English / Reading
During late adolescence, students should:
*Have developed the ability to identify underlying themes and symbolisms within a novel and its main ideas.
*Be familiar with different cultures of life which will allow them to be able to read many different types of books steming from different cultural backgrounds and understand the differences from that of their own.
*Be reading on on a level appropriate with their grade; however, many good readers can "read with greater fluency and flexibility". This allows for these readers to take on more challenging pieces, perhaps ones above their reading level.
Many studies show that if parents read to their children while at a young age, it will lead to future success and an all around better reader. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the majority of student readers during the period of late adolescence. Many have not yet mastered these skills and therefore require extra assistance from teachers. Reasons for this, some high schoolers suggest, is because the material is unappealing. Primarily girls are the better readers than boys during this period of development. Could this be because there is a lack of material to spike the interest of male readers? Many say yes, which can cause a skew in results of which gender makes up the majority. It's been proven that the high schoolers read better when they are reading something of interest. They are able to comprehend the material and challenge themselves more with things of interest versus a required material.
Some cognitive problem teachers could encounter in high school students is their trouble with writing in-depth passages, keeping their writing cohesive and organized, writing passages in the form of knowledge telling, and inability for knowledge transforming.
*Instead of picking one book as a requirement for students to read try picking out multiple books that pertain to the lesson. This will give students a choice which usually spikes more of an interest in reading the material.
*Plan peer discussions. Students tend to comprehend better when they are able to discuss their ideas of what they read with others.
*Vary the activities being used in class. For those who are poor readers, exercises can get very frustrating and for good readers exercises can get boring. It is very important for teachers to provide different activities and materials to students to keep their interest. The goal is to making reading fun and possibly a choice for individuals past time.
*For poor readers, teachers should make questions or guidelines for the material. This way students have things to look for while they read. This will help them develop comprehension skills so they are able to accomplish the goals on their own and gain a better understanding of what their reading.
* Present students with authentic writing activities. Students will find it easier to write in length when they believe their writing is relevant. Try these activities:
• Write a letter to their parent (guardian) or principal • Write a news article to the school newspaper • Write a speech for a class debate • Create a classroom newsletter • Hold a writing contest (try fictional stories, research reports, poetry, narratives).
This works because they are writing to real people and not just following artificial writing lessons that won’t matter much to them once they get their grade back. When they write to real audience students will know their writing means something and has a true purpose.
*As adolescent’s cognitive development grows, they become better at envisioning their audience and can consciously tailor their writing accordingly. What this means is that when students write they will be able to tailor the tone they use, the vocabulary they include and the details they provide to fit who they are writing to. Consciously thinking about their audience, and formatting their writing to their audience will take time and practice for students. Giving students authentic writing activities where they know who their audience is will help them accomplish this writing style.
*A simple way teachers can help students write in-depth is by letting their students choose their writing topics. Give students a list to choose from or ask students to write about their experiences. Students will have more interest in writing when they choose what they write about, and have a greater control over their audience.
*When students are able to grasp who their audience is, they beginning writing in a way known as knowledge transforming. This means that students are growing past knowledge telling, of just writing their ideas down in the order they think of them, but begin to write in a way as to get the reader to understand what they are trying to say and think.
*To help students write in a certain way, provide a clear and precise writing structure that they can follow. Show them examples of the writing you are looking for and want them achieve. You can write an example yourself, or use writings from famous authors.
If you choose to use several authors, make sure to include diverse writers. Choose from
• Writers of different periods/centuries • Writers of different backgrounds • Writers of different heritages • Writers of different countries • Writers of different ages • Writers of different genders • Writers with different writing styles
*Teachers can also provide specific questions for students to ask themselves while they write. Try having your students ask themselves:
• Who am I writing too? • Am I presenting my ideas in a clear way? • Is my writing organized and in a sequential order? • Are my ideas organized in a logical way to minimize potential confusion? • Am I including advanced vocabulary? • What are the main ideas I’m trying to present? • What details can I add to support my main idea? • What can I include to catch the reader’s attention? • What is my purpose for writing this?
*For longer writing assignments encourage students to plan first, write second and correct last. Planning ahead will help students begin to write efficiently, so have students worry later about mechanics like grammar and spelling. It is more important that they learn to first organize their thoughts and can write cohesively on paper. The teacher's main goal is to have students write more in-depth; therefore, mechanical errors don’t need to be a distraction or worry at the beginning of the writing process.
*Before having students hand in assignments, or publish them (for school newspaper or to take home to parents), group students together and create a peer editing time. Have students trade their papers with someone else in the group, read the paper and offer feedback. Feedback can include mechanical errors, organization problems, a lack of excitement or emotion, or other problems. Students can trade papers multiple times, and if they are continually receiving the same feedback, they know they need to change something. Group peer editing allows students to work in collaboration, develop social skills, and they may react better to peer critiques then teacher critiques. This also lets them fix or refine their writing before they hand it in or publish it.
