Helping Students Learn in a Learner Centered Environment

Developed by Professor Terry Doyle Ferris state University

Learning Outcomes

As a result of participating in today’s activities faculty will:

1. Have a clearer understanding of the reasons most students resist learner centered teaching.

4. Take away rationales explaining why LCT is the best  approach to college instruction.

3. Have a clearer understanding of the skills students will need to be  successful learners in a LCT environment.

4. Take away strategies for teaching students the learning  skills and strategies they will need to be

Not a single grad school or employment recruiter has ever indicated that what they are really looking for in a college graduate is:
 

‘A great note taker and someone who is excellent at multiple choice tests!’

A Key to Understanding Learner Centered Teaching

• It is the one who does the work that does the learning

The Definition of Learning
• • Learning is a change in the neuronpatterns of the brain.

(Ratey, 2002) neurons-small.jpg

A Teacher’s Definition of Learning

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Learning is the ability to use information after significant periods of disuse and it is the ability to use the information to solve problems that arise in a context different (if only slightly) from the context in which the information was originally taught.

(Robert Bjork, Memories and Metamemories, 1994)

What is the optimal learning outcome of any course?

What would make us happy (from all that we taught—the skills, content and behaviors) that our students remembered and could use six months after they finished our class?

• •

A Definition of Learner Centered Teaching

Learner Centered Teaching

Each decision we make as teachers is based on one simple question— Given the context of my teaching assignment (# of students, learning environment or physical space etc.), will this teaching action optimize my students’ opportunities to learn?”

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Eight Reasons Students Resist Learner Centered Teaching

1.Old habits die hard

The expectations our students have for their roles and responsibilities as college learners are based on strongly formed habits learned through twelve or more years of teacher-centered instruction.

2.High Schools Remain Teacher-Centered Institutions • “Despite the efforts of many, the organization and structure of most comprehensive high schools look very similar to those of high schools of generations ago. High schools have stood still amidst a maelstrom of educational and economic change swirling around them.” (The National Commission on
the High School Senior Year in 2001, p.20).

• •

3. Learning is not a Top Reason Students give for Attending College

Many first-year college students are sick to death of school by age eighteen and see college as just the last hurdle to be crossed.
(Leamnson 1999, p.35).

4. Students don’t Like Taking Learning Risks • “But as we grow older we develop a great tendency to hide from failure.”

(Tagg, 2003 p. 54).

4. Students don’t Like Taking Learning Risks
• Students that don’t take risks and make mistakes, which are the very actions successful thinkers must do, are in the business of protecting their unblemished record of mediocrity
• (Covington, 1992, p. 231)

5. LCT Doesn’t Resemble what Students Think of as School

• • By age 18, our students have spent 70% of their waking lives in school (Leamnson, p.35), • • Each school year looks a great deal like the year before.
First Grade Fifth Grade Eighth Grade Twelfth Grade

6. Students don’t Want to Give More Effort and LCT Requires It.
• K. Patricia Cross in her 2001 talk Motivation Er… will that be on the test? in discussing American students’ views about effort said:

• “One of the oddities of traditional American culture, especially the youth culture, is that it is better to be thought lazy than stupid. Thus, in the competition of the classroom, students prefer to be seen by others as succeeding through ability rather

If I have to work at it I must not be smart !


7. Students’ Mindsets about Learning Make Adapting to LCT More Difficult

Thousands of students each semester pay tuition to take courses in subject areas they firmly believe they cannot learn.

• This strange scenario occurs because of the fixed mindset these students have developed about learning a particular subject. (Dweck, 2006)

7. Students’ Mindsets about Learning Make Adapting to LCT More Difficult

8. Many Students Follow the Path of Least Resistance in their Learning. • Minimalist learners. • These are students that adhere to the philosophy: “What is the least I have to do to get the grade that I need.” •

8. Many Students Follow the Path of Least Resistance in their Learning.

T h i b e h a vi r re fl ct a l fe ti e o f s o e i m l a rn i g i a n e n vi n m e n t w h e re e n n ro tryi g to g a i a re w a rd o r a vo i a n n d p u n i m e n t w a s th e g o a l sh .

Why Learner Centered Teaching is in our Students Best Interest

Students need to Know WHY • One of the most important aspects of being a learner centered teacher is to remember teaching is, in most ways, no different than any other human to human interaction–

If I don’t know WHY you want me to work on a project or learn a concept or if I can’t see how taking on a certain task has some benefit to me I am hesitant to do it.

