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Metacognition: The Key to Excelling Science!. Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D. Director, Center for Academic Success Adj. Professor, Department of Chemistry Louisiana State University. 2004 National College Learning Center Association Frank L. Christ Outstanding Learning Center Award.

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Metacognition: The Key to Excelling Science!


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    1. Metacognition: The Key to Excelling Science! Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D. Director, Center for Academic Success Adj. Professor, Department of Chemistry Louisiana State University

    2. 2004 National College Learning Center AssociationFrank L. Christ Outstanding Learning Center Award

    3. The Story of Five LSU Students • Travis, junior psychology student 47, 52, 82, 86 • Robert, freshman chemistry student 42, 100, 100, 100 • Amy, junior organic chemistry student 54, 82, 76, 78 • Michael, senior pre-medical organic student 30, 28, 80, 91 • Terrence, junior Bio Engineering student GPA 1.67 cum, 3.54 (F 03), 3.8 (S 04)

    4. Date of Final Exam: December 14, 2005 Meeting with Student No. 1: December 12, 2005 Meeting with Student Nos. 2 & 4: December 2, 2005 Meeting with Student No. 3: December 8, 2005 The final was worth 100 points with a 10 bonus question.

    5. Think/Pair/Share What is the difference, if any, between studying and learning? Which, if either, is more enjoyable?

    6. Al’s Cumulative Exam Record Pursuing Ph.D. in Chemistry 2004 – 2005 9/04 Failed 10/04 Failed 11/04 Failed 12/04 Failed 1/05 Passed 2/05 Failed 3/05 Failed 4/05 Failed 2005 – 2006 10/05 Passed 11/05 Failed 12/05 Passed best in group 1/06 Passed 2/06 Passed 3/06 Failed 4/06 Passed last one! 5/06 N/A Began work with CAS in October 2005

    7. Desired outcomes • We will better understand why students don’t study, or seldom get significant results from their study time • We will understand some basic principles of cognitive science and learning theory that can be used to improve teaching and learning • We will have concrete strategies that teachers can teach students to increase critical thinking • We will see how concept mapping can improve learning

    8. Desired outcomes cont’d • We will know what motivates students to learn • We will view our students differently • We will see immediate and dramatic changes in our students’ performance and self-perception • We will LOVE our jobs!!!

    9. Working more hours More ADD/ADHD Interested in obtaining credentials Feel entitled to an A or B if they consistently attend class Few time management skills Few learning skills Characteristics of Many of Today’s STEM Students

    10. Why don’t students know how to learn? • It wasn’t necessary in high school - 66% of 2003 entering first year students spent less than six hours per week doing homework in 12th grade. - More than 46% of these students said they graduated from high school with an “A” average. • Students’ confidence level is high - 70% believe their academic ability is above average or in the highest 10 percent among people their age Higher Education Research Institute Study http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/heri/03_press_release.pdf

    11. How do faculty sometimes further add to the problem? • By assigning homework and giving tests that require little, if any, higher order thinking • By assessing learning too infrequently • By not requiring students to be responsible for their own learning • By having little ability to teach students concrete learning strategies • By rewarding passive learning

    12. How does the university exacerbate the problem? • Orientation programs that stress fun, recreation, and campus organization involvement • Counselors who assist students in scheduling courses “back to back” with no breaks between • Faculty who discourage students from buying the course textbook • Others?

    13. What did we at the CAS do to improve these students’ learning and performance? • We gave them • Confidence • Attitude Adjustment • Strategies involving metacognition

    14. Metacognition The ability to: • think about thinking • be consciously aware of oneself as a problem solver • monitor and control one’s mental processing • accurately assess what one understands

    15. Metacognition “an appreciation of what one already knows, together with a correct comprehension of the learning task and what knowledge and skills it requires, combined with the ability to make correct inferences about how to apply one’s strategic knowledge to a particular situation, and to do so efficiently and reliably.” Taylor, 1999

    16. Rote Learning • Involves verbatim memorization (which is easily forgotten) • Cannot be manipulated or applied to novel situations (e.g. remembering phone numbers, dates, names, etc.)

    17. Meaningful Learning • Learning that is tied and related to previous knowledge and integrated with previous learning • Can be manipulated, applied to novel situations, and used in problem solving tasks (e.g. comparing and contrasting the Arrhenius and B-L definitions of acids and bases.)

    18. Why Rote Learning Is Ubiquitous • More high stakes testing in schools schools • It worked in earlier grades; paradigm shifts don’t come easily! • Teachers who test primarily rote learning • Most students have not developed study skills or learning strategies

    19. Can you accurately count the vowels?

    20. This pyramid depicts the different levels of thinking we use when learning. Notice how each level builds on the foundation that precedes it. It is required that we learn the lower levels before we can effectively use the skills above. Bloom’s Taxonomy Evaluation Graduate School Making decisions and supporting views; requires understanding of values. Combining information to form a unique product; requires creativity and originality. Synthesis Identifying components; determining arrangement, logic, and semantics. Analysis Undergraduate Using information to solve problems; transferring abstract or theoretical ideas to practical situations. Identifying connections and relationships and how they apply. Application Restating in your own words; paraphrasing, summarizing, translating. Comprehension High School Memorizing verbatim information. Being able to remember, but not necessarily fully understanding the material. Knowledge Louisiana State University  Center for Academic Success  B-31 Coates Hall  225-578-2872  www.cas.lsu.edu

    21. So, what can we do to improve student learning? • Adopt the attitude that ALL students can learn • Help students determine their learning style • Help students understand the learning process • Teach students effective learning strategies based on cognitive science research findings

    22. Cognitive Science: The Science of the Mind Questions • How do humans process information? • How do people increase their knowledge? • What factors influence learning? • What types of learning facilitate transfer of information learned to new settings? • How can we change teaching to improve learning?

    23. Experts vs. Novices They think differently about problems

    24. Novices vs. Intelligent Novices • Intelligent novices learn new domains more quickly than other novices • The metacognitive skills make the difference

    25. What intelligent novices know • Learning is different from memorization • Solving problems without looking at the solution is different from using the solution as a model • Comprehension of reading material must be tested while the reading is in progress • Knowledge is not “handed out” by the instructor; it is constructed by the learner • The basic concepts in an area are connected to each other

    26. Turning Students into Intelligent Novices • Have them determine their learning style • Have them do “think aloud” exercises • Have them ask “why” and “what if” • Have them write exam questions that are at the application level (or higher) on Bloom’s taxonomy • Have them make concept maps of material • Provide time for them to do metacognitive activities in class

    27. Another Cognitive Science Concept: Judgment of Learning (JOL) The ability to: • Realistically evaluate what you’ve learned and what you haven’t learned • Devise strategies to test your learning (e.g. write about the topic, give a “lecture about the topic”, etc.) • Use strategies to deepen your learning

    28. Why Students Do Not Accurately Judge their Learning • They base their learning on what’s in short term memory • They don’t test their learning • They’ve never engaged in an activity that would show them that they are overestimating their learning

    29. Concept maps facilitate development of higher order thinking skills

    30. How Concept Mapping Improves Accuracy of Judgment of Learning • It forces students to come to grips with the state of their current understanding of a topic • Students see how other students “see” the concepts • Students develop a conceptual framework for the material

    31. Concepts Maps Can Have Many Forms

    32. Chapter Map Title of Chapter Primary Headings Subheadings Secondary Subheadings

    33. Persuasive Writing Thesis Viewpoint Viewpoint Details Details Reasons, Facts, Examples Reasons, Facts, Examples Conclusion

    34. Compare and Contrast Concept#1 Concept #2 How are they similar? How are they different?

    35. Study Strategies Gold Nugget • The Study Cycle with Intense Study Sessions* *Adapted from method developed by Frank L. Christ

    36. The Study Cycle Phase One: Preview chapters to be covered in class… before class (Create chapter maps) Phase Two: Go to Class. Listen actively, take notes, participate in class Phase Three: Review and process class notes as soon as possible after class Phase Four: Incorporate Intense Study Sessions Repeat

    37. Intense Study Sessions • 2 - 5 minutes: Set goals for next 40 min. • 30 - 40 minutes: Accomplish the goals Read text more selectively/highlight • Make doodles/notes in margins • Create mnemonics, work examples • Create concept maps • 10 minutes Review what you have just studied • 10 minutes Take a break • Repeat

    38. Get the Most Out of Lecture • Preview material • Arrive early • Actively participate • Review notes soon after class • Rework all example problems done in class

    39. Get the Most Out of Homework • Start the problems early--the day they are assigned • Do not flip back to see example problems; work them yourself! • Don’t give up too soon (<15 min.) • Don’t spend too much time (>30 min.)

    40. Get the Most from Tutorial Centers, Office Hours, & Study Groups • Try to understand the concept or work the problem by yourself first • Come prepared to ask questions • Explain the material to the tutor or instructor

    41. Make Study Groups Work FOR You, Not AGAINST You! • Set ground rules for the study group • No meetings the day the problem set is due • Be present, on time, and prepared • Do your part or be barred from the session • Each one teach something!

    42. Good notes are essential for meaningful learning

    43. Cornell Note Taking Format* Notes on Taking Notes, 05/18/06 Recall Column: Uses of notes • identify major points • identify minor points There are 4 Kinds of Notes: • Running Text • Formal Outline • Informal Outline • Cornell Note system Reduce ideas and facts to concise summaries and cues for reciting, reviewing and reflecting over here. *Developed by Walter Pauk

    44. Bases of Intrinsic Motivation Autonomy (Control Their Own Destiny) Competence (Do Things that Help Them Feel Successful) Belonging (To Feel Part of a Group Effort) Self-Esteem (To Feel Good About Who They Are) Involvement and Enjoyment (To Find Pleasure in What They Do) Motivating Students James Raffini, Allyn and Bacon, 1996

    45. The LSU Dental School First Year Class: An Amazing Success Story! • Metacognition Discussion – August 13, 2004 • Histology Exam – August 23, 2004 • Previous class averages: 74 – 77 • Challenge to class on August 13: 84 average • Reported average on August 24: 85!

    46. In conclusion Students CAN change their attitudes and behaviors about learning. BUT, we must help them do this and hold them accountable for meaningful learning.

    47. Final Note Please visit out website at www.cas.lsu.edu. We have on-line workshops and information that on effective study strategies that will be useful to students with a variety of learning styles. Dr. Saundra McGuire

    48. References • Bruer, John T. , 2000. Schools For Thought: A Science of Learning in the Classroom. MIT Press. • Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., Cocking, R.R. (Eds.), 2000. How people learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. • Hacker, D. J., Dunlosky, J., and Graesser, A.C. (1998). Metacognition in Educational Theory and Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Associates • Halpern, D.F and Hakel, M.D. (Eds.), 2002. Applying the Science of Learning to University Teaching and Beyond. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. • Kameenui and Carnine, 1998. Effective Teaching Strategies That Accommodate Diverse Learners. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Publishing • Zull, James (2004). The Art of Changing the Brain. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. • Learning Support Centers in Higher Education • Skip Downing On Course • www.cas.lsu.edu