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Active Learning for Deaf Students: Teaching Tips for Enhancing Instruction in Science and Mathematics Harry G. Lang Rachel C. Lewis National Technical Institute for the Deaf Rochester Institute of Technology Objectives
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Active Learning for Deaf Students: Teaching Tips for Enhancing Instructionin Science and Mathematics Harry G. Lang Rachel C. Lewis National Technical Institute for the Deaf Rochester Institute of Technology
Objectives • Apply “best practices” related to active learning in instruction of deaf learners based on educational research (elementary & secondary). • Summarize what research says about active learning and deaf students in science and mathematics. Upon completion of this unit, the teacher will be able to:
Introductory Activity • On a piece of paper, please draw the figure below, with the O and X four to five centimeters apart. O X
Introductory Activity • Close your left eye as you look at the O with your right eye. • Move the paper toward your face. • What happens to the X? Discuss this with your group.
Introductory Activity Explanation: You have discovered the “blind spot” where the optic nerve connects to the retina and there are no cones or rods to pick up an image.
Discovery Learning • Compare discovering this concept through active learning with a teacher just describing it through a lecture. • Discuss the difference with your group.
Discovery Learning • Discovery learning is "an approach to instruction through which students interact with their environment-by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments" (Ormrod, 1995, p. 442). • Students are more likely to remember concepts when they discover them on their own. Ormrod, J. (1995). Educational psychology: Principles and applications. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:Prentice-Hall.
Discovery Learning • In this activity, all students have their “minds on” during the activity. • Minds-on learning (cognitive engagement) is much more important than “hands-on” activity.
Defining “Active Learning” • All learning is “active.” • The level of engagement by the student during the instructional process determines how “active” a learning experience may be.
Defining “Active Learning” Student-Centered Learning • Film clip A1 illustrates how a teacher is actively involving the students in creating a concept map in which they compare and contrast the characteristics of humans and computers. • Film clip A1
Defining “Active Learning” There is probably no better way to summarize the importance of active learning than the old proverb: Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I will remember.Involve me, and I will understand.
Defining “Active Learning” Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I will remember.Involve me, and I will understand. Involving the deaf student in student-centered activities (as compared to teacher-centered lectures) has been repeatedly found in research studies to be a critical emphasis or “best practice.”
Inquiry-based Learning Inquiry learning is a general term for learning modeled on the scientific inquiry process. It is described in various ways, but generally involves the following steps: • formulating testable hypotheses (or predictions or questions) • planning for the systematic gathering of data • acquiring the data and information • data analysis • inferring conclusions • reporting the findings
Inquiry-Based Learning An example from mathematics: • On a piece of paper, please draw a triangle with a ruler. • It can be any shape or size.
Inquiry-Based Learning An example from mathematics: Focus questions • How can we find the measure of each angle of a triangle? • How can we find the sum of the measures of the angles of a triangle?
Inquiry-Based Learning An example from mathematics: • Discuss how you would measure the angles and find the sum. • Design a short experiment to predict the sum of the angles in your individual triangles, measure these angles and record them in a data sheet.
Inquiry-Based Learning An example from mathematics: • Next, in your drawing of a triangle, please label each angle, A, B, and C.
Inquiry-Based Learning An example from mathematics: • Cut (or tear) each angle from the triangle and place them together with their sides touching. • What do you notice about the sum of the three angles?
Inquiry-Based Learning An example from mathematics: • What do you notice about the sum of the three angles?
Inquiry-Based Learning An example from mathematics: Using such a technique, the students will discover that no matter what the size or shape of the triangle, the three angles will always add up to 180 degrees (or a straight line).
Inquiry-Based Learning Research Findings: Elefant (1980): Twenty-seven deaf students aged 10-13 participated in an Inquiry Development Program in five instructional groups ranging from 3 to 7 students each. The program lasted 8 weeks with two sessions per week. The focus was on whether such an inquiry approach can be used with deaf learners.
Inquiry-Based Learning Research Findings: Elefant concludes from her study that the actual number of inquiry behaviors and time spent doing experiments exhibited per lesson tended to increase over time and that the the spent doing "non-involved tasks" either remained constant or decreased over time for each student. All of the students involved in the study were able to acquire inquiry skills. However, academic content learning was not evaluated in this study. Elefant, E.F. (1980). Deaf children in an inquiry training program. The Volta Review, 82, 271-279.
Inquiry-Based Learning Research Findings: Boyd and George (1973), used an inquiry learning approach to study the manipulation of objects and classification abilities of deaf 10-13 year-old students using Science Curriculum Improvement Study (SCIS) and Science: A Process Approach (SAPA) materials. They observed increased scores for deaf students in the experimental group who used the hands-on materials. Boyd, E., & George, K. (1973). The effect of science inquiry on the abstract categorization behavior of deaf children. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 10, 91-99.
Inquiry-Based Learning Research Findings: Grossman (1987) investigated how the "antecedent cognitive skills" of 30 deaf junior high science students relate to inquiry tasks. He first assessed such cognitive skills as pattern/unit relations, symmetry, balance, and complementarity. Then he examined performance on observational science inquiry tasks, finding that antecedent process performance was significantly related to observational science inquiry skills. The antecedent cognitive skills were also significantly related to science and reading SAT scores. Grossman, E. (1987). Antecedent cognitive skills related to science inquiry: an assessment with deaf children. Doctoral dissertation, Columbia University Teachers College.
Inquiry-Based Learning Research Findings: In summary, several studies with deaf learners have shown benefits of using inquiry learning approaches.