3 Key Rationales for Explaining the Change to LCT

1. The best answer to WHY we have changed to a learner-centered practice is this is where the research has led us.

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WHY Learner Centered Teaching
• New discoveries about how the human brain learns and the subsequent recommendations for how to teach in harmony with these discoveries has guided the development of a learner centered approach to teaching

Rationales for Explaining the Change to LCT

The learning tasks we are asking our students to take on, which require them to adopt new learning roles and responsibilities, are based on what we now know optimizes the way the human brain

3 Key Rationales for Explaining the Change to LCT
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2. Readiness for Careers The rationale for teaching many of the learning skills, behaviors, attitudes and critical thinking strategies that are now part of learner centered college courses is that our students will need these skills to be successful in their careers. As students understand this their buy in to LCT will be greater.

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Rationales for Explaining the Change to LCT

3. Preparation for Life Long Learning(LLL)

One of the significant changes our students need to accept is that college is no longer their terminal educational experience. A college education gives students their learners’ permit.

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3. Preparation for Life Long Learning(LLL)
• Our responsibility as college educators is to prepare our students to be life long learners.

• Many of the LCT actions we take are done to develop LLL skills.

Rationales for Explaining the Change to LCT

For Example One of the reasons students are being asked to take on more responsibility for their own learning is because they will be responsible for it the rest of their lives.

LCT means Sharing Power with Students

Having choices in what and how to learn and having some control over the learning process and accepting the responsibility that comes with choice and control is an authentic expression of how the work place and the home place operate.

It is excellent preparation for life after college.

Eight Skill Areas Students Will Need Help with to Succeed in a LCT Classroom

1. Helping Students Learn How to Learn on their Own
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There are two important messages if we are to involve our students in more independent work.

1.Many of our students are not well prepared to do a great deal of their learning on their own. 2. If they are to develop the skills needed to learn on their own we will have to teach them these skills.

Learning on One’s Own
• The broad categories include the ability to handle four areas of task management: • 1.Task analysis 2.Identifying resources and planning actions 3.Taking action based on planning 4.Assessing actions and revising plans.
• (adapted from work done at the University of Surrey, University Skills Program.

Rationales for Having Students Learn on Their Own

• It teaches them to figure things out for themselves and trust their own analytical abilities in order to complete a task. • • •

Rationales for Having Students Learn on Their Own
• It teaches them to generate their own questions about what is important to know and what is not important to completing the task. •

Rationales for Having Students Learn on Their Own
• It teaches them to identify resources and learn first hand which methods of investigation are helpful and which are a waste of time.

Rationales for Having Students Learn on Their Own
• It teaches them how to organize their findings and prepare appropriate ways to communicate their results.

Learning on One’s Own

But perhaps the most valuable outcome of learning on one’s own is--

• • The satisfaction and confidence that comes when students are successful. •

Learning on One’s Own
• When students prove to themselves that they can be independent learners, capable of thinking for themselves, and figuring out how to find and use knowledge in meaningful ways to solve real world problems,

2. Learning to work with others

• Knowing and learning are communal acts.

• They require many eyes and ears, many observations and experiences. They require a continual cycle of discussion, disagreement, and consensus over what has been seen

Three Vital Questions

1. What do our students know about effectively working with other students? 2. What have their previous experiences taught them about how groups and teams work?

3. What concerns do they have about working with others?

Finding the answers to these questions is the best place to start building a successful model of students’ cooperation, collaboration and team work.

A Rationale for Working with Others
• The rationale for students learning to effectively work with others is a simple one—if they can’t learn to do it fairly well their career success will be in jeopardy.

A Rationale for Working with Others
• Of the three main modes our students use to learn, writing, reading and speaking-- the one that is least used is speaking
(Nystrand and Gamoran ).

A Rationale for Working with Others
• Speaking is also the one which teachers most often give students a pass on.

• The irony of this is that speaking to others is one of the most important, if not the most important professional and personal skill that

Some advice for faculty
• Teachers like to talk; I mean really like to talk. Teachers can’t stand silence so if the students don’t immediately answer we answer for them. • The best advice for facilitating students’ discussion is for us to keep our mouths shut!

