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Students Learning a New Topic And You Are Trying Out Formative Assessment

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Education has been a forefront and priority of virtually all countries around the globe. However, there are varying techniques which are applied in the learning process, typically referred to education systems, which may vary from one geographical region to another. Despite the varying systems in use, they all share a common goal which is dissemination of practical knowledge to all its learners in a manner that is effective and comprehensive. This essay discusses various approaches to learning in a high school class set up, where a new topic is being introduced by the instructor. Thereafter, a formative assessment is to be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the learning strategy applied.

This term paper covers a mixed boys and girls high school with an age bracket of 14-18 years. This is a particularly important selection as these students will be joining colleges on completion of their studies. Notable, the cases of students taking courses in college that they are not passionate about or derive keen interests in is alarming On the other hand, some become trapped on the borderline cases where, they do not really qualify for college, due to poor performance as a result of the methodology of teaching or learning applied in these institutions. This factor may be attributable to the manner in which learning activities were conducted as well as the varied effectiveness of the strategies used by the tutors. Thus, the chosen scenario/learning episode for the purpose of this paper. This makes a health justification for the premise upon which this set up is constituted, in attempts to make practical difference and facilitate wholesome and intellectual horning through proper learning by these students. Instructional Design Approaches, their Effectiveness, and Suitability to this EpisodeLearning in some quarters is defined in terms of ability to endure a change as a consequence of the knowledge impacted in through various experiences and practice activities. However, various approaches have been in place since the advent of learning centuries ago.

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The challenges in learning are not entirely new, as they also presented themselves in past. For instance, learning was either by empirical or rational strategies in those early days. In the empirical means, learning was primarily by experience while engaging the senses, forming the basis of behaviorism instructional design. On the other hand, in rational learning knowledge was a prerequisite of encoding and assimilating new knowledge and recalling past information accurately. In addition, much emphasis surrounded mental functions and abilities. Behaviorism, learning is accomplished when an appropriate response is issued by the learner, a correct response to a trigger stimulus denoting understanding. On correct response, reinforcement was awarded to facilitate future recurrence. For instance, good grades gifting the top students in recognition of their performances. In the scenario, the learner is reactive in giving stimulated responses rather than taking time to internalize and discover his environment; thus, learning is by being taught, a cultural stiffness of the system where more stress that is put on teaching rather than learning.

Further, the role of the learner is to take in the information primarily given by the tutor. Interestingly, on poor performance/ learning deficit, the student is blamed, yet it could also denote the ineffectiveness of the teaching methodology, in terms of teacher’s communication clarity or lesson planning. This learning technique is only suitable for subjects where remembrance of facts or performing a specified procedure, say in theory dominated subjects, consequently using this technique in application subject like science would not suffice. Incorporating cognitive learning, where not only the correctness of learner response is an indicator of transfer of knowledge, but also the learning process from planning, goal setting, receipt, storage and retrieval of the information disseminated. This strategy stimulates the learner’s high cognitive domains, facilitating sharpening of mental processes and propagating a problem-solving approach that incorporates critical thinking. Transfer of knowledge is deemed successful when the learner can apply concepts in varying situation and contexts and making consistent adjustments appropriately. This learning approach, learning is individualsense-making (LIS) and the learner participation is highly encouraged in the knowledge acquisition process, creating a learner-centered optimal environment. This approach would suffice and appropriately fit into the high-school episode in effectively covering of the syllabus. By using a learner-centered technique, while encouraging collaborative efforts amongst the students by being a proponent for group works and discussions, increase success rate. Traditionally, these are habits that most teachers in the “learning is being taught” strategy would stave from and disapprove of, terming it as a waste of useful time.

On the contrary, knowledge amongst this group is best learnt during interactive and social activities. Hence, “Learning is building knowledge as part of doing things with others” It is during such collaborative and cooperating efforts amongst this group of high school learners. An appropriate mix of these two aspects of learning in conjunction with constructivism, results in wholesome development of a knowledgeable individual. Consequently, this would be reflected in individual and collective performance in assessment and reviews. This would be best practice in the cognitive-constructive pedagogy. A teaching agenda that incorporates interactive learning from what is familiar to the students, to the unknown in introduction of a new topic, would fit the group. This enhances learner understanding as they are drawn into new and developed concepts from a point of familiarity (scaffolding), forming an easy transition into the new topic. Further, instructor application of cognitive apprenticeship which includes: modeling, coaching, articulation and reflection to make teacher and student objectives congruent to their joint efforts, hence success in learning. Formative Assessment during the Learning ProcessAfter the introduction of a new topic in a given subject, it is essential for a good pedagogue to consistently look for ways to assess understanding.

This can be through the use of one minute writing prompt that defines a scenario which would require application of fundamental lessons learnt during class time. Further, interactive take away assignments and task that would require joint collaborative efforts amongst the class members, to facilitate discussions for better comprehension. In addition, debriefing would be an effective way to reflect upon newly learnt concepts. The traditional short (multiple choice questions) as an assessment could be carried out by the learners, where they swap their answer sheets amongst themselves and are allowed to mark for each other. This interactive session enable the students to learn each other’s weaknesses and strengths in the subject, while simultaneously revising what was learnt fostering better understanding. Besides, taking in questions from students who would require clarification on a concept already taught facilitates rectification of misconceptions. Critiques of the Chosen Assessment and Learning PracticesImplementation of constructivism pedagogue comes with its challenges. These problems may probably stem from a tutor who finds it difficult to adjust to the balance of power suggested by the practice. Further, it requires significant effort and time commitment by the teacher than the traditional “learning is by teaching” perspective to learning.

Moreover, for successful execution, requires a paradigm shift and varying attitudes by both the students and teachers towards this new technique would flaw the learning process. Inasmuch as the objective of constructivism is independent thinking and assimilation of knowledge, in practice, the individual student’s meaning and truths are subject to societal influence. Further this learning methodology, commonly referred as best practice, treats the students as experts in matters to present their findings which may be grossly misapplied. This is because in actual facts, the learners are the novice, only with a limited scope of experience on the subject run into challenges as they don’t have the full information on the complexities of the subject matter, impeding learning. ConclusionThe benefits of constructivism learning far-outweigh the downside of it and successful execution in the class room would yield better performance, leading to the achievement of the student’s learning goals.


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