Tag Archives: learning and cognition

Reconstructive Memory

“An active process whereby various strategies are used during the process of memory retrieval to rebuild information from memory, filling in missing elements while remembering. It was first differentiated from reproductive memory in 1932 by the English psychologist Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett (1886-1969), who studied it with the technique of successive reproduction.

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Language, Learning, and Social Integration

“Verbal communication is the basis for everything that occurs in classrooms, whether this is the delivery of new information or the regulation of behavior. Although language skills are biologically primary, their development in children of the same age can be highly uneven, Further, a significant proportion of children in any class may have developmental language disorders, which may or may not have been formally diagnosed. Such disorders typically impact a student’s success with written or spoken language.”

Ashman, Greg, and Pamela Snow. “Oral Language Competence: How it Relates to Classroom Behavior.” American Educator Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer 2019): 37-41.

The Textbook Hitler

[I grabbed this squib from the book cited below, which accompanies another important book from the National Research Council, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (Washington DC: National Academies Press, 2000). This passage demonstrates the problem with studying history without reaching into conceptual material, particularly concepts like diplomacy, political science, international law, social norms, and philosophy. While this passage is not technically untrue, at the very least it fails to address the norms Hitler violated on his way to power, then in his statecraft.]

“In 1933 Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. In elections held soon after he became chancellor, he won a massive majority of the votes. Pictures taken during his chancellorship suggest his popularity with the German people. He presided over an increasingly prosperous nation. A treaty signed with France in 1940 enable Hitler to organize defenses for Germany along the Channel coast, and for a time Germany was the most militarily secure power in Europe. Hitler expressed on many occasions his desire to live peaceably with the rest of Europe, but in 1944 Germany was invaded from all sides by Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Unable to defeat this invasion of his homeland by superior numbers, Hitler took his own life as the invading Russian armies devastated Berlin. He is still regarded as one of the most important and significant figures of the twentieth century.”

Excerpted from: Donovan, M. Suzanne, and John D. Bransford, eds. How Students Learn History in the Classroom. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2005.

Daniel Willingham on Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension

“Research shows that depth of vocabulary matters to reading comprehension. Children identified as having difficulty in reading comprehension (but who can decode well) do not have the depth of word knowledge that typical readers do. When asked to provide a word definition, they provide fewer attributes. When asked to produce examples of categories (“name as many flowers as you can) they produce fewer. They have a harder time describing the meaning of figurative language, like the expression ‘a pat on the back.’ They are slower and more error-prone in judging if two words are synonyms, although they have no problem making a rhyming judgement.”

Excerpted from: Willingham, Daniel T. The Reading Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding How the Mind Reads. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2017.

Goethe on the Gravamen of Teaching and Learning

“What one doesn’t understand one doesn’t possess.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Art and Antiquity (1821)

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.

The “Homework Gap” and the Flipped Classroom–Redux

Here’s something I just cannot let pass.

Last year about this time, I published this blog post on the pedagogical fad of the “flipped classroom.” The theory of the flipped classroom was presented at a professional development meeting as a fait accompli several months earlier in the school in which I served. When I asked in this session about students living in homeless shelters, or in other circumstances where broadband internet is unavailable, and therefore the various videos on which the flipped classroom depends, the presenter and his administrative enablers had no answer.

So, I am not at all surprised to find in Google headlines this morning this report on the homework gap and its relation to students’ struggle in school. The culprit?  Why it is none other than the absence of a reliable internet connection. My reaction? Roll “Theme from ‘The Vindicators'” by The Fleshtones.

Follow Up: Better Late than Never for Justice

Readers of Mark’s Text Terminal may recall that I posted this this item earlier this year about a particularly egregious incident of police violence in the dismal school in which I have worked this year.

I’m pleased to report that  justice prevailed

In this instance, I hope Dr. King was right: “Let us remember the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”