Essential Question: How do I learn best?


Background

Reflection has always been is a powerful tool used to develop as a learner and individual. Today there are so many different ways in which an individual can acquire knowledge, communicate and learn about the world. Understanding yourself and which learning environments and information streams work best for you are important components of successful navigation in this information and learning landscape. Central to this is “learning how to learn” and developing in individuals an awareness of how they learn best and the different tool that are available to them for different informational situations. Growing an understanding about of the various learning strategies they employ and the types of resources they access in order to meet their information and learning needs are crucial elements to growing as learner today.

A new level of reflection is needed of today's students. Students not only need to know where information and guidance can be accessed but they also need to have the reflective ability to ask themselves "How would someone else organize the information I am looking for?" and "How would someones else describe the information I am looking for?". Having an awareness of the different learning styles and strategies that are found among different learners is an important first step to asking different types of questions and approaching a problem from several different perspectives. The "world wide web" is moving in a semantic direction where tags and meta-data will be the key to successful search and navigation of information. Preparation for this future will involve work on critical thinking skills and the ability to describe the terms of search and the questions we have in many different ways. This is an exciting time for the information landscape but never has meta-cognition and critical thinking been more important.

At the elementary school level this can happen organically through classroom conversation and guided reflection. To form solid learning habit students must be asked to think about their own work and thinking processes. Like so many important skills It is only through practice that students can deepen their thinking skills. In middle and high school students can be given self assessments as integrated parts of assignments and projects. By embedding this reflection into the assignment and assessment process we can encourage students to be accountable for their thinking and hopefully become more reflective in the process.

Helping students develop a wide variety range of strategies, positive learning attitudes and effective habits of mind is the shared responsibility of teachers, and is at the core of all curriculum development and delivery.

How I learn best?
  • How do I know?
  • How do I communicate and organize my understanding?

How do I help myself?
  • Where and whom to do I turn when I need help?
  • What is the right question to ask in order to find the right answer?
  • How does the type of problem guide my approach to the solution?
  • How does the language I use in my question affect the answer I come to?

How do I improve myself?
  • When and why do I reflect?

Enduring Understandings


  • Answers to questions, guidance and support can be found in many forms, mediums and connections
  • Reflection is a powerful and self improvement learning tool
  • Multiple intelligences exist in a community of learners
  • Each learner has set of optimal learning conditions and strategies

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Learning in practice:


Thinking and reflection takes time. If we value it and the research that suggests it is fundamental to growing as learner then we must allow for it and build it into our lessons, assignments and assessments. Reflection in its many forms does not have to become a chore to students if we make it a habit and part of the process of learning. Building in time to answer questions that encourage looking at work from different perspectives and then sharing that thinking with others allows students to develop a series of strategies they can call on to improve on what they are creating.

When it comes to learning with technology "learning how to learn" and "knowing where to find help" is crucial to success.