Reflection and Strategies
A comprehensive list of 15-20 strategies you use in the classroom to ensure the success of students in poverty follows below. Each strategy has the name of the strategy, the reason for choosing it, and the result you hope to accomplish.
Most of these strategies are acquired by instinct in raising your own children and acting also as their teacher. Pointing out how these strategies resulted in increased interest in lifelong learning patterns that allow future success to be catalyzed by past encouragement, anyone can use the strategies outlined. All the strategies below are included in any TEAMS process, as a matter of course, because choice and feedback become more important to the growth and development of the whole child than any other factor. The results are always positive!
The classroom we all have, however, is the streets of America and the world, where her children every day are subjected to the need to survive in the face of an indifferent or concrete jungle. One of the best and most fruitful strategies is, in the tradition of the granges and cooperative lifestyles of the past, to have a garden where the impoverished child may learn happiness from watching growth in the natural world. Learning that a high standard of living may be attained through selfless service, not just by cut-throat corporations, is something the child knows instinctively but has been programmed by lies to forget.
Strategy One: Teaching Students to Make Questions and
Using the Adult Voice.
This strategy is one that can be implemented and modeled for the child even before they can speak. It allows the child to view their own processing of information from a viewpoint that allows cognitive interaction on a much more focused level when they do begin to use speech. I have experienced that quite young children have interactive and telepathic skills that I believe are the normal functioning of a healthy adult that is replaced later by mistrust or lies that cause the individual to forget their own unique essence and to seek safety in the camouflage of conformity, thus creating a lie that cuts one off from the higher faculties of reasoning. Patterning the adult voice leads to the child functioning more completely and authentically, as long as it is accompanied by the respect of unconditional love and acceptance. It is this, in my opinion, that creates a sanctuary where the growing brain may find surcease from the street's constant need for vigilance (so that children who grow up on the streets often feel like veterans of a war in a foreign land where hate rather than love reigns supreme, suffering symptoms similar to PTSD, as well as ADD and ADDH.) So, using the non-judgmental and inquiring adult voice in the home from an early age teaches the child by example and prepares them for a lifetime of learning.
Teaching Mental Models
Again, this is something I approach at an early age and every childish Why? is an opportunity to discuss and model the "big picture" of an interactive and musical uni-verse. I start the child at the end and work backward in a systems science philosophy of education that sees the child as aware of universal concepts at an early age, and also, as able to consider anything the older children can, often with a unique viewpoint that delights in stimulating and interacting with others. This is how my children learn best and why I love the new trends in actually caring about our children instead of giving them ritalin to suppress their creative urges.
Cartooning (Or Sorting relevant from irrelevant cues)
This is a part of everyday life in the home school environment where access to art supplies is a major focus and even a political or societal comment by any child is worthy of a cartoon or collage to express their unique views, so that the relevant cues come from their own ideals first, and they are able to see how others use these cues because they themselves have done so to communicate, through rap or art or music, something of importance and relevant to them. This allows visual and hands-on learning to be a natural part of their lives, instead of the constraint of timetables that are artificial or predetermined.
Using a kinesthetic approach
This is my major approach to learning and I prefer it over all others for efficacy and retention. The project makes the knowledge relevant to student experience in a direct and powerful manner. The major failing of my years of schooling was the lack of "hands-on" projects to learn new skills rather than "book" learning. I had all the theory and no ability! Those who have hands-on learning skills also learn more self-esteem and common sense that is lacking in books. Only apprenticeship teaches and passes on the skills of lifetimes of practice and learning (i.e. guilds, etc.).
Teaching Conceptual Frameworks as part of the content.
This is also something to do when teaching, because, if the student doesn't understand the concept and its ability to extrapolate to other problems (i.e. equations as compared to word problems), the student really hasn't mastered the problem at all but has simply learned to plug in the right equation. Again, if the knowledge does not in some way associate with the student's own experience, it will not be retained.
Establishing Goal Setting and Procedural "self-talk"
If you saw me doing chores or mental calculations, you might think I was talking to myself. This is something an only child often does, but the way I do it is a little different than most. Instead of following a normal linear thought process, I will simply ask myself a question and wait for the answer from the "universal wisdom", you might say. In a way, this is to "pray without ceasing," always being aware of an answer coming back to me, and knowing in faith that the answer is already there if I accept that it is and merely experience this "still, small voice." Instead of requiring our children to "answer on demand", why not allow them the respect and compassion to pose their own intimate questions and be answered "in their own closets" by that voice of love that is available 24/7, like a good computer that never breaks down or loses power?
