Information Processing Podcast

Our class discussion on Information Processing theory.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Social, Emotional, and Moral Development Podcast

Our class discussion on Emotional Intelligence as well as Erikson's and Kohlberg's theories of development.

Updated Cognitive Development Podcast

Complete podcast covering general developmental trends, Piaget, and Vygotsky.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cognitive Psychology Podcast EDSC3000-002_fall2009

Recording of our class discussion about Piaget's theory and a lesson utilizing Vygotsky's theory.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Student Quote About Research

I was really glad to see this on one of my students' blogs:

"Becoming a teacher is not a singular process with a beginning and an end. We won't walk out of this university with all of the knowledge we will need in order to be effective teachers. In fact, we will walk out of here with only a small portion of the knowledge that we will come to use in our classrooms, it will be up to us to supplement that knowledge. Practical experience is ultimately the best source of this knowledge, but by no means the only source. If we come upon a problem that falls outside our skill set, we--as teachers--will turn to other resources for help. It will be necessary to be able to assess the validity of those resources. Having an understanding of research methods will enable us to be more critical consumers of information."

Exactly what I want them to learn and what I hope other adults will pursue, as well.

Winter Babies...

Click on the title of this post to read a fascinating article that reminds us why we shouldn't jump to conclusions about causation from correlational studies!!!

Brain Podcast EDSC3000-001_fall2009

Podcast of our class discussion about neuroscience and education.

Assessment Podcast EDSC3000-003_fall2009

Podcast of our class discussion about assessment.

Assessment Podcast EDSC3000-002_fall2009

Podcast from our class discussion about assessment.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Brain Podcast - EDSC3000-003_fall2009

Podcast from our class discussion on the human brain.

Brain Podcast - EDSC3000-002_fall2009

Podcast of our class discussion on the human brain.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Educational Research Podcast - EDSC3000-003_fall2009

Recording of Dr. Suzy Cox's Educational Psychology class on Educational Research on September 3, 2009.

Educational Research Podcast - EDSC3000-002_fall2009

Recording of Dr. Suzy Cox's Educational Psychology class on Educational Research on September 3, 2009.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Are you smarter than a 2-year-old?

OK, this is absolutely fascinating! Apparently, some dogs are as smart as two-and-a-half-year-olds with regard to verbal and mathematical ability and are as socially developed as teenagers. Kind of makes me rethink my cynicism with regard to the behavioral idea that learning principles are similar across species. But does this data really mean that dogs understand the complexity of language and mathematics? I'm not wholly convinced...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Using Leftover Class Time

Leftover class time is rarely my problem, but here's a nice little list of things you can do in case you do experience this rare phenomenon.

Blog on Gifted Education

Here's a blog that my Educational Psychology students may be interested in: Written by a K-12 Gifted Ed specialist, it just may give you some ideas about what to do with those kids who just "get it."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Open Schooling

I just read a very interesting article on a school in Camden, NJ, that allows students to study things that they are passionate about. Teachers are called "advisers" and every student has to do a senior project that benefits the community. All of this takes place in a smaller environment (about 100 students) with students in cohorts, or "learning communities" throughout their school experience.

So, this is an example of pure constructivism really being successful and making a difference in people's lives. I would LOVE to have the opportunity to be an adviser at one of these schools.

On the other hand, I also believe that a comprehensive, liberal arts education is important. I feel that people within a given culture/country/nation should have a common vocabulary - in this case, the vocabulary of literature, history, mathematics, etc.

How do I reconcile these two facets? I believe students are motivated by and therefore learn more deeply things that they are passionate about. But I also feel that they should have a general education. I think the answer here is relevance - showing students how the things they are learning in general education courses relate to them and will help them solve or interpret problems in their own lives. This means that teachers need to be passionate about their subjects and step away from the direct instruction, lecture format to allow students to find the meaning in what they are learning.

This is something that I want to do and have tried to do in my own teaching with mixed results. When I try it, my students seem to have a deeper understanding of the issues, but they are missing the vocabulary and details on which they will be tested. That's OK for me - they'll be able to apply it even if they can't talk about it in the correct terms - but not OK for the Praxis exam that they'll all have to take. So how do I do both?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The God Chemical

I've talked with my students about the Parietal Lobe being considered the spiritual center of the brain and, in some circles, the "self." This article talks about some very interesting research that puts a slightly different spin on spirituality.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Judy Willis RAD Teaching


At the Learning and the Brain Conference in November, I had the opportunity to attend a session on RAD teaching by Judy Willis. Willis, a neuroscientist and middle school math teacher, presented a very interesting model for engaging students' minds.

The R in RAD stands for Reticular Activating System (RAS). This is the fight-or-flight part of the brain. Thus, we need to create a non-threatening climate in our classrooms with low stress. We can then create activities that capture the attention of the RAS through novelty, physical activity, stimulation, attentive focus, color, surprise, etc.

The A stands for Amygdala. This is a part of the brain that acts as a switch to send information to the reactive brain (if stressed) or the reflective brain. Children's emotional states determine which path information will take. Happiness stimulates the reflective brain, so we need to make sure that our students are happy and relaxed.

The D stands for Dopamine. This is a chemical neurotransmitter that, when high, bathes the brain, meaning that it's carrying information all over the place. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical, so it is high when we are happy and engaged.

So What?

The overall message here was that, in order for students to learn, they must be engaged in a relaxed and enjoyable way. This is a very important message for me to understand as a teacher. Dr. Willis noted that fear of failure and boredom are two of the main reasons why students don't learn in the average classroom. This model shows us that we must use a variety of teaching strategies to engage students and provide an environment that is safe and supportive for our students. While good teachers already know these things, Dr. Willis' work provides the science to support the knowledge. 

Now What?

To help my students become more engaged and excited about what I am teaching, I need to figure out ways to incorporate RAD teaching strategies into my lessons. I need to use things like images, color, prediction, surprise, etc. Perhaps I could pick one or two lessons this semester and explore ways to use RAD teaching in those lessons. Then I could do the same thing next semester and the semester after until all of my lessons utilize these methods. I also plan to read Dr. Willis' new book to explore this model further to make sure I fully understand it.