Active Learning In addition to the short-term discovery/inquiry approaches recently described, there are many other forms of active learning. Another type of active learning is called Experiential Learning
Experiential Learning • “Experiential learning” often refers to a structured learning sequence which is guided by a cyclical model. • Experiential learning may also include unintentional learning, but we usually call this “learning through experience.”
Experiential Learning • Experiential Learning is defined in a variety of ways. • There are several components which are common to all models. • Experiential education usually includes: • Some form of action • Some form of reflection • Some form of application
Experiential Learning • Film Clip A2 illustrates the “Action” stage of experiential learning. In this lesson, a deaf girl pretends she is purchasing an automobile from a saleswoman. • Film Clip A2
Experiential Learning • “Processing” is the reflection component. • Learners consider what is important about the activity which was recently experienced.
Experiential Learning • Film clip A3 illustrates one part of a longer discussion of the recent experience (purchasing a car). The rest of the class is involved in the discussion. • Film clip A3
Experiential Learning • Reflection ought to include communication of experience. • Communication itself is action, or “active learning.” • The reflective communication may be signed, written, or spoken (to oneself, to another, to a group).
Experiential Learning • Critical emphasis - something must be done with the reflection. • As far as possible, design the processing activity to include cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (feelings) dimensions. • Encourage the learners to reflect, describe, analyze, and communicate.
Experiential Learning Research Findings: In a study by Quinsland (1986), Deaf students’ learning was enhanced by an experiential activity where they acted out the different parts of the human heart (white blood cells, red blood cells, valves, chambers, etc). The factual learning by the students was significantly better than that of a control group which learned the same material through a traditional lecture. Quinsland, L.K. (1986). Experiential learning vs. lecture learning with postsecondary hearing-impaired learners: a study of the potential need for change to occur in instructional methodology. Ph.D. Dissertation, Walden University.
Experiential Learning An example from biology: Sense of Hearing Individuals in your group should “become” one of the following: • Sound wave (use a slinky spring if available) • Outer ear • Tympanic membrane • Parts of the middle ear (hammer, anvil, stirrup) • Cochlea with hair-like cilia • Auditory nerve • Brain
Experiential Learning An example from biology: Sense of Hearing • Using note cards or sticky labels, each individual should have the name of the part he/she represents clearly identified. • Next, the movement and functions of each part of the hearing process should be discussed individually.
Experiential Learning An example from biology: Sense of Hearing • Finally, the individuals, all standing up, should imagine themselves as the various components of the hearing system and act out the process. • For example, some students will be the stereocilia, imitating the motion of the hair cells. Their raised arms should move in synchronization as if carrying the sound energy through the cochlea.
Experiential Learning An example from biology: Sense of Hearing PROCESSING Discussion - each student should describe what she/he experienced as one part of the human ear.
Experiential Learning An example from biology: Sense of Hearing PROCESSING A “Writing to Learn” activity, for example, may be used to process this experience Write a short creative essay several paragraphs long titled, “I am a Cilium in the Cochlea” Describe yourself as a cilium.
Experiential Learning Cooperative Learning Activity: In your group, take 15 minutes to modify the “Sense of Hearing” activity based on the situation presented on the next slide. • Choose a leader for the discussion. • Come up with some basic rules for communication. • Determine the specific part of the hearing system that needs to be modified. • Train the individuals on how to modify their behaviors to demonstrate the hearing system failure. • Demonstrate it through experiential learning.
Experiential Learning APPLICATION Mary had spinal meningitis at the age of 11. Discuss and then demonstrate through this experiential learning model what happened to her hearing.
Lesson Planning:Embedding Multiple Activities Often, a series of short-term activities of the “hands-on/minds-on” type can be embedded in a single lesson.
Short-Term Activities To illustrate how short-term activities can be embedded in classroom discussions, we provide a series of QuickTime movies for a lesson on “Properties of Air”: • Air has weight • Air occupies space • Air can exert pressure
Short-Term Activities Example 1: Air has Weight • Have the students blow up two balloons (so that they are roughly of equal size) and tie them to opposite ends of a meter stick. Tie a string to the center of the meter stick so that the meter stick and balloons can be held suspended in the air. The meter stick should be fairly level since the balloons "weigh" the same. • Have students write down their prediction of what will happen when one of the balloons is broken with a pin.
Short-Term Activities Example 1: Air has Weight • [See Film Clip A4] • Have students turn down their hearing aids. Have a student burst one of the balloons with a pin. After the students burst the balloon, have them write on an index card what they saw actually happen. Did this match their prediction? Why or why not? Why did the remaining balloon rise or fall?
Short-Term Activities Example 1: Air has Weight • Some teachers may assume that a verbal explanation is adequate. Having the students do this themselves makes a difference in how well they understand the concept. The activity also fosters inquiry, involves multisensory experiences (visually observing, feeling and/or hearing the balloon burst, etc.), and the writing activity encourages self expression.
Short-Term Activities Example 2: Air occupies space • In the same manner, students can see how air will occupy space when they do this short-term activity themselves. • Importantly, ask the students first if they can design a basic activity that will demonstrate air occupying space (inquiry learning). • See next slide
Short-Term Activities Example 2: Air occupies space • Give them a container with water and an empty glass and allow them to discuss the design…rather than quickly demonstrating it yourself. • [See Film Clip A5]]
Short-Term Activities Example 3: Air exerts pressure • A simple piece of balsa wood and some newspaper are all that are needed to dramatically observe air pressure. • Importantly, involve the students in the activity. • [see Film Clip A6]