Using Graphic Organizers
I hope to accomplish interesting and challenging experiences and have the student learn by doing. If the graphic organizers are included in the lesson, the student both retains the information and makes it personal. In fact, letting the students themselves design and produce their own art work that teaches this method of cue-ing the brain to retain and regurgitate facts or theories and using colors is also part of mnemonics that works! I used this method in my own studies.
Gathering Precise and Accurate Data:
Children are encouraged to keep notebooks and portfolios over many years, as I myself have done since 1979. We do not enter information like a diary, but rather in level of importance to what we don't want to forget. The scientific methods are an integral part of everyday life in home schooling, so that data that one does not want to forget is entered almost religiously, but at the impetus of the child. For instance, if the child likes raising animals, they may have research over several years documenting each birth. All the names of the puppies and kittens we have raised as experiments in peaceful co-existence, the weights and names and descent charts, colors, peculiarities, and who they sold them to, may also be something they choose to record. I help the child but allow them their own interests, just making sure they understand how and why science and invention and better dog breeds and all other disciplines owe their advancements to just such research.
This is really several strategies at once and is how Reuven Feurstein taught children.
Mediation builds cognitive strategies and these strategies are best accomplished in the manner of an apprentice, who approaches a profession of interest by learning from one who has already mastered the craft. The teaching of a craft thus involves constant mediation until the student can use these strategies more and more in an unsupervised capacity. This is innate in the field trip or hands-on, constructivist, style of learning, as the excitement of learning stimulates rather than the onus of grades, using natural creativity to focus detailed learning.
Orient Data in Time
You can use common household tasks to teach this information, making it a matter of everyday experience to catalog in our own minds when to water the flowers (early morning), when to punch down the bread so it will rise again, when to feed the animals, start breakfast, etc. We assign abstract values to time and it's measurement when we design "sign-i-up" sheets for chores or perhaps brainstorm of some future trip to the beach or the museum. Then, when a timetable is needed, the student knows already how to assemble one based on experience and far outstrips a student who has not as wide a background in "uncoverage and understanding" that a stimulating and novel home environment can provide.
Organize Space with Stable System of References
As above, the home school ensures that a student gains these abilities at the earliest age possible and the older siblings seem to increase the child's abilities through stimulation and example. A child will learn to speak and act coherently by imitation and instinctive role playing. The eight year old may play at being the teacher, showing the younger child through innovative methods of personal design and inclination, the differences between right and left, up and down, etc., becoming "teacher-trained" at the same time! Video games are more and more focusing on 3-D approximation of spatial learning without naming but rather through experience. "Go up one level" will probably enter the language as much as right and left, as computer games increase in popularity due to more tv and computer-literate generations to come. Multimedia is also becoming as easy to master for the M-Generation (Multi-Tasking), as a new cell phone with picture capacity.
This is my own strategy. I call it: MOM's SOS or: Learning through Movement and Music. It can also be labeled under: Teaching the Structure of Language
This strategy encourages natural reserves of creativity and love to emanate from the growing child, stimulating and increasing mnemonic retention through access to technology and instruments, "rap" or poetry or songs. (i.e. Alphabet Song) I will design a video game for children 2+ to teach reading through interactive maze and coloring games where the child may enter a "Learning Room" for any language (i.e. Hebrew, Tibetan, Sanskrit, Spanish, French, English, German etc.) and "experience" the poem/song in that language while they color or follow a maze game, etc. Then this will teach, through graphic organizers and sacred geometry, the principles of sound variation and phonics and vowel and consonant pronunciation in that language. When the child has mastered the game for a particular letter of each alphabet, then the actual visual word stimulation will be "added" to the game and the child will move automatically to the next "level." There the input will be more challenging each time. This sort of audio/visual learning is, I believe, the "wave of the future" that will launch the child on a course of a lifetime "love of learning", like a surfer looking to catch a better, bigger wave.
"Using the Data".