These suggested writing assignments can be used in any academic area. Students could write to the school newspaper explaining the science lab experiment they performed in Chemistry class, and how it is relevant. Students could find current event news articles and take a position on how they stand, incorporating current laws and political views for Government class. Writing is important and can be learned in all academic areas, not just English class.
The CALLA, Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach, was developed in the 1980s and has evolved so that it is implemented in bilingual classrooms. This approach is based on the belief that students are active participants in their own learning and in interaction with each other and the teacher.
Less than half of high school students in the United States study a foreign language. Wilburn Robinson states that the study of a foreign language could lead to cognitive gains, particularly if it is introduced earlier. Robinson stated that early experience with foreign language seems to leave children with mental flexibility. Students who are introduced to another language in their primary school may have an advantage when they are older, as they may have a more diversified set of mental abilities.
Working in collaborative groups helps students express their various points of view. This also gives students the chance to act as the teacher when they explain their thoughts to other group members. Thus, students learn through working and discussing the subject together.
Reasoning for High School students falls under the formal operational stage. The most important part of this stage is the ability to understand abstract concepts, or higher order logic. Another aspect of the formal operational stage is multidimensional thinking, which means thinking about more than one thing at a time. Understanding information from different perspectives is also a key component. During this stage adoloscents are able to understand and compare different possible outcomes for one or more specific situations. This is known as Hypothetico-Deductive Reasoning.
One problem from the math perspective is when a few students are falling behind. At this age, they often don't want to be singled out, and don't ask for specific help, or admit to not understanding. Teachers at this level often think all the students are more capable than they actually might be. They forget the importance of some direct help. Teachers at this level need to work at relationship building with their students.
Some cognitive problems teachers could encounter in high school students are:
*trouble translating word problems into algebraic expressions.
*the tendency some students have to memorize mathematical procedures instead of understanding them, which leads to the mistaken application of the procedures.
*on average, girls’ lack of confidence about their abilities to do math.
*Asking the students to create simple real life-problems that can be turned into algebraic expressions could help students to solve later problems. Creating their own problems could increase a student’s understanding of procedures.
*Breaking down the problem into small pieces can help students to develop a technique to solve word problems. Working in groups could be very helpful in this process so the teacher can provide one to one assistance. Students can brainstorm with their group, and by breaking down the problem into small pieces they can identify the variables and the operations involving the variables. Teachers can work the problem on the board with the help of the class and together come up with useful techniques that can be used when solving these types of problems. At this stage, students have the capacity of working with abstract concepts, but sometimes they need to figure out effective methods to apply these concepts.
Some cognitive problems teachers may find in the cognitive development of high school students in science are below:
*Engage the students in genuine scientific studies. This will involve the students more, allowing them to think critically about the process. They can create their own hypotheses, separate and control variables, and arrive at their own conclusions. Ask open ended questions such as “what do you think?” to encourage students to analyze their own observations. Give students experiments where the procedures and conclusions are not necessarily concrete, but rather allow students to conduct their own investigations and arrive at their own conclusions.
*Provide age-appropriate explanations for processes of the world. Showing students flowcharts, diagrams, and models, or having students create one on their own, will help students to organize the information they are learning.
*Work to change students’ views of the world. Allowing students to debate opposing perspectives on theories will let students experience other views on information.
*Promote hands-on learning. This helps many learners, especially females, to connect the concepts learned in a textbook to the real world. Incorporating laboratory experiments and demonstrations will help students.
History / Social Sciences
Some cognitive problems teachers may find in the cognitive development of high school students in history and social science are below:
*Students may only have exposure to a one-sided view of history before highschool (and possibly during) and these pre-established views may clash with their ability to process and analyze historical situations in new ways.
*Students tend to have a very utopian and positive outlook on the way the world should be run as adolescents; thus, they may have problems understanding decisions that governments make when interacting with one another and how utopian governments cannot necessarily exist.
*Students may only see history in terms of dates and names, in chronological order, as opposed to multiple events that are intertwined and connected. They may see history as objective instead of subjective and be unable to analyze and interpret how events are connected.
*Allow students to handle primary as well as secondary documents that provide multiple viewpoints on one singular event, and have them analyze how each one has a different perspective and viewpoint on the story. History is filled with events that have multiple interpretations. Perhaps have an event occur in class in which everyone records their story, examine how the sides differ, and note that history is not merely one sided. Also discuss cultural differences and try to avoid teaching from your own cultural and social standpoint only, but provide a more international outlook.
*Have students act as their own governments and give them crises and war issues to act upon. Then have them interact with other “governments” in the class to see how utopian governments perhaps may not work. In depth discussions about what options do work, and the implications of war offer higher cognitive learning. How ca nthe students create their own governments in order to keep their nation under control & prosperous, yet safe as well? Have them compare their proposed governments to actual examples throughout history as well as modern day.
*Have students consider how events tie together throughout history. Without ignoring dates, place the emphasis on learning a deeper understanding and implications of past events. Have them interact with historical material, and make sure to focus more on central ideas and how they are connected. Effective lesson planning will avoid making history a string of singular events and dates that are seemingly unrelated and uninteresting.