What every change agent should memorize:
Is it the latest postings on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Nope, it’s not. But, in my world (the interface of cognitive science and student learning), this is what every change agent should memorize.
If you value learning, this is what it all comes down to…
Be relentless about learning ABOUT learning.
New studies get MY attention. This is how I stay out on the cutting edge. You probably don’t have the time to do the same level of reading in this area, but it’s MY passion!
I dig into the study to find the exact research that contributes to student success. THEN, in my workshops, I share not just the science, but how to influence these variables with my audience. My personal learning method is simple: Curiosity leads to questions. Questions lead to plausible answers in science. Answers lead me to practical applications in the classroom. Is that great or what?
Research gives you 3 tools that help students to become better learners. That’s why I am a relentless learner.
Let’s begin with three questions.
Q: How much does task content (difficulty & complexity) matter?
A: It is a make-or-beak factor in the learning process! Tip: start with something just “below” the academic level of your students. Move quickly once you see if they have mastery of it. Bump up the challenge level. But, you’ll need to get them to buy-in OR you won’t get them to make good choices in their learning. Recent studies show that when students have choice in this process, they will choose greater difficulty, not less. You can manage this process with a class culture of social support, the need to take on challenges, and learning as a reward in itself.
Q: How much does the learner’s biological arousal state matter?
A: It is a huge factor in the learning process! Arousal is the common term used in studies to describe the metabolic state (emotional and psychological) of the learner. States are described as high or low arousal (drowsy to vigilant) and from negative to positive valence (grumpy to optimistic). Manage the state and you’ll manage the learning. Teachers who use the tools I teach in every course I offer can manage these states. For example, do you get students up to move around often? Do you keep it novel? This influences blood flow and key neurochemicals. Do you use partners and build teamwork? This alters student arousal states.
Q: What’s the all-time best way (which strategy) to cement the learning?
A: There are three tools in “upper stratosphere” for memory retention. The first is to use astrong emotion that is associated with the learning itself. Use competition, suspense, surprise/shock and celebration. The second is “EBR” or extreme behavioral relevancy.Teaching teenagers how to get a date with someone that they have the “hots” for would be an EBR strategy. More typically, engage the values of the students you have on a daily basis. As a “hook”, use items like novelty, friendship, weirdness, helping others or achievement. The final of the three items is instant recall writing. That’s right; writing. Immediately after any 10 minute content segment, ask students to write down every salient point about it. This process has HUGE gains in learning and retrieval. See citations on this below.
At our longer events, I show teachers HOW to use POWERFUL tools to enhance learning. You’ll learn strategies, values and states. This is why I emphasize the critical skills of influencing student states in Teaching & Engaging with Poverty in Mind, Tools for Maximum Engagement and Teaching with the Brain in Mind.
We hope to see you this summer in one of the four events listed above. I’m updating every one of them so that you have the best learning experience of your professional career!
To check them out, CLICK HERE: http://www.jensenlearning.com/workshops.php
Your partner in learning, Eric Jensen
CEO, Jensen Learning