I use the Design Process I learned in a college Electrical Engineering course at Loyola University. Now, I teach this process by example and at the earliest possible age, when the child's growing brain accepts such stimulation as though it is a good dinner recipe. This encourages the brain to grow. Does anyone else use the time they spend feeding their bodies to also feed their minds? I don't consider it "rude" to read at the dinner table. In fact, it's better than watching TV. I like to eat and read at the same time and don't feel really satisfied unless I can do both. It is as though there is little time for true relaxation and learning and every second is precious. The child learns that reading is important through example and the parent or teacher that reads to the young child can help them see how comprehension is a function not only of retention but also of attention. I learned to read at three my memorizing the books my loving Muzzie read me as many times as I asked. Golden Books with heroes like Tarzan and Lone Ranger and were my bread and butter. By being read to whenever I asked from an early age, by three I "remembered" how to read. Much later, I learned the alphabet at school, but not how to read!
The Design Process shows the child how to pass through the stages of brainstorming and critiquing to decisions and actual project implementation. This translates into an ability to apply this "design process" to any discipline or subject they wish to master. Also, I challenge Microsoft to create games for free that teach these skills and make them and technology available at a local level to select teachers in small communities to prove the efficacy of the process, giving the teacher a home with at least a two-car garage to set up on of these Science of Open systems Learning Centers. voluntary attendance and inter-generational TEAMS are the Key to reforming education, eliminating obsolete methodologies in favor of perfection of form and song possible to miraculous beings we call our children!
Like Marie Montessori, my input strategies are based on the observation of the ways a child learns best. I do not use stress, as this does not ever seem to me to result in a positive or healthy outcome for the student. Rather, I control behavior through positive methods that invoke the student's own interests and motivations and may positively affect their home lives (even if the children are not my own).
I like to work backward from a designed "Learning Center", that will teach the needed skills while ensuring student's willing participation by methods of choice and feedback, refining the models or hands-on "games" through the child's own critical thinking skills and input strategies, allowing art or music or dance or video productions, etc. to be the models and the impetus for learning group skills of interaction and behavioral control. If a student cannot control their behavior, the entire class will stop everything and give the child who needs help the nurture and support they need. However, I should point out that I had one son and four daughters and therefore my observations are more about the feminine gender. Instruction for boys, especially younger ones might need to be more physically oriented around cooperative rather than competitive sports, team spirit, etc. For some boys, the hormonal change occurs later than in girls. It is found that requiring a child who has not undergone this change to sit still or learn to read in the ways we traditionally teach is almost like torture because sitting still or learning to read at this age and until this change occurs is physically impossible and may be one reason the use of ritilin has so increased in younger children, not because of the child, but simply in the system's ignoring the child's essential uniqueness.
Strategy Fifteen: Output Strategy
My take on these strategies is the same as that above: Work backward from a particular design and master the skills needed through the process of actually creating a visual or auditory record of the design experience. In my school, assessment will be through project outcomes and the child will only be "graded" on participation and increase in self-fulfillment. Organizing data as a rubric of understanding is natural and teaching the actual design process to a two year old can be as simple as letting them watch and participate in design processes that others might consider too advanced or challenging for that age group. Consider this, however:
The Brain wants and needs stimulation, the more challenge, the better! The child loves to master and to be appreciated for this natural desire is the goal and fulfillment that the child's social nature craves!
Any group project stimulates positive behavioral outputs, if the child is allowed and encouraged but not forced to learn! Let the children at the beginning of the year decide their own strategies for feedback and behavioral modification, where positive discipline uses stories and "parables" to understand the other person's point of view and emotions, and sets personal goals for growth and interaction.
Below is a short synopsis of research in the 20th Century:
1. The differences between qualitative and quantitative research;
2. major steps involved in conducting a research study;
3. four examples of research with significant deficiencies:
Deficiencies in Educational Research
In studying any research for the purposes of increasing knowledge about sources of creativity and other subjects affecting the educational forum consisting of educators, students, parents and administrators, one must consider several variables. First, is the research of a qualitative or a quantitative nature and, second, is it what may be considered good research or is it deficient in any of several ways?
These are the questions I will attempt to answer in the following pages.