3. Helping Students take Charge of their Learning

As instructors we are conditioned to be in control of the learning process -moving away from that idea makes many of us uncomfortable. This uncomfortableness is shared by our students when we ask them to take more control of their learning.

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Some Good Reasons to Share Power.

1. Our students cannot improve their abilities to be more responsible for their learning with out being given greater responsibility for it.


When students have some control over how they learn they can discover their strengths and weakness as learners, a vital metacognitive skill they will need as life long learners.

Some helpful reasons to share power.

The more control our students take and the more choices we can offer them the greater their desire and willingness to engage in the learning process.
( Zull p.52)

• 4.

When students make a choice they also must learn to live with that choice. This is a very powerful life lesson.

Who Makes the Decision?





• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

Course Textbook Number of exams When in the course exams will be given Attendance policy Late work policy Late for class policy Course learning outcomes Office hours Due dates for major papers Teaching methods/approaches How groups are formed Topic of writing or research projects Grading scale Discussion guidelines for large or small group discussions Rubrics for evaluation of self or peers’ work If rewriting of papers will be allowed If retesting will be allowed

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Each decision we make about our teaching sends some message to our students.
For Example

When we fail to maintain order in the classroom the message is we don’t really care about their learning.

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When we share power with our students by offering learning choices the message is

– – we trust their judgment; – we trust them to act in ways that are in their best interest, – we believe they will make decisions that are in the best interest of the whole community of learners

Let Students Teach Each Other
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Teaching others requires the persondoing the teaching to thoroughly understand the knowledge or skill sets being taught. Teaching others promotes deep learning for the student doing the teaching

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Teaching Students how to Teach Others

Learning benefits:


Students must determine how best to learn all they will need to know about the assigned or chosen topic.

2. Students must locate

Teaching Students how to Teach Others

3. Students must seek out resource people (librarians or content experts) on campus and around the world via the Internet. 4. Students will need to spend some face to face time with the course instructor.

Teaching Students how to Teach Others
4. Having students teach promotes independent  learning and the taking on of increased responsibility  for their own learning.

Learning from the Other Side of the Desk
• A positive outcome of students teaching each other is that the students will gain an increased appreciation for the effort and skills that we must display to effectively teach

5.Helping Students with Presentations and Performance Assessments
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Your work will be made public!

Your work will be made public!

Making our students’ work public helps students

1. Take their work more seriously

1. Adds more accountability for their work 2. 3. Gets students to take more time and care in preparing their work 4. 5. Allows for additional audiences to assess our students’ work

Your work will be made public!
• Letting others see and hear our students’ ideas, solution or findings represents an authentic model of how information is used, studied and evaluated.

Making Presentations
Rationales for using presentations – • For a presentation to be effective students must know their information very well.

• Presentations will drive students to engage more thoroughly with the material

Making Presentations
• Presentations enhance the development of our students’ organization and communication skills

• Students must consider what structure or pattern will make the information

Making Presentations
• Presentations can also help to improve the comfort levels of students that struggle with public speaking.

• Our classrooms should be among the safest places to practice this very important

Making Presentations
• Presentations are an authentic expression of what our students will be asked to do with much of what they learn in their professions.

• Their ideas will be of little value to their colleagues or companies if they are not shared in a clear, organized

Performance Assessment
• “We can teach students how to do math, do history and do science, not just know them. • • Then, to assess what our students had learned, we can ask students to perform tasks that replicate the challenges faced by those using mathematics, doing history or conducting scientific investigation.”

(Jon Mueller)

6.Helping Students Become Life Long Learners

• An undergraduate degree clearly is just a starting point in a life time of adult learning and cannot begin to fully prepare our students for an ever flattening world.

Hospitality Industry Key LLL Skills
• Must be able to read large amounts of information, determine what is important to the task at hand from the reading and then quickly summarize it for others. • • Must be able to learn on their feet from others— be able to observe and listen to others and quickly adapt what was learned into their own work. • • Must know the difference between the information you need to know and all the other information that is out there. In other words you need to know what you don’t know.

Hospitality Industry Key LLL Skills
• •
Must be able to learn from your mistakes or you will be out of business.

Must be able to communicate clearly and concisely –to teach others so they understand and can apply what you have given them.

Must have the skills to work and learn on your own—if given a task or assignment you must be able to know how to find the information etc.

Hospitality Industry Key LLL Skills
• Must know what you are good at (strengths) and also your weaknesses, otherwise you risk making bad decisions about what jobs you can do and the one’s you’ll need help with.

• Must be able to use a computer in a wide variety of ways and know how to learn new applications as they become available.

• Must know how to plan and organize very well your own time and that of others.

• Must know your self well, your values, moral and ethics will be constantly tested.

Hospitality Industry Key LLL Skills
• What was not identified by the board members as being important????
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• • • •

Ironically, it was the skills colleges often have students spend a great deal of time mastering Note taking Memorizing Test taking Cramming

Teaching LLL Skills
• One rational to help students understand the need to be LLL is the fact that people by age38 they will change employers or change occupations while working for the same

Helping Students to Understand the Need to Learn LLL Skills

• Eighty percent of all the scientists who have ever lived are alive today. Every minute they add 2000 pages to human’s scientific knowledge, and the scientific material they produce every 24 hours would take one person five years to read.

• 1,000,000 new books were published last year (International Association of Libraries).

Metacognitive Skills and LLL
• Metacognitive skills are among the most important LLL skills. • • Metacognition consist of two basic processes occurring simultaneously: monitoring your progress as you learn, and making changes and adapting your strategies if you perceive you are not doing so well. (Winn & Snyder, 1998)

Metacognitive Skills and LLL
• Metacognitive skills include:
– taking conscious control of learning, – planning and selecting strategies, – monitoring the progress of learning, – correcting errors, – analyzing the effectiveness of learning strategies, – and changing learning behaviors and strategies when necessary

( Ridley D.S. Schultz, PS, Glanz, R.S and Weinstein, CA 1992).

7. Helping Students Recognize What They Know, Don’t Know and Misunderstand
 

Our students come to college with a range of prior knowledge, skills, beliefs and concepts that significantly influence what they notice about the environment and how they organize and interpret it. This, in turn, affects their abilities to remember, reason, solve problems and acquire new knowledge. (Bransford, et.
al. p.10)

7. Helping Students Recognize What They Know, Don’t Know and Misunderstand

• If the only learning tool our students have is memorization than everything we teach them will likely be seen as something to be memorized.

7. Helping Students Recognize What They Know, Don’t Know and Misunderstand

We need to do a great deal of checking.

• Numerous research experiments demonstrate the persistence of preexisting understandings among college age and older students even after new models have been taught that contradict their naïve understandings.
(Bransford et. al.p.16)

7. Helping Students Recognize What They Know, Don’t

Know and Misunderstand

• We need to ask our students to tell us what they have learned in their own words, using examples and analogies that demonstrate their accurate understanding of the new material.

7. Helping Students Recognize What They Know, Don’t Know and Misunderstand • Even our brightest students filter the new course material through their own prior knowledge and if they hold misconceptions or have incomplete prior knowledge they are likely to arrive at conclusions different from what we intended.

If we don’t check we won’t know

7. Helping Students Recognize What They Know, Don’t Know and Misunderstand • We must create activities and conditions that allow our students’ thinking to be revealed. • • Formative feedback helps learners identify gaps that exist between their desired goal and their current knowledge, understanding, or skills and guides them through actions necessary to obtain a more complete understanding.
(Ramaprasad, 1983; Sadler, 1989).

7. Helping Students Recognize What They Know, Don’t Know and Misunderstand

• The most helpful type of feedback provides specific comments about errors and specific suggestions for improvement and encourages students to focus their attention thoughtfully on the task rather than on simply getting the right answer (Bangert-Drowns, Kulick, & Morgan, 1991;
Elawar & Corno, 1985). •


7. Helping Students Recognize What They Know, Don’t Know and Misunderstand

• Make certain that students are using the feedback they have been given.

• Expect to see the improvements in their future work

8.Helping Students to Evaluate—Themselves, Others and the Teacher

• Friend to Groucho Marx: “Life is difficult!” 

• Marx to Friend: “Compared to what?”


Student Self-evaluation
• Self-evaluation is defined as students judging the quality of their work, based on evidence and explicit criteria, for the purpose of doing better work in the future (Rolheiser and Ross, 1999).

• •

Student Self-evaluation
• When we teach students how to assess their own progress, and when they do so against known and challenging quality standards, a great deal of learning can take place.

Student Self-evaluation
• Self-evaluation is a potentially powerful technique because of its impact on student performance through enhanced self-efficacy and increased intrinsic motivation (Rolheiser
and Ross, 1999)

Student Self-evaluation

• They need us to model the self evaluation process.

• We need to involve students in defining the criteria that will be used to judge their work

• Create a rubric and demonstrate how students are to

Student Self-evaluation
• Give students feedback on the effectiveness of their self-evaluations.

• Students' initial comprehension of the criteria and how to apply them are likely to be imperfect (Rolheiser and Ross,

• One of the best ways to help our students determine the accuracy of their self assessment is to share findings from peers and our own findings using the same rubric.

Student Self-evaluation •
• The final stage is designed to teach students how to develop productive goals and action plans for improvement.

• One strategy is to have our students to examine and measure the strategies, skills, effort and time they put into their work against their own findings and the feedback from peers and the teacher.

Peer Evaluation
• • The reason to involve students in peer evaluation is that it is a winwin situation for both the reviewer and the one receiving the feedback. •

Peer Evaluation
• Those receiving the feedback discover the accuracy of their self assessment. They learn ways to improve their work by having others find errors that they failed to see and offering suggestions on ways to improve the overall quality of their work. • •

Peer Evaluation
• The reviewer benefits by developing abilities to recognize good work from bad work, frame feedback in clear and helpful ways and deliver feedback in a positive manner.

Peer Evaluation
• Peers should focus their feedback on a few important aspects of the work. • • We must remember our students are novices at giving feedback. • • Using a rubric or set of questions that focuses the peer review process will improve the feedback.

Seeking Students' Feedback
• Ask students three questions

1.What do you like about the course and course instruction?

3.What would you change about the course or course instruction?

5.What could you do to make the learning in this course better for you and your peers?

• When giving a homework assignment ask students to tell you if the assignment was useful in helping them understand and learn the material.

Are your out of class assignments doing what you want them to do?


• • Angelo, T.A. & Cross, P.K. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques, 2nd Edition. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass Bjork, R.A. (1994). Memory and Metamemory Considerations in the Training of Human Beings. In J. Metcalfe and A. Shimamura (Eds.) Metacognition: Knowing About Knowing. (pp. 185-205). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Givens, Barbara, Teaching to the Brain’s Natural Learning Systems, ASCD Publications, 2002. Ratey, John. A User’s Guide to the Brain. Pantheon Books, New York, 2001. Sousa, David. How the Brain Learns, 2nd Edition. Ed 2001 Corwin Press, INC, Thousand Oaks, CA Doyle, Terry. Helping Students Learn in a Learner Centered Environment: A Guide to Teaching in Higher Education. 2008.Stylus, Sterling, Virginia

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• • • • • • • •

Rethinking Teaching in Higher Education, Edited by Alenoush Saroyan, Cheryl Amundsen, Stylus Pub.2004 Sprenger, Marilee. How to Teach so Students Remember. ASCD Publication, 2005. Sylwester, Robert. A Celebration of Neurons: An Educator’s Guise to the Human Brain. ASCD Publication, 1995. Zull, James. (2002), The Art of Changing the Brain. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing. Tagg, John. The Learning Paradigm College. Anker Publishing , Bolton MA 2003 Covington, M. V. (2000) Goal , theory motivation and school achievement: An Integrated review in Annual Review of Psychology ( pp 171-200) Dweck, Carol ( 2000) Self Theories: Their roles in motivation, personality and development. Philadelphia, PA Psychology Press

• • • • • • • How People Learn by National Research Council editor John Bransford, National Research Council, 2000 Goldberg, E. The Executive Brain Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind ,Oxford University Press: 2001 Ratey, J. MD :A User’s Guide to the Brain, Sprenger, M. Learning and Memory The Brain in Action by, ASCD, 1999 Pantheon Books: New York, 2001 Damasio, A. R. (1994). Descartes' error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York, NY, Grosset/Putnam Damasio AR: Fundamental Feelings. Nature 413:781, 2001. Damasio AR: The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, Harcourt Brace, New York, 1999, 2000.

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• • • Weimer, Maryellen, 2002, Learner Centered Teaching, Jossey Bass, San Francisco. Smith, Peter, 2004. The Quiet Crisis; How Higher Education is Failing America, Anker Publishing, Bolton MA (Barbara L. Mcombs & Jo Sue Whistler, The Learner-Centered Classroom & School, 1997)

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