Vygotsky and Language Language and actions are mediation tools used for learning (Wink & Putney, 2002). Language is a part of our cultural heritage We acquire our language from interactions with others
Vygotsky and Language • Language is a dynamic tool • Teachers should expect active language use in the learning process • Students use language to interact with others • Language use alters student thinking, develops language, and affects actions.
Vygotsky and ZPD • Zone of Proximal Development • Think of “proximal” as “next” • Range • From that which student can do on his/her own to • That which student can achieve with support • The ZONE is the target we aim for!
Scaffolds • Scaffolds are the tools we provide to assist students with the learning process • Provide a temporary support or an initial guide to support learning • “Goldilocks Principle” • Examples: Graphic organizers, concept maps (empty, partial, or complete), step-by-step guides, assignment sheets, pictures, models etc. Other examples?
Constructivist Learning Theory • CLT is a view on HOW learning occurs, not a teaching style • Learning is a process of building knowledge structures based upon experiences which add to or challenge our understanding rather than…..?? • The sensory input of learning – writing, reading, listening, doing – will only have meaning when linked to existing elements of memory: background knowledge
Constructivist Learning Theory • Understanding is the product of the learning process. • The connections students make between new learning and existing knowledge will vary – hence the different understandings that can occur from the same input • Teachers provide a variety of opportunities, multiple and varied, to permit students to build new knowledge and to adjust their understanding
What does CLT in the classroom look like? Examples and Non-Examples This is NOT teaching by a recipe! • Teachers connect new understanding to previous learning/background knowledge, rather than? • Teachers encourage questions that promote linking concepts to personal lives, rather than…..??
CLT in the classroom • Teachers design tasks that promote students problem solving, self monitoring & reflection, self direction, rather than..?? • Teachers utilize flexible instruction, revisiting concepts in different ways, rather than…?? • Assessment matches the teaching practices, rather than…??
“But with all those children talking and interacting, how do I maintain control?” • “It is not the degree of fluidity that determines whether a class remains manageable and whether students engage in learning in an orderly manner, but rather when the teacher has fully thought through his or intentions and design for a given learning task.”Mayer-Smith & Mitchell p. 149
Skills to consider • Increase wait time – allow for silence, reflection, opportunity to form thoughts and use language to express those thoughts – rather than ………. • Delay judgment – permit students opportunities to think out loud and develop understanding – rather than……… • Find ways to reduce perceived risk for students, such as………..
Strategies • Use cooperative learning strategies: • Think-Pair-Share • Numbered Heads • Jigsaw • Carousel brainstorming • Use Think-Aloud to model the metacognitive processes • Organize groups and assign specific responsibilities: Deck of cards