Saturday, August 15, 2015

The MindLab - Session 5 - Learning theories, growth mindset (plus a little stop go motion!)

Today's session focussed on 'Learning theories' - but before we know about theories we need to understand the term 'learning' - Schacter, Gilbert, Wenger 2011. There was a good definition here, which I'll add in later. 

What do we mean by theory? Assumptions are examined  for understanding - explaining and making predictions any given subject matter - a theory is never proved completely- it tries to explain phenomena. 
A style - your preferences associated with learning. 

Theory tries to explain a phenomenon, a style reflects your preference.

Collaborative task for the days- Stop motion theory - explain one theory as an 'elevator pitch' - the time it takes to ride an elevator.

Our 'selected' theory was 'Learning Ecology' - what is it? What are the key elements? Our group decided that the key elements of Learning  Ecology theory were 
- high trust
- co - created
- collaborative
- networked 
- interdependent
- constantly evolving 

Our video is here - 

The activity highlighted some key things about learning - the pressure of time; the time span of working memory, pressure of expectation, tension between the expectation of the organisation and what we understand is good learning. This is a key divider in particular in secondary schools. Added to the complication that we continue to stick kids together by chronological age not readiness to learn. 

To what extent are some of the assumptions that we make being tested? Or are they at all - more questions than answers!

Learning Theories - a brief intro - H style! 

Behaviourists - how do we know that learning has taken place? The mind is like a black box that we can't see in! The only evidence we have is behaviour - behaviour is evidence of learning - stimulus and response.

Cognitive - a sensory system provides input, and a short term memory system. Somewhere there has to be a long term theory. A system of inputs (much like cybernetics) - an information processing system. A working memory - what moves from short term to long term. From this we develop a cognitive load - at any given time we concentrate on 7 things. 

Constructivism - an increasing complexity of what happens in the mind - there is a set of connected memories - we learn in social environments - complexities and social learning.

Connectivism - is it a theory or not? This describes a set of phenomena - but what does it tell us about our learning - that knowledge lives in networks - the networks can be human or not. The brain is a network. Question - where does an original idea come from? 

Developing a Growth MindSet - Carol Dweck 
People are the hardest part of any technological change - people are the problem and people are the solution! 

In have introduced my Yr 13 Eng class tonDweck's theories, in a simplified way, this year. My sim has been to get them to have a growth mindset around the challenge of Yr 13 critical literacy.

'Intelligence is innate and cannot be developed beyond what you are born with' - think about the barriers that schools create - artficial. 
This is a fixed mindset approach - that many secondary school subjects fall victim to. Deficit theory. 

Sugatra Mitra's work defies this - for learning to take place you need a computer and lack of a teacher! Creates an interesting dichotomy. 

Claxton's view that intelligence is defined ' as the kind of mind that responds most readily to the peculiar demands of school' (2008).
At school we tend to focus on the cognitive do sins as opposed to the different aspects of intelligence.

An interesting question posed - Which comes first - ability or interest - what makes us and the students successful? It's the mindset the creates success. 

Current view of intelligence - brain is malleable, a muscle that can get stronger and work better as you learn and stretch yourself. Over time you get smarter. (2010). Evidence to know show that the brain is still malleable into old age - as long as you use it. This is a key finding for teachers. 

Mindset matters - GRIT - need to fail in order to learn - 

The diagram below summarises the reasons why growth mindset is essential - 

The focus is on one's own development and challenge. Often mindsets are invisible, yet rigid. They direct the way we operate. 
Check out - Smarter Every Day 133 The backwards bicycle brain. Great experiment in neuroplasticity! 
Learn, unlearn, relearn!  The fascinating moment was when he could not ride a bike correctly after learning the backwards bike! 

Learning theories are mindsets.

How do we build a growth mindset in learners
- the power of not yet - it's about process not product
- we need to talk learning not work 
- displays that focus on process, not product 
- praise and reward effort, process, perseverance - how do we model this as teachers - we have to provide oopportunity to fail in a safe environment - 
- formative assessment should be about the process - but is it? Do we use it to measure process. The quality of the feedback is the most valuable


When we try to implement change we often come up against fixed mindsets! We need to be able to model failure. 
Model failure - this us something that we can do in Eng,ish and my Schol class - let's look at the essays that don't quite make it, as well as the ones that do! This is something that I have not done recently. I usually look from the top down. 

How do we manage independent learning in our school? Are we using Moodle effectively? The quiz that directs the learner pathway. 

How do we build growth mindsets with the staff around us? 
- defer judgement
- go wild with ideas 

4 hours disappears on a Saturday morning!,

No comments:

Post a Comment