Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities
In Your School- Do all stakeholders subscribe to the belief that EVERYONE has something to learn and EVERYONE has something to teach? This blog can help you gain insight on how to facilitate this transformative mindset with your faculty!

Jan 10, 2013

Do Teachers Know How Students Learn Best?









I recently read some interesting research about how students learn best. The research was a meta-analysis of the major work related to this topic (Glasser, Gardner, Tate, Marzano, etc.) After reading it, I was able to categorize the information into four main headings: socially constructed learning, student choice/ownership of learning, multidisciplinary learning, and learning that- simply put- is just plain FUN! At a recent faculty meeting, I did a Four Corners activity with the faculty. I made 4 Posters and hung them in the corners of the room. Each one had a heading at the top that said, “Students learn best when….” And it had one of the four things previously mentioned to complete the statement. I asked teachers to think to themselves about the times in their educational journeys when they believe their most meaningful learning took place. I then asked them to think about times when they believe their students have experienced their most meaningful learning. Without sharing their thoughts with anyone else, I asked them to walk around the room and read the statements in each one of the corners of the room. I asked them to stand in the corner containing the poster that most resonated with them personally. I had them discuss with others in the same corner why they chose that particular statement, and asked each group of teachers to pick one spokesperson to share with the larger group why the people in their corner chose that particular statement. Some people (mainly the high achievers) were having a hard time choosing. They kept asking me questions because I believe that they thought there was one “right” answer. I did not give them any additional information because I didn’t want to sway them. I just restated that they should stand in the corner containing the poster that most resonated with them. Once each group had shared with the large group, I asked everyone, “Well, do you want to know what the right answer is now?” Everyone enthusiastically said, “YES!” and I informed them that they were all correct. I shared a condensed version of the meta-analysis and let them know that we should be making a purposeful effort to do all four if we know that the research says that these are the things that make learning most meaningful for students. I then had teachers write their names on the posters where they were standing because I wanted them to know that I would hold them accountable for providing these kinds of experiences for their students since they themselves believed it would it to be the best way to teach kids. I thought that it was interesting that the largest numbers of teachers chose to stand by the “FUN!” poster. To that group, I asked the rhetorical question, “If that many of you believe that the best way for students is to learn is to make it fun, is it safe for me to assume that you are making sure that you do make it fun everyday?”