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Why Don't Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers…

por Daniel T. Willingham

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460940,263 (4.13)7
Easy-to-apply, scientifically-based approaches for engaging students in the classroom Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham focuses his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. His book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn. It reveals-the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences. Nine, easy-to-understand principles with clear applications for the classroom Includes surprising findings, such as that intelligence is malleable, and that you cannot develop "thinking skills" without facts How an understanding of the brain's workings can help teachers hone their teaching skills "Mr. Willingham's answers apply just as well outside the classroom. Corporate trainers, marketers and, not least, parents -anyone who cares about how we learn-should find his book valuable reading." --Wall Street Journal… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Very well-done book. Willingham pulls out nine principles that can ensure students learn better, explains and justifies each of them with examples, and makes the entirety extremely actionable. No slow non-fiction here, and all the repetition is for educational purposes -- smart repetitions of themes in sections that are clearly labeled review, rather than the awkward repetition of authors writing over many months forgetting what's already been touched on, or lacking enough of a message to fill a book.

My favorite is Chapter 2, which explains why background knowledge -- just knowing facts -- is prerequisite to critical thinking. In short: if you facts about what's going on already, you can free up your working memory to start to tease out comparisons and deeper analysis. If you're encountering material for the first time, it's biologically almost impossible to retain the facts and also analyze them. Also because we have a limited amount of working memory, knowing things already means you can learn more effectively; this leads to a rich-gets-richer effect in schools, where the best prepared students entering elementary school can learn faster and with less effort, because they already have more background knowledge. I wasn't sure where I stood on the debate of "higher order is what matters" vs. "facts first", but now I'm sold.

Another chapter debunked the idea of multiple intelligences -- my take-away here is that kids don't learn better with differentiated lessons because different kids do better under each approach, but because the students as a whole are less likely to get bored when the material presentation changes repeatedly: it keeps folks interested and on-topic.

Other interesting chapters are on praising effort rather than results, the need for thousands of hours of practice before expert status, and so on, but many of these have gotten enough coverage in the past five years that those chapters weren't as fascinating to me as they might have been if I'd read the book earlier.

Recommended as a well structured, fast read that brings insights. ( )
  pammab | May 1, 2016 |
In this fascinating book, Professor Willingham attempts to bridge the gap between what cognitive scientists have learned about the mind and what teachers do every day in school. Each chapter is shaped by a cognitive principle, which Willingham then explains. After that, the professor goes on to describe how this might affect classrooms. For instance, Chapter 2’s principle is “Factual knowledge must precede skill.” As Willingham explains, a student needs some knowledge about a subject in order to think about it. No knowledge equals no thinking. Classroom implications: be sure students have some background knowledge before asking them to think critically about a topic. And because the more you know, the easier it is to learn new material, getting students to read is crucial.

For me the most amazing part of this book was the section on learning styles. As the author points out, there is no evidence that matching teaching methods to learning styles actually works. Matching teaching methods to content does positively affect learning, but trying to match individual learning styles does not help.

Note that Prof. Willingham provides a very useful table that summarizes the cognitive principles and classroom implications on pp. 210 and 211. ( )
  barlow304 | Aug 1, 2013 |
The is an incredibly thought provoking book. Willingham provides us with different answers to many well-known theories. He causes you to really think about what you already know and challenges us to revisit those thoughts and preconceived notions. A great read for any teacher, teacher in training, or anyone who wishes to find answers to things they may have thought they already knew. Willingham also writes this book for anyone to understand, in other words, it is not filled with professional jargon. ( )
  markauch | Dec 12, 2012 |
In a pleasant tone, with lots of friendly examples and anecdotes, Daniel T. Willingham gets to the root of a teaching dilemma: how to convey information in a way that is meaningful to the student.

According to Willingham, thinking is "slow, effortful and uncertain." Apparently that explains why we often avoid doing it. And kids avoid doing it even more.

If we're not thinking, then what are we doing?

We're relying on memory to guide us through even the simplest tasks. It's what we mean when we say we're on "autopilot". Willingham uses the example of making spaghetti to illustrate his point: we don't peruse recipes and calculate nutrition stats, we just make spaghetti. The way we always do. Which might be boiling noodles and opening a jar of Ragu. To ponder, ruminate, calculate and cogitate on everything, all the time, would simply be too exhausting.

The good news is that we're naturally curious. The bad news is that curiosity has a short lifespan. Make a solution too difficult and we become frustrated. Make it too easy and we become bored.

What's a teacher to do?

Willingham offers suggestions like "begin with the end in mind" when planning lessons (what do you want your students to know?), pick your "puzzles" carefully (showy demos make classroom magic, but will the student remember or care about underlying principles?), change it up (short attention spans love it) and take notes (not the students, you, on what worked and what didn't).

Another premise is that "students come to understand new ideas by relating them to old ideas. If their knowledge is shallow, the process stops there." (p.94). In a lecture Willingham recently gave, he suggested that lots of shallow knowledge isn't necessarily bad. One needs to know a little about a lot of things to read the Wall Street Journal or NY Times, for example. (Lord knows, I wouldn't have passed the SAT without "Trivial Pursuit" and the card game "Masterpiece"!!)

Perhaps my favorite Willingham nugget is the one that offers the most hope: "Intelligence can be changed through sustained hard work."(p. 211). In other words, effort does make a difference.

How, teachers might ask, can I get my students to work? Willigham suggests that teachers make thoughtful decisions about what students need and then offer them opportunities for practice. Often. ( )
  MicheleKingery | Feb 25, 2012 |
This book is telling me how MY mind works and how I can make better use of it. I am not a classroom teacher. I have, however, watched the teachers who taught my kids over the years. The most successful of these was a first grade teacher. Since my son was in first grade in 1971-2, this teacher did not have the benefit of Prof. Willingham's book. However, she did manage to implement a teaching atmosphere in her classroom that followed many of the observations in this book. The result was that the next year, most of the second grade teachers in the school recognized the students who had been with my son's first grade class, and defined their job as bringing the other students up to their level by the end of the year.
The job of a good teacher is complicated and requires a lot of organizational skills, as well as thought in planning and delivering a lesson that will connect with each child's knowledge base.
I recommend this book for teachers and administrators and for parents and grandparents. ( )
  tobagotim | Jan 28, 2011 |
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Easy-to-apply, scientifically-based approaches for engaging students in the classroom Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham focuses his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. His book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn. It reveals-the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences. Nine, easy-to-understand principles with clear applications for the classroom Includes surprising findings, such as that intelligence is malleable, and that you cannot develop "thinking skills" without facts How an understanding of the brain's workings can help teachers hone their teaching skills "Mr. Willingham's answers apply just as well outside the classroom. Corporate trainers, marketers and, not least, parents -anyone who cares about how we learn-should find his book valuable reading." --Wall Street Journal

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