Monday, May 20, 2013

Teaching Boys Who Struggle in School: Pathway 5: Ignite

Teaching Boys Who Struggle in School: Pathway 5: Ignite
“Teaching is an instinctual act, mindful of potential, craving of realizations, a pausing seamless process where one rehearses constantly while acting, sits as a spectator at a play one directs, engages every part in order to keep the choices open and shape alive for the student, so that the student may enter in and begin to do what the teacher has done: make choices” (Giamatti).

Cleveland discusses the misinterpretation and application of the terms “active learning”.  She explains that active learning is often identified as racing or games or hands-on activities that stimulate a boys’ kinesthetic modality.  However, Cleveland feels that active learning should be “ less about physical activity and more about engaging boys as learners, finding new ways to help them become active builders of their understanding and owners of the processes in which they are involved.”  She explains in the following chart how active learning contributes to positive outcomes:

Active Learning Principles
Positive Outcomes
1. Active involvement: helps a struggling boys create connections to the knowledge or skill. Then, the boy is able to apply the learning to a new situation.
Active construction of knowledge
2. Compelling situations:  stimulates a boy’s desire to engage in real world  learning; learning becomes relevant of his time and attention
Added relevance and personal meaning
3. Direct experience:activate the boy’s senses and heighten the quality of his learning thus being able to recall his learning later
Increased attention and memory
4. Enjoyable setting: gives the underachieving boy a chance to interact with others in a safe and secure learning environment
Reduced anxiety
5. Frequent feedback: helps an underachieving boy feel safe while learning new things
Belief in the possibility of success
6. Informal Learning: underachieving boys reactions, observations, and perceptions
7. Patterns and connections:  supports an underachieving boys comprehension and memory: merge prior learning and combine ideas to make sense of new information
Consolidation of learning
8. Reflection: helps build a boy’s self awareness as a learner

Through a boy’s engagement in these 8 areas, he is able to own the outcome of his efforts and this allows for him to become more motivated to continue. As Cleveland states, “What truly makes active learning such a valuable tool is its ability to ignite the whole boy; his mind, his body, his enthusiasm, his curiosity, his love of social interaction, his problem solving capabilities, and his need for real-world experience.”

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