Senin, 30 Oktober 2017

The importance of autonomous learning

The importance of autonomous learning.  -- Autonomous learning has been emphasized by educators and theorists since the early 1970s.  The role of autonomous learning in higher education also plays an increasingly important role in the educational reforms currently taking place around the globe. According to Della Fazey and John Fazey  (2001),  “The  capacity  to  think,  learn  and  behave  autonomously  is  often  claimed  as  an outcome for students in higher education” (Crome, et al., 2009, p. 111).

In A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Enhancing Academic Practice, Fry, et al. (2003) state that the autonomy (of student learning) that “commonly refers to students taking more responsibility for and control of themselves and their learning, including being less spoon-fed.  [It] may also include elements of students taking more responsibility for determining and directing the content of their learning” (p. 433). As Fry, et al. stated, “If the learner is to take increasing  responsibility  for  progress  and  the  teacher  aims  to  facilitate,  not  control …  then autonomous  learning  becomes  crucial”  (p.  331).  Here,  they  explain  the  relationship  between teachers  and  students  in  the  learning  process.  The  teacher’s  role  becomes  slightly  changed; teaching and learning should not always be controlled by the teacher, but should guide and help students to learn by themselves. That might lead to a more effective and deeper understanding of learning.

Keith Crome, Ruth  Farrar,  and  Patrick O'Connor  (2009)  defined  autonomous  learning  as,  “A habit of mind, expressed through a range of activities and skills, acquired and developed through practice … From this perspective, autonomous  learning becomes the habitual exercise of skills, developed  and  perfected  through  continuous  practice,  which  comes  to  be  second  nature”  (p. 121). Once students own this kind of thinking, they will have the ability to learn by themselves; this ability will become second nature, not to mention a good habit. Students will become more motivated to  think and work  independently. Moreover,  they will know what  they need and will engender their independent thoughts, as well; more focus will be on one’s own learning. 

This  investigation  argues  for  the  importance  of  autonomous  learning  being  increasingly promoted,  especially  for  the  21st  century  learners  who  need  to  have  this  ability  to  reach  the standard of  the changing world. We all hope  that students can  take more  responsibility  in  their own learning for the sake of making teaching and learning more effective.

Source :
Exploring autonomous learning strategies within contemporary dance technique class at
the South China Normal University
Yan Liu 
South China Normal University 

Selasa, 24 Oktober 2017

Forensic Participation as a Contributor to Students' Critical Thinking Skills at the College Level in China: A Multiple Case Study

Forensic Participation as a Contributor to Students' Critical Thinking Skills at the College Level in China: A Multiple Case Study. -- A popular co-curricular activity, forensic participation is considered as an effective educational tool in sharping students’ logic thinking abilities (Allen & Berkowitz, 1999; Bellon, 2000; Lieberman, Trumble & Smith, 2000). However, in China, compared with the growing enthusiasm in debate among the Chinese students, research in this field is relatively thin. Therefore, in order to gainan in-depth understanding of how forensic participation influence students’ critical thinking abilities, I conducted this multiple case study which was grounded in the Paul-Elder Model of Critical Thinking. 

My respondents are three national or regional champions from a well-known forensic team in Eastern China. My major data collection include three one-on-one interviews with the respondents, some secondary interviews with their coach and teachers, observations on their debate training, and some online data such as the official blog of the team, my e-mail correspondence with the students and information culled from their personal social networking sites. 

My two research questions are “How does college students’ thinking change as a result of participating in forensics?” and “What features of forensic participation support students’ development of critical thinking?” In terms of research question one, I have found that first, as a result of forensic participation, my respondents’ questioning, critical reading, analyzing and evaluating skills have improved. Second, they developed some intellectual traits that are indispensable to their critical thinking abilities. Third, forensic participation has to some extent helped them to get rid of ego-centric and socio-centric thinking, which paved the way for them to become an accomplished and responsible thinker. 

As to research question two, I found that both the educational and epistemic features support students’ development of critical thinking. I also found out motivation plays such an important role in students’ critical thinking development that it could be added into the framework of Paul’s Model of critical thinking. My recommendations include improving the instruction methods in debate courses and enhance both the quantity and quality of the intercollegiate and national competitions. 

Source : Hu, Yanan. University of the Pacific, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 3737511. 

Examining the Relationship among State College Mathematics Instructors' Demographics, Perceptions and Practices Concerning Procedural Fluency and Conceptual Understanding, and Epistemic Beliefs with Respect to Student Achievement

Examining the Relationship among State College Mathematics Instructors' Demographics, Perceptions and Practices Concerning Procedural Fluency and Conceptual Understanding, and Epistemic Beliefs with Respect to Student Achievement. -- This study examined the relationship among three research factors with respect to student achievement:  instructors’ demographics, perceptions and practices concerning procedural  fluency and conceptual understanding, and epistemic beliefs of how students learn mathematics and the nature of mathematics.

The study was a replication of Sicignano (2011) and focused on MATV 0028, a developmental mathematic course commonly taught at state colleges, which confer 2- and 4-year degrees. The study was grounded in attribution, expectancy, and cognitive dissonance theories.

The study’s findings were based on responses from  19 instructors who taught MATV 0028 during the fall 2012, spring 2013, and fall 2013 semesters. Instructors responded to a 31-item online researcher-developed questionnaire and provided students’  final examination scores (N = 528). Cronbach’s alphas for the questionnaire sections were a =  .71  and  .75, respectively, and  .825  for the 46-item, dichotomously scored final examination.

The study’s hypotheses were tested using path analysis. Three paths had a significant direct effect on student achievement: years teaching mathematics overall, Bu = -0.14,p = .0002; years teaching mathematics at the state college, B12 = 0.23, p  = .0010; and whether an instructor took an educational course, B13  = 2.51, p  =  .0106. Results were confirmed by a multiple regression analysis, which yielded an overall significant model, R2  =  .044, F(6, 520) = 4.01, p  < .001.

Overall findings were consistent with Sicignano (2011) and suggest instructors’  epistemic beliefs do not guide practices, instructors are unable to distinguish between procedural fluency and conceptual understanding, and instructor demographics are essential  to student achievement. Recommendations for practice include: developmental mathematics instructors are encouraged to enroll in graduate-level education courses, and colleges should develop an in-house teaching culture for instructors, provide them with inservice workshops that address the distinction between procedural fluency and conceptual understanding, and create procedural and conceptual assessment items in mathematics that reflect the upper levels of Bloom’s (1956) taxonomy.

Source : Schiff, Rahna. Florida Institute of Technology, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2015. 3662780. 

Conceptual Understanding of Science Through Archaeological Inquiry

Conceptual understanding of science through archaeological inquiry - Abstract. Since the launch of Project 2061 in 1985, an effort to improve science education, educators have searched for engaging ways to teach science inquiry in the classroom.  While archaeology is inherently interesting, it is an underused vehicle for teaching to national standards, especially science inquiry, in pre-collegiate education.  This case study examined students’ conceptual understanding of five science inquiry concepts (observation, inference, classification, context, and evidence) and the Nature of Science (NOS), the differences between science and history, and the similarities in science inquiry and historical inquiry through the study of archaeology.   
This qualitative case study included 27 subjects, all fifth grade students who were studying American history through archaeological inquiry.  