Learning and Transfer

Intrinsic v. Extrinsic

Nothing replaces good “first teaching” in the early years.  However, children are not empty receptacles within which we can simply “dump” knowledge and then expect real learning, retention, or for that matter understanding, to take place.  Pacing plans and keeping it moving along is not how to teach.  So therein lies the breadth v. depth dilemma.  We have so much to cover in so little time!  “Reading First” schools have the extra $ to provide substitute coverage for 3 days @ twice a year for teachers to engage in lesson studies and “dig-in” to their language arts T.E.’s.  This uninterrupted professional development time allows for teachers to collaborate and practice their pedagogy.  Immediate feedback is provided once they have had a chance to observe lessons taught in front of students and then return to de-brief their key findings.  When students are motivated to learn by a teacher who provides the right kind of safe learning environment where everyone’s input is valuable and no one is shut down and made to feel embarrassed for their contributions, learning is increased by all.  Bringing cultural misconceptions with them to school as a result of their upbringing and family traditions, is a good example of why students need to make their thinking transparent.  Motivation to learn is enhanced when students have an opportunity to engage in practical application and transfer of skills in collaboration with their peers.  Thanks to the English language development (ELD) practicuum strategy “Think, Pair, Share” teachers recognize the value in students being held accountable and taking control of their own learning.  So the whole idea of reciprocal teaching comes to fruition and can be enacted through the teacher as facilitator, followed by practicing through cooperative grouping with peers to practice and refine learning.  The teacher monitors what she observes and hears as she monitors group interactions and can adjust instruction accordingly.