COMPASS learning

23 Jun

Nina’s Note 8/31/2022: I just revised this blog post from years back when I was working on my doctoral studies. The literature review contributed to my dissertation about learner agency.  🙂 These same topics are still very important to use in every level of education – just because we need these ingredients to design great learning experiences for our students.

Having choices is the prerequisite for ownership!

After working for few weeks on a literature review about learning and teaching being disconnected, and how student empowerment improves learning, I just wanted to share the highlights. Here they are in a form of a compass:

COMPASS learning

Choices and open-ended questions are needed for increased student engagement and motivation in learning. Choosing is a skill that can (and should) be taught. It relates very straightforwardly to problem solving skills. If there is just one correct answer, and students should find it, no thinking or choosing is needed, and less learning occurs. Open-ended questions help us to understand better what the student thinks.

  • Feuerstein, R., & Falik, L. H. (2010). Learning to think, thinking to learn: A comparative analysis of three approaches to instruction. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 9(1), 4-20.
  • Goetz, T., Frenzel, A. C., Hall, N. C., & Pekrun, R. (2008). Antecedents of academic emotions: Testing the internal/external frame of reference model for academic enjoyment. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33(1), 9-33

Metacognition needs to be emphasized and taught as a byproduct in every class. How cold anyone be proficient in learning, if they don’t have the information how learning happens best? We teachers sometimes forget that students don’t have all the same information we do.  Students academic self-concept is important for their learning competence, and if you are a university instructor, please remember that it is never too late to help students to find their confidence as learners. Sharing tools how others learn is an important part of any educational event.

  • Alexander, P. A. (2008). Why this and why now? Introduction to the special issue on metacognition, self-regulation, and self-regulated learning. Educational Psychology Review20(4), 369-372.

Pedagogy should be the focus in the classroom, and preferably in the literal meaning of the word “to lead the child”, i.e engaging students in learning facilitation instead of pre-scripted instruction. Students’ learning dispositions and the instructor’s teaching dispositions are equally important in the teaching-learning situation!

  • Shum, S. B., & Crick, R. D. (2012, April). Learning dispositions and transferable competencies: pedagogy, modelling and learning analytics. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (pp. 92-101). ACM.

Student’s accountability -or better yet, responsibility-for their own learning is far superior measure for achievement than externally set teacher goals could ever be.  However, this requires a huge increase in learner agency and explicitly teaching SEL skills. Furthermore, in the Berry & Sahlberg article the external accountability measures seemed to prevent teachers from using effective small group practices. That sounds just downright wrong to me.  Teachers are the learning professionals. They should get to engage in lerning experience design for their students and choose the instructional method that best fits the group of students they are teaching.

  • Berry, J. & Sahlberg, P. 2006. Accountability affects the use of small group learning in school mathematics. Nordic Studies in Mathematics Education, 11(1), 5 – 31.)
  • Bryk, A. S., Sebring, P. B., Allensworth, E., Easton, J. Q., & Luppescu, S. (2010). Organizing schools for improvement: Lessons from Chicago. University of Chicago Press.

Self-regulated learning is essential for academic success. After all, learning IS individual, and the sooner students learn to self-regulate their own learning needs, the more likely they are to become lifelong learners.  The world is changing very fast, and it seems that the pace of change is not going to slow down anytime soon. This presents the dire need for every student to become a proficient lifelong learner, so that they can update their skills and keep up with the pace of the  progress.

  • Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2006). Knowledge building: Theory, pedagogy, and technology. The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences, 97-115.
  • Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Attaining self-regulation: a social cognitive perspective. Handbook of self-regulation, 13-39.

Safety should be a given attribute in every school. In addition to ensuring the physical safety, the learning environment MUST be emotionally safe for students to engage in higher level thinking (check Maslow if you don’t want to take just my word for it). Students spend a lot of their time in school and classroom. If we want to have well-adjusted and balanced citizenry in the future, then the learning environment should contribute towards that goal.

  • Willms, J. D., Friesen, S., & Milton, P. (2009). What did you do in school today. Transforming classrooms through social, academic, and intellectual engagement.

Please try some COMPASS learning this school year! It always makes a difference for students and teachers both!

🙂

Nina

3 Responses to “COMPASS learning”

  1. 4c3d June 27, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    A nice summary Nina and the COMPASS is a very relevant symbol in navigating your own learning being used to seek a direction and find your way around in an unknown landscape. I believe that developing self -regulation is an element of the teaching/learning environment hat gets sacrificed on the alter of achievement and assessment. I know you know of my work on Learning Intelligence and I see this as a valuable asset in developing this self regulation. I am also pleased that you highlighted in your second “S” the concept of safety, not only as you say the physical but also the emotional. When working with disengaged learners I often find it is the scars on their learning landscape caused by damaging emotional learning experiences that are the hardest to overcome.

    • Nina June 27, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

      Thanks, Kevin!
      I am glad you liked it! Learning landscape is a very nice expression to describe the subjective context (perceived by the student) of any learning situation. Thanks for sharing!
      🙂
      Nina

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  1. COMPASS learning | High Performance Learning | ... - July 1, 2014

    […] After working for few weeks on a literature review about learning and teaching being disconnected, and how student empowerment improves learning, I just wanted to share the highlights. Here they ar…  […]

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