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Intended for secondary English language arts teacher-preparation and inservice programs, but also useful for veteran teachers who want to update their own approaches to students and teaching, this book contextualizes the author's contention that "a whole body of knowledge and practice exists that leads us to meaning-centered English teaching" p.

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Written by Harold M. Foster, a university professor and former high school teacher, Crossing Over rings especially true because the central portion of the book details how practicing secondary teachers guide their students through the varied aspects of English language arts. Meaning-centered instruction is student-centered instruction that has as its foundation the ways we learn language. Foster discusses language learning as a natural process whose purpose is communication in its many forms. Teachers play an active role in constructing the tasks and questions that help students learn to coordinate their work and frame their ideas in terms that reflect the modes of inquiry in the discipline.

These efforts support the development of social, cognitive and academic skills while also developing student agency and the ability to reflect on and evaluate ideas. Providing Cognitive Supports. Teachers can also support student learning by being aware of how cognitive development unfolds. At the heart of all learning is meaning making that involves connecting what we already know to new information.

The central role of background knowledge is well documented in cognitive research. Reading for understanding. When students have not had particular experiences or have not acquired certain kinds of background knowledge, teachers can in fact create experiences for them to develop that knowledge. The kind of classroom described above, which constructs rich experiences for students and provides extensive information on the topics that are the subject of deep inquiry, helps to do that. One way to build background knowledge is to ensure a broad curriculum in history, social studies, science, and the arts, as well as reading and math, and engage students in field trips as educators have long advocated.

Finally, teachers can set the stage with information regarding the context and topics of a shared text, before they began with the students. In fact, allowing for discovery and exploration can help set the stage for explicit instruction. Rethinking transfer: A simple proposal with multiple implications.

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Pearson Eds. Working memory is our capacity to simultaneously keep in mind multiple pieces of information, and it is highly influenced by how information is perceived and connected to concepts, schemas, and scripts that are already familiar. These forms of background knowledge influence what is noticed, how easily new knowledge can be kept in mind and previous information remembered. Teachers can support learning by chunking information in manageable ways and supporting students to become proficient in the use of new material by attaching ideas to one another and to a common schema of the domain under study that makes the material more meaningful rather than asking students to remember disconnected pieces of information , and by giving students opportunities to practice skills so that they become automatic, freeing up bandwidth for new material and more complex applications.

Educators can also help students reduce cognitive load to free up their minds for problem solving by using tools for adapting to working memory limitations, from using notes to digital tools such as calculators or computers that can be used to offload computational or memory-heavy tasks during problem solving sessions.

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This view of cognition casts intelligence as distributed among minds, material artifacts, cultural tools, and interacting partners Pea, Pea, R. Cognitive technologies for mathematics education. Schoenfeld Ed. All of these both helped reduce cognitive load and support student independence and confidence in building on their prior learning.

In light of the need for students to learn to find, curate, and use information, rather than just remember it, educators can help students learn to use tools that improve their performance. Furthermore, assistive technologies such as audio-books, electronic readers that can adjust the size and type of font, recording tools, dictation strategies, and other supports can help students with particular kinds of disabilities in working memory, auditory or visual processing become successful in managing their learning and developing their performance capabilities, rather than suffering from deficit frameworks that limit the advances they can make.

Pedagogies are ways to coordinate cognitive processes and systems. For example, learning to read requires developing the capacity to decode text, which in turn is facilitated by earlier phases of language development that involve hearing words in meaningful contexts and understanding that they can correspond to written symbols. Working memory, background knowledge, and opportunities for elaboration all come into play as children work to develop both decoding and strategies for meaning making.

Learning how to make strategic meaning of the text is centrally important: As readers use reading clues and background knowledge to make sense of text and the knowledge of others in their community , they are also acquiring more background knowledge for the future from the text and their peers. Similarly, learning is supported by techniques that lead to the elaboration of material, such as self-explanation, peer teaching, and representing information in multiple modalities. These deepen conceptual understanding, strengthen mental models, and improve the capacity to recall and use information.

In mathematics for example, asking students to represent quantitative information in multiple forms, such as with graphs and verbal explanations, can support robust understanding. More generally, asking students to integrate abstract concepts and concrete examples in their explanations can deepen their comprehension while simultaneously providing richer data to teachers for assessment.

Specific pedagogical moves that support these learning processes include: Choices of tasks that have the right amount of challenge with supportive guidance;. Well-chosen questions as scaffolds that support student thinking, guide their inquiry, and help them consolidate their understanding;.

Design of instructional conversations that allow students to discuss their thinking and hear other ideas, developing concepts, language, and further questions in the process;.

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How students learn History, Mathematics, and Science in the classroom. Cognitive science indicates that we learn more effectively when we see how ideas are conceptually connected to one another, when our minds are fully engaged, and when the tasks we encounter are motivating because they are interesting and accessible. Productive learning within different subjects is shaped by the unique structures of the disciplines and their particular modes of inquiry.

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In what follows, we discuss how teachers can shape understanding by 1 organizing and representing knowledge conceptually; 2 developing an inquiry-based curriculum that integrates explicit instruction appropriately; 3 designing environments and tasks that support motivation; and 4 providing for interest-based learning opportunities. Organizing and Representing Knowledge Conceptually. As we have noted, learning is enhanced when learners have a cognitive map or schema for particular concepts and relationships among concepts within a domain, into which they can place and connect what they are learning so that it adds up to a meaningful whole.

For school-based learning, a central set of organizers are the structures of the disciplines.

Education and the structure of the disciplines. Wilkof Eds. Chicago : University of Chicago Press. Ways of seeing, ways of knowing, ways of teaching, ways of learning about teaching. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 23 5 , — Understanding the structure of a domain helps people learn things more efficiently. For example, teaching vocabulary based on the underlying semantic and syntactic structure of the language enables students to learn rules for broader application.

Similarly, when learning a language, knowing the structure of verb conjugations enables transfer. Cognitive scientists have found that organizing knowledge in schemas facilitates retrieval and use of material from long-term memory. Organizing knowledge and automating access to this knowledge in long-term memory supports meaningful learning in complex cognitive domains. Teachers can help students understand the structure of concepts within a domain by providing an overarching conceptualization of the big ideas and then locating specific facts or information in relation to these.

In a discipline like history, for example, students may consider how societies organize themselves to engage in government and commerce, and how they distribute power and manage conflicts. Each discipline also has a different manner of posing questions and solving problems: for example, scientific investigation through scientific methods, historical inquiry, literary analysis, and mathematical modeling. These central modes of inquiry , knowledge-finding tools, and means of using evidence Schwab, Schwab, J.

If students learn to use these modes of inquiry, they will be training their minds in distinctive ways which was the original rationale for introducing the disciplines and more able to engage in disciplined forms of deep learning. The structures of the disciplines, which can be used to organize the curriculum to engage students around these core ideas and modes of inquiry, also pave the way for transfer to other ideas, subjects, and real-life problems inside and outside of school Shulman, Shulman, L.

Many well-grounded curricular designs—including carefully researched professional learning processes to help teachers understand the underlying concepts and teaching strategies—have been supported by extensive research see, e.

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Towards an empirically grounded theory of action for improving the quality of mathematics teaching at scale. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 13 1 , 6 — Large-scale science education intervention research we can use. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49 3 , — While this review cannot fully explore the many bodies of research on learning within the content domains, we note here that significant evidence demonstrates that effective teaching is content-specific, and not based on a toolbox of generic teaching techniques. Instruction helps students participate in the forms of thinking, reasoning, and doing that resemble those of a skilled historian, geographer, scientist, mathematician, writer, or artist.

Learning to look for and understand structures and patterns in mathematics, to reason quantitatively as a form of sense-making, and to explore multiple solution strategies produces deeper learning in mathematics Boaler, Boaler, J. Powerful learning: What we know about teaching for understanding.

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How people learn. Washington, D. Inquiry approaches to learning require students to take an active role in knowledge construction to solve a problem or probe a question. The key is that—rather than just receiving and memorizing pieces of information—inquiry provokes active learning and student agency through questioning, consideration of possibilities and alternatives, and applications of knowledge.

The family of approaches that can be described as inquiry-based includes problem-based learning, design-based learning, and project-based learning, among others. The success of well-designed and managed problem and project-based curriculum has been documented across many schools and experimental interventions. Problem-based learning: A review of literature on its outcomes and implementation issues. Inquiry challenges need to be carefully planned and well-supported so that students in fact learn, rather than wandering aimlessly through discoveries that confuse rather than enlightening them.

Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning? Journal of Educational Psychology, 1 , 1 — Experimental and Quasi-experimental studies of inquiry-based science teaching: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 82 3 , — One meta-analysis of 72 studies found several types of guidance equally effective at promoting stronger outcomes for inquiry-based teaching as compared to expository learning. Meta-analysis of inquiry-based learning: Effects of guidance.