As we have moved further into this course we have been introduced to Perkins’ 7 principles of learning. In unit’s 4 and 5 we also addressed emotions and motivation being factors in learning, as well as assessment, attention, memory, and transfer of learning. I have certainly been able to reflect on my own learning and teaching experiences, and I feel excited about applying this information to the knowledge and skills I deliver in my own programs.
Perkins’ uses the baseball analogy through seven chapters that present each of his seven principles: Play the Whole Game (teaching holistically); Make the Game Worth Playing (motivation); Work on the Hard Parts (practice, practice, practice); Play Out of Town (show that knowledge transfers); Uncover the Hidden Game (explore the underpinning structure of a subject); Learn from the Team (learning as a social rather than individual activity); Learn the Game of Learning (growing lifelong-learners).
The first chapters of Perkins’ book focused on “playing the whole game” and “making the game worth playing” (Perkins, 2009). The idea of playing the whole game to me means teaching the sport, activity or subject holistically. Making the game worth playing means really making the student understand why it makes sense to play, why is it worth even pursuing. When a student knows the end game or reason for playing they may be more motivated to play. Teachers are motivated to teach when the students are engaged and invested emotionally.
I have learned an incredible amount of information in these past two units, but the three insights that stand out the most for me are:
1)The impact of emotion on a person’s motivation to learn. It has been shown through psychological research that there are definitely similarities between human cognition and the we way we process our emotions (Demetriou & Wilson, 2008). I absolutely loved the article “A return to the use of emotion and reflection” by Demetriou & Wilson (2008), which pointed out right away that “from early on our emotional development is inextricably intertwined with our acquisition of knowledge (para. 2).” It is so clear to me that when a teacher can connect emotionally to a student in their class the student will perform at a higher level…that might mean better grades, or it might mean being more motivated or “working on the hard parts” (Perkins, 2009), a little more!
2) Realizing that it is very difficult for people to actually multi-task. In fact, only 2% of the population are really effective multi-taskers. It is extremely difficult to do two activities or more at the same time well. Often you are diverting attention from one part of your brain to the other. That takes time, that takes resources, that takes brain cells. What happens on the other side of the brain is that you’re starting a brand new activity, so in fact you’re probably slowerand not nearly as good at doing both activities at the same time (Gupta, S. 2015). This made me reconsider how I present information and how I might better break down the “hard parts” for children in my program.
3)The power of strategic instruction. Perkins integrates a number of traditional educational principles into his model (i.e., teaching for understanding, intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, expectations). Teaching strategies that would be support the “hard parts” vary depending on the child(ren) and situation, but we learned about several strategies that I think will be quite effective in my program.
In conclusion, I feel the information in the past two units and “The Game” has some very concrete implications to my own setting and teaching strategies. I emphasis with my staff the importance of making connections and how it can build a rapport with children. Staff making a real connection so that children feel safe, heard, and valued, translates into less behavior issues for one, but more importantly staff can engage the student more effectively in a variety of ways. Emotions create motivation in students, if you are a teacher who is passionate about their students and their real emotions, and not just the subject or program you are teaching you can have a really positive impact of young lives. Embracing the 7 principles of learning can only make me a better teacher, mentor and trainer. I do believe that teaching to play the whole game, working on the hard parts by breaking them down and re-integrating them, and being able to teach in a way that helps kids transfer their knowledge to the real world will definitely create a better learning environment in for children in my program.
Take a look at this humorous video about multitasking below:
Demetriou, H. & Wilson, E. (2008). A return to the use of emotion and reflections. Retrieved from https://post.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/courses/EDU510.301202035948/Documents/A%20Return%20to%20the%20Use%20of%20Emotion%20and%20Reflection.pdf
Gupta, S. 2015. CNN. Your brain on multitasking. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/09/health/your-brain-multitasking/index.html
Perkins, D.N. (2009). Making learning whole: How seven principles of teaching can transform education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.