The wide range of research subjects may seem daunting to some and a source of instant inspiration to others. The research you can find online is virtually unlimited, but may not always include refereed (or pre-judged, like a piano recital), articles. These research projects may be qualitative or quantitative, may be grounded in theory or may be entirely action research in the field. The type of research will affect results and their significance, as quantitative research may begin with an hypothesis or even two or three, and qualitative research may more generally be seen to start with a perceived need for change in any system that needs to grow as a viable entity.
It may be seen that the researcher is the research in a qualitative approach and also studies have shown that the otherwise "perceived to be unbiased" observer is actually constantly affecting their environment with conscious or unconscious direction of vibrational energy (also referred to in quantum physics and systems science as the "quantum flux"). Have you ever thought about what a research study on "quantum flux" might look like? Would you be able to arrive at a solution with less than four possibilities? This was a solution proposed in the equations attributed to de Broglie.
In analyzing the data in a quantitative study, one may see several variables being ignored or questions that address more than one concern or answer. Also, studies show that the same exact data and conclusions may be used to prove either side of the issue at hand, often depending on the whim or personal bias of the analyzer.
The issue of bias may also come up in the discussion of the action research proposal, not only from the researchers themselves, but also from participants in the study, who may have preconceived notions that may affect the reliability of the study. A large study and a larger population may have more significant results, but, here again, there are many factors that, not considered, may effect outcome or interpretation of hypothesis or theory.
The major steps in conducting a research project are dependent on the nature of the study itself. If the research is quantitative in nature, the researcher may first pick a topic and then review the literature concerning that topic in order to narrow the project to one small enough to be accomplished within the allotted time span and to further limit the hypothesis or theory they wish to consider. However, one deficient result may affect the outcome of the study to such an extent that the research may not produce accurate readings. If the topic is either too broad or too narrow, the results may also be insignificant. If the research is historical in nature, data may begin to be gathered in the course of conducting the survey of relevant literature. If the researcher has not significantly researched their topic, they may re-use a topic that has already been thoroughly discussed, or they may not have an overview that will give them an objective picture of what they wish to accomplish. These personal biases are some of the primary deficiencies in any project. However, in qualitative action research, one may not study the literature as much as the chosen population for the study. The group may be much smaller and more selective for this type of research. Not getting to know the population chosen for a small study of a qualitative nature is one of the deficiencies in this type of project.
Other deficiencies may occur in either form of research study, such as errors in data input, collection of statistics, setup of questions on surveys (not clear or more than one answer), and data analysis. These tend to be more evident in research of a quantitative nature, where facts and figures are more important than in comparable studies of a qualitative nature, where the topic and the hypotheses will often change and evolve as the study progresses. The four steps in action research are similar to those in quantitative research plans, but the order may differ.
These four steps include
(1) selecting a topic or issue to study,
(2) collect pertinent data related to the topic,
(3)analyze and interpret the data and
(4) application of the research results.
An action research proposal involves a good topic if it addresses directly a problem or question that may be effectively changed for the better in the course of conducting this research.
This is what appeals to me most, as I prefer "doing" to planning and often feel that planning becomes procrastination or control of intuitive understandings to the detriment thereof. But in order to replicate the resultant information, one must outline or plan the process so as to add much needed validity to one's research. Maybe this is not reducing your intuitive understanding but simply providing an atmosphere of replication for your intuition.
The more broad the chosen study group is in a quantitative research project, the better the results may be seen to address the topic, but other variables can also affect this type of survey analysis, such as a failure on the part of the researcher to address differences in gender bias or preferences or balances of age or skills or even cultural biases or ignorance based in the population itself or in the researcher's own lack of information about these issues, especially in studies related to ethnography, where language and cultural differences may create unknown biases that will affect the final outcome and the testability of the hypothesis. If the hypothesis is not capable of being proved or disproved by the methods invented or used by the otherwise unbiased or independent observer, then the resulting study will also be rated as deficient even if other methodologies are followed correctly. After a study has been conducted and the literature researched and quoted correctly, the study or research project will be written in APA format and submitted to the appropriate venue and may even be published in a journal that is known to "referee" its authors so that these sources may be trusted above what one finds online or self- published.
These major steps in conducting research are slightly different in the two approaches but basically have all the ingredients for a successful study or testable hypothesis. The paper will begin with an abstract and end with a conclusion and offer of suggestions for further studies, and the body of the report will document the size and nature of the population under study and the methodology used to do the research and gather the data. The quantitative approach will address the conclusion based on numerical data, while the qualitative approach will grow and change with immersion in the environment and evolve as the study progresses. All these reflections show that one must consider all sides (and even "wild card solutions") to analyze the complex interactions and relative benefits and effectiveness of any research project. Using only primary sources of information may help the initial investigation of research proposals and offer directions to improve the observed systems of interaction within the educational matrix. Self-examination of prevailing mental models may avoid bias in the final report. I am interested in pursuing action research that may reform the school system as we know it, (while making the least waves of resistance) so that the balance will shift toward the positive influences in society and less weight be given to competition with others and more toward individual measures of growth such as portfolios and project implementation as assessment and grade. This, in my opinion, will help to increase interest and curiosity and decrease depression and violence that I see as A direct result of learned helplessness and low self-esteem. In conclusion, a research topic must be testable using the collection and analysis of data, whether it be collected by sampling or as interviews, and the topic must have theoretical or practical significance to make sure it contributes in some way to improving the educational process." (Gay, 2003, 67)
Every good proposal begins with a research plan that typically includes an introduction, a method section, a data analysis description and a time schedule. If these are not considered ahead of time, more and more deficiencies may occur in the course of conducting the applicable research.
Any research that addresses as many of these variables as possible in its analysis and implementation will avoid the pitfalls associated with research that is deficient in some manner and therefore may not be of service in educating the educators. "Love longs to be known. All we have to do is clear the way for it." (From A Traveling Peoples' Feild Guide by W. T Feild) . My plan of action will be carried out online as I offer workshops and
web quests on my free web pages (Simonson, 2003). I will be asking for feedback and comments from anyone who chooses to participate in my Design by TEAMS Methodology. I will use msn groups and anonymous chat-rooms and ask for informal feedback from workshop participants. This will let me test the efficacy of my TEAMS Method as a tool for constructing a pedagogy or theory of Learning by doing. This is also called Problem or Project Based Learning (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998),(Tomlinson, 1999).
To develop over time, TEAMS show community businesses and schools how to work together as teams will also train new mentors with increasing mastery due to the power of accomplishment (Jensen,1998), ( Noll, 2005). It is ultimately the dedication to creating a universal tool that will help everyone, no matter their age or gender or level of mastery, to accomplish Projects of a global nature with only simple teamwork as the yeast for the dough, that will guide us to seal the output of vision with the crystal tone of cooperation (Chen, 2002).
As feedback improves communication and critical thinking skills develop with mastery, teamwork will be the necessary ingredient to produce a universal mind that seeks greatness and has compassion for all (Dils, 2004), (Vygotsky, 1978).
A letter of introduction that teaches a student how to use and update their skills by researching web pages of local businesses will also aid in connecting schools with their communities (Bly, 1999)
Helping them to connect with businesses and non-profits within their communities to effect these goals, anyone who participates in one of these Design by TEAMS workshops can then model and scaffold the learning curve for new participants and can hone their own skills of metacognition at the same time they mentor to others, thus making the knowledge more concrete and hands-on.
Bly, R. W. (1999). The encyclopedia of business letter, fax memos and e-mail. Franklin Lakes, New Jersey: Career Press
Chen, M. (Ed.). (2002). Edutopia: Success stories for learning in the digital age. http://www.glef.org San Francisco CA: Jossey- Bass.com
Dils, A. K. (2004) The use of metaphor and technology to enhance the instructional planning of constructivist lessons. Retrieved from Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education [OnlineSerial],4(2). http://www.citejournal.org/vol4/iss2/general/article2.cfm
Gay, L. R., & Airasian, P. (2003). Educational research: Competencies for analysis and applications 7th Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Merrill Prentice Hall.
Jensen, E. (1998). Teaching with the brain in mind. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.
Noll, J.W., (2005). Taking sides: Clashing views on controversial educational issues. Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.
Senge, P. (2000). Schools that learn. New York, New York: Doubleday/Currency.
Simonson, M., et al. (2003, 2000). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education, 2nd Ed. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill Prentice Hall http://www.prenhall.com/simonson
Tomlinson, C. A. (2000). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge,Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Wiggens, G., & McTighe, J. (1999). Understanding by design. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD