Knowledge is Important for Reading Comprehension
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being able to read well. Reading is so central to my life, in my leisure time, and in how I pursue ongoing professional development and lifelong learning. It is equally crucial for our students, for them to enjoy literature, pursue further education, and access information online.
Because reading is important, knowledge is important, as knowledge improves reading comprehension. In one study, students’ comprehension of a passage on baseball was correlated, not with previous identification of them as poor or strong readers, but with their knowledge of baseball. Another study looked at how students’ background knowledge on birds affected their reading comprehension of a storybook featuring birds; the difference between students with more knowledge and the students with less disappeared when the storybook was about a made-up creatures called wugs. Simply put, it is easier to read books and articles on topics for which you already possess knowledge.
Continue reading “Knowledge Series Part 2: In Defense of Knowledge”
Maybe you’re sitting through some PD or training. Or a member of administration is trying to be inspirational during a meeting. Or a video is circulating through the school e-mail.
The presenter pulls out a smartphone: “The students of today don’t need to have their heads filled with knowledge, when they’re carrying a computer in their pocket. All the knowledge they need is right here, at their fingertips.”
I can’t remember when I first heard this. I can’t remember when I first started to doubt it. But I do know that, now, I firmly disagree. The accessibility of information today makes knowledge more important, not less, if we want to equip students to navigate the raging river of information, think critically about it, and use it to engage intelligently with the world.
Continue reading “Knowledge Series Part 1: Introduction”
I’ve kind of become a cognitive psychology addict, ever since I stumbled upon the work of Daniel Willingham. And then edu-blogger after edu-blogger, discussing the implications for classroom teaching, and others who are active on social media. I was boggled that nowhere in my teaching training was this really addressed, beyond the requirement of an introductory psychology course, too broad to be of any use.
And yet, I maintained a little skepticism. Science can be filtered through lenses and put to particular purposes. Did the field of cognitive psychology agree with how its work was being interpreted? How did these blog posts and tweets fit in the context of the field? Was there other information relevant to teaching and learning that I was missing?
Continue reading “I Read an Entire Textbook on Cognitive Psychology; This is What I Learned”
Changed the name of this series, because some of these aren’t blogs. Added some headings too, so it’s slightly more organized.
Education and Schools
Is it ever okay for students to swear in class?
Role of questioning in differentiation in a lesson, and the role of differentiation in maintaining the bell curve
How to build historical empathy among students, and have them judge past decisions in the context of the times (this specific example focuses on Rasputin, and how to develop a sense of period for the end of Czarist Russia)
There’s been a few posts from the last couple weeks, on how the implementation of new teaching ideas can be divorced from the original intentions; Mark Enser helps keep us on track by prompting us to think about the ‘why’
Continue reading “Reading Round-up: Nov. 5, 2017”
Seeing as I read and lurk around the internet much more than I produce content, might as well make this a regular feature.
- Not a blog post, but I can’t get over this tweet about the everyday applications of ethos, logos and pathos!
- Interesting discussion on the merits of handwriting v. typing in teaching students the craft of writing…
- …and another on the merits of writing and blogging as a teacher
- A few posts on memory: one from Dylan William (read this one, if you read nothing else linked here), one on designing a curriculum to help build memory, and one on a classroom application of spaced repetition (I really like how it demonstrates to the students how this strategy works)
- Read this just for the bit on tepid tea
- The role of teacher-student relationships in teaching, and how to build them
- An extract from Carl Hendrick’s new book
- An argument for checking understanding of content before moving on to more complex questions
- Martin Robinson’s excellent series on curriculum; I eagerly await the next post!
- In time for Halloween, one post on how to write scary monsters, and another listing quirky horror stories (of the latter, I recommend Over the Garden Wall)
- Two from JSTOR Daily, on social media child stars and whether we should read the Bible
- This post on how retrieval practice can support far transfer is a year old, but I only just discovered it now
- And, finally, a caution against rushing to implement new ideas in education
Yes, it does. Here are five reasons why.
1. Teachers who have previous experience with that grade or course are more effective teachers.
It is an accepted truth (backed up with evidence) that experienced teachers are more effective teachers. Some studies find this improvement plateaus after the first few years, others find continuous improvement throughout a teacher’s career. You could argue that schools could simply hire experienced teachers; there is no need to retain them. However, experience with a specific grade or course matters more than general teaching experience; teachers hired to a new school will not necessarily teach the same grade or course as they did at their old school, or even the same curriculum (especially for international teachers).
Continue reading “Does Teacher Retention Matter?”
This summer, I am taking three online courses: introduction to macroeconomics, intermediate economics, and introduction to prose forms (an English literature course). The motive for this came from the job hunt; I want to expand the courses I am qualified to teach, to broaden the choices for jobs I can apply for. To do that, I need to take qualification courses such as these from Western University or this one from Queen’s University. To do that, if you took a peek at those prerequisites, I need more undergraduate credits.
So, here I am, a student again.
Continue reading “Teacher Becomes Student: An Adventure in Online Summer Learning: Part 1, Initial Thoughts”