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Chapter Eight Discussion

Chapter 8
Facilitators
Vince Arizzi
Joy Graves

Chapter eight deals with a very important concept for teachers to grasp – Information-Processing Theory. Understanding the concepts presented in this chapter will help teachers make decisions about patterns and methods of teaching, because it affects how well the students learn.

To begin, a well-accepted model of information-processing divides into three memory stores- sensory register, short term, and long term. These memory stores differ in the amount of time information can spend there, as well as how much information it can hold. Control processes are found in between these memory stores, which help to move the information between them. Some of the processes are recognition, attention, maintenance rehearsal, elaborative rehearsal, and retrieval. Control processes determine the amount and importance of information we store. Lets start at the beginning of the model.

Starting with the first memory store, the sensory register constantly records stimuli gathered by your senses. It only holds them long enough for you to decide whether the information in important enough to store or not. This period is about one to three seconds. Information not acted upon within this time disappears. Two types of control processes act upon this information, to help it flow to the next store. They are recognition and attention.

Recognition involves relating the new material to something stored in long-term memory. The effectiveness of this process depends entirely on each individual person, since it searches the long-term memory for any connections possible. For instance, a newborn baby, having no idea what a cat looks like, would not recognize seeing a cat for the first time. College students, on the other hand, should have no problem relating seeing a cat to their long-term memory physical features of a cat. Attention is another basic control process that helps information get out of the sensory register. Our sensory register takes in so much information at a time; it is impossible for us to comprehend it all. We will often focus on one thing over another, and this is called attention. This is also another process that varies much from person to person, depending on their attention span.

Short-term memory is the next memory store. It can hold about seven unrelated bits at a time. The time span for this information is about 20 seconds. Working memory is another name for short-term memory, because we are always aware of the contents of it. Elaborate rehearsal is a control process that takes information from this store and brings it to the doorstep of long-term memory. Maintenance rehearsal prepares the info for immediate use.

Maintenance rehearsal is a fancy name for repetition. Its only purpose is to hold information in short-term memory for immediate use. It is useful, but doesn’t touch long-term memory. Elaborate rehearsal is different, because it relies on previously stored information to add to. It can be quite efficient, depending on how strong the ties to current information are.

Moving on to long-term memory, this final memory store is thought to be unlimited in space. It is believed that long-term memory contains a record of all of the individual’s learning. LTM is organized in terms of schemata, which are plainly abstract structures of information. They summarize the information. When well formed and an event meets our expectations, we understand immediately. Poorly structured schemata, however, lead to slow learning.

Metacognition is the next topic in the book. This refers to our knowledge about our own thinking, learning and other operations, and about how they might best be used to benefit us. Psychologist John Flavell classifies this idea into three separate ideas: knowledge of person variable, task variables, and strategy variables.

Looking at age trends in Metacognition, it is shown that young children hardly know how their thinking processes work, and when to use them. Teachers should help guide these ideas of understanding the cognitive processes, as they well become clearer as the children grow up. What are some ways that you as a teacher could help guide this understanding?

Using learning tactics relates directly to the effectiveness of learning strategies. While learning strategies are a general plan for achievement of a goal, learning tactics help make those goals attainable. The three most important tactics I think are rehearsal, mnemonic devices, and notetaking. We have already talk about rehearsal, so I would just like to add that another form of rehearsal, cumulative rehearsal, in an enhanced version of rote rehearsal, using rote repetitions, but using small sets of information.

Mnemonic devices are memory-directed tactics, and can be very effective, but this depends entirely on the organization and meaningfulness of the encoding. They provide distinct retrieval cues, so the individual needs to be an active participant in learning it, and the material itself. I believe teaching mnemonic devices is a good tactic. If the students will take the time to remember these devices, they are often learning the material anyway. What do you think about teaching mnemonic devices? The book has an argument against them, but a positive justification for them follows.

Notetaking is a very effective learning tactic. It requires a student to actively listen, and either record the information into the notes, or summarize, which is using more active thinking processes, the information into something they can comprehend. Which of the three learning tactics do you tend to use most at the college level?

Computer-based technology is being produced more and more to reflect an information-processing perspective. Programs can influence how we access our knowledge. There are computer-learning tools for representing knowledge, writing, reading, science, math, art, and music. What are some ways that you can come up with that technology could help with us processing information more effectively?

Looking at age trends in Metacognition, it is shown that young children hardly know how their thinking processes work, and when to use them. Teachers should help guide these ideas of understanding the cognitive processes, as they well become clearer as the children grow up. What are some ways that you as a teacher could help guide this understanding?

Using learning tactics relates directly to the effectiveness of learning strategies. While learning strategies are a general plan for achievement of a goal, learning tactics help make those goals attainable. The three most important tactics I think are rehearsal, mnemonic devices, and notetaking. We have already talk about rehearsal, so I would just like to add that another form of rehearsal, cumulative rehearsal, in an enhanced version of rote rehearsal, using rote repetitions, but using small sets of information.

Mnemonic devices are memory-directed tactics, and can be very effective, but this depends entirely on the organization and meaningfulness of the encoding. They provide distinct retrieval cues, so the individual needs to be an active participant in learning it, and the material itself. I believe teaching mnemonic devices is a good tactic. If the students will take the time to remember these devices, they are often learning the material anyway. What do you think about teaching mnemonic devices? The book has an argument against them, but a positive justification for them follows.

Notetaking is a very effective learning tactic. It requires a student to actively listen, and either record the information into the notes, or summarize, which is using more active thinking processes, the information into something they can comprehend. Which of the three learning tactics do you tend to use most at the college level?

Computer-based technology is being produced more and more to reflect an information-processing perspective. Programs can influence how we access our knowledge. There are computer-learning tools for representing knowledge, writing, reading, science, math, art, and music. What are some ways that you can come up with that technology could help with us processing information more effectively?

Vince Arizzi

Information-processing involves a stimulus, recognizing it, transforming it into mental representation, comparing it with information already obtained, assigning a meaning, and acting on it. This chapter explains this with a model on pg 252 that describes the three main components of information-processing: 1.sensory register, 2.short-term memory, and 3.long-term memory. The control processes: recognition, attention, elaborative rehearsal, maintenance rehearsal, and response.

Think of examples of each of these 3 components that would relate to teaching in your classroom, or that you have experienced in school in the past.

Metacognition: one's ability to know how to learn, and how to use learning techniques that would help them achieve their learning goal. (this increases with age) Looking at the 5 conclusions of Dueel and Kail about the age trends using memorization techniques and how they understanding what they are doing. Can you remember thinking this way as a child? How will you relate to your students as they go through these processes of thinking? Do you have any techniques in mind to help your students progress in these areas?

Helping Students Become Strategic Learners: A learning strategy is a PLAN that will achieve a long-term goal. A learning tactic is a specific TECHNIQUE that helps to achieve the long-term goal. There are several different types of tactics: rehearsal, mnemonic devices, self and peer questioning, and notetaking. Give an example of the rehearsal tactic that you have used in the past.

Think of an example of one the mnemonic devices (rhyme, acronym, acrostic, method of Loci,keyword) that is not used in the book and explain in what situations it could be used in.

Notetaking can be a bad tactic because we know little about how to make notetaking effective. You have taken notes throughout your school career. Think of what classes you had that your notes were very helpful and how you went about taking the notes and using them to refer to. What strategies do you think are helpful with notetaking?

Learning strategy: metacognition, analysis, planning, implementation, monitoring, modification What do think the main pros of learning strategy training would add to your classroom?

Technology: Computers are very important in the classroom today, new programs for all subjects and ages are developed constantly. The computer is a must in most classrooms today. Are you prepared to teach and help your students with the computer? If you don't feel confident in this area, what plans do you have to better educate yourself so that you are well prepared to teach your classroom through technology? If you do feel confident, give ideas for others who need to learn about computers.

Joy Graves