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Tips Suck! . Combating the quick-fix culture by using motivation theory to inform learning skill practice. Peter Walsh, M.Ed. McMaster University. Richard “Zack” Zajchowski, M.Ed. Camosun College. Agenda. Why Tips Don’t Work Motivational Assessment and Intervention Readiness for Change

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Tips suck l.jpg

Tips Suck!

Combating the quick-fix culture by using motivation theory to inform learning skill practice

Peter Walsh, M.Ed.

McMaster University

Richard “Zack” Zajchowski, M.Ed.

Camosun College


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Agenda

  • Why Tips Don’t Work

  • Motivational Assessment and Intervention

    • Readiness for Change

    • Self Regulation

    • Learning Processes

    • Learning Strategies

  • Discussion(s)


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The Quick Fix Culture

Why ‘Tips’ Don’t Work


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‘Tip’ Examples

  • When in doubt, pick C.

  • Yellow helps you “concentrate.”

  • The first answer is your best answer.

  • Check marks are more “motivating” than crossing items off your To Do List.

  • Strawberries make you smarter.


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Tips vs. Strategies

  • A tip is a:

    • short, superficial recommendation

    • easy to implement

    • Often has some intuitive or novel appeal

  • A strategy* is:

    • specific approach to a learning task

    • you choose to use

    • that improves your learning effectiveness

*From Learning for Success 4thed, Fleet, Goodchild, Zajchowski


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‘Tips’ in Research

  • Poor research to begin with

  • Fails to address individual variability

    • A student is not an ‘average’ but a self aware, multidimensional, evolving “data point”

  • Fails to teach the situational utility of the technique when, where, how

  • Doesn’t motivate

For a good comprehensive beginner level review of research on learning and thinking see the public document of Jennifer Cromley’s report on Learning to Think: Learning to Learn (2000). National Institute for Literacy. http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/fellowship/cromley_report.pdf.


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Why Teaching ‘Tips’ may be Worse

  • No theory to assist choosing the right technique (cf. “tools” approach)

  • Fail to develop the student’s ability to be adaptive, flexible, and self directed.

  • Ignores what happens when the “tip” doesn’t work!

    IN SHORT … They …

  • Trivialize the complexity of human learning and human change processes


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Discussion #1

  • What are your thoughts about the quick fix culture?

  • Other examples of Quick Fix?

  • Solutions?



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  • Readiness for Change skills context

  • Self Regulation Issues

  • Understanding Learning Process

  • Specific Learning Strategies


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Change isn’t Easy skills context

  • Telling doesn’t mean doing

  • Persons under stress revert to more ‘primitive’ coping strategies

    • Newby’s Law: Stress ↑  Organization of Info↓

  • 30 attempts to establish a habit (unknown source)

  • RESISTANCE – e.g. YBS: yes but syndrome


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Stages of Change Model skills context

Remind Again Later

1 Pre-Contemplation

Raise Awareness & Doubts

Encourage to Try Again

2 Contemplation

Develop a Theory & Tip the Balance

3 Planning

6. Relapse

Get Concrete

4 Action

Stay the Course, Encouragement, support

5 Maintenance

Modified from Changing for good, by Prochaska, Norcross., and Diclementi (1994)


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Malleable Attribution skills context

E.g. time, effort, strategy

‘If at first you don’t succeed …’

Persist and succeed

Fixed Attribution

E.g. IQ, Ability, Character

‘Either you got “it” or you don’t.’

Drop out and fail

What keeps people trying?

Attribution: an explanation of success or failure

Biggest challenge for a Counsellor is to move a student from a Fixed Attribution Bias to a Malleable AttributionBias.

* Adapted from Perry (2003), Perceived academic control and causal thinking in achievement settings, Canadian Psychology, 44 (3) 312-331. Also see Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman.


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Implications for Counselling skills context

  • During the first 5 minutes, I assess readiness for change.

  • Use counselling strategies appropriate to the stage they are in

  • If I get too many “yes buts” to a learning strategy, I go back to an earlier stage.


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Motivational Presenting skills context

1 Pre-Contemplation

Create Cognitive Dissonance

Deglitch and Adjust

2 Contemplation

Provide an “Ah Hah!”

3 Planning

6. Relapse

Get Concrete

4 Action

Problem Solve

5 Maintenance

Modified from Changing for good, by Prochaska, Norcross., and Diclementi (1994).


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Discussion #2 skills context

  • What do you think of the model?

  • What struggles have you had around motivation, Yes But, and resistance?

  • What do you do to motivate students?

  • What did you do to overcome resistance and the yes but syndrome?

  • How do you create cognitive dissonance?


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Tiered Assessment & Intervention skills context

  • Readiness for Change

  • Self Regulation Issues

  • Understanding Learning Process

  • Specific Learning Strategies


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Observer You skills context

Control

Monitor

Action You

Meta-Cognition & Self Regulation

Executive

Intention

Will Power

“Motivation”

“Just do it”

Feedback

Reflection

Adapted from Nelson, T. O. & Narens, L. (1996). Why investigate metacognition. In Metacognition: Knowing about knowing (Ed. Metcalfe, J. & Shimamura, A. P.). London, England:Bradford/MIT.


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Why is meta-cognition important skills context

  • Research links incompetence to weaknesses in meta-cognitive skills*.

  • Specifically, it was found that failure to monitor competence lead to self delusion about one’s abilities.

  • Training in meta-cognitive monitoring skills increased competence.

* Kruger, J. & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1121-1134.


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Meta-Cognition and the skills contextFeeling of Knowing (FOK)

  • FOK is the subjective felt sense of knowing something in the absence of verifiable demonstration of knowledge.

  • In most routine tasks, FOK judgments are 80% accurate.

  • However, inflated or misguided FOK judgments can lead to student learning problems.

  • Maybe maturational.

From Metacognition: Knowing about knowing (Ed. Metcalfe, J. & Shimamura, A. P.). London, England:Bradford/ MIT.


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Implications for Counselling skills context

  • Failure to monitor and adjust will undermine any learning strategy

  • Examples of strategies gone wrong…

    • Hi-Lighter Hypnosis

    • Human Xerox Machine

    • Coma Reading

    • “Look over” studying/reading


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Tiered Assessment & Intervention skills context

  • Readiness for Change

  • Self Regulation Issues

  • Understanding Learning Process

  • Specific Learning Strategies


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So how does ‘technique’ fit? skills context

  • Specific techniques must be served on a platter of theory of when, why, and how to use the technique given personal attributes and context.

* This is called “Explicit Instruction” and “Strategic Learning Instruction” in the literature.


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Tiered Assessment & Intervention skills context

  • Readiness for Change

  • Self Regulation Issues

  • Understanding Learning Process

  • Specific Learning Strategies


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Simile: Skills and Tools skills context

  • A skill is developed over time, requires effort, allows for confusion and inconsistent initial results

  • A tool is an interface between a TASK and a PERSON

  • The more Tools you have, the easier the “job”


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Role Play skills contextDiscussion #4

Implementing this in your practice


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SUMMARY skills context

1 Pre-Contemplation

  • Readiness

  • Self Regulation

  • Learning Processes

  • Learning Strategies

Create Cognitive Dissonance

Raise Awareness & Doubts

2 Contemplation

Develop a Theory & Tip the Balance

Provide an “Ah Hah!”

3 Planning

Get Concrete

4 Action

Stay the Course, Encouragement, support

5 Maintenance

Modified from Changing for good, by Prochaska, Norcross., and Diclementi (1994)


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Bibliography skills context

Motivational Interviewing, Second Edition : Preparing People for Change (2002) by Miller and Rollnick

Changing for Good (1995) by Prochaska, Norcross, & Diclemente.

Assisting At-Risk College Students with Attribution Retraining and Effective Teaching (1994). By Menec, Peer, Struthers, Shonwhetter, Hechter, and Eichholz. Journal of applied social psychology, 24(8), 675-701

Learning to Think, Learning to Learn: What The Science Of Thinking And Learning Has To Offer Adult Education (2000).Jennifer Cromley. Accessed online at http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/fellowship/cromley_report.pdf.

Perceived academic control and causal thinking in achievement settingsby PerryCanadian Psychology, 44 (3) 312-331


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Requested Additional Resources skills context

  • Zack’s book:

    Learning for Success 4th ed, Fleet, Goodchild, Zajchowski, 2005. Thompson-Nelson publishers (you can likely get a instructor’s copy)

  • Peter’s Videos:

    http://maclife.mcmaster.ca/academicskills/workshops.cfm?wid=1


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THE END skills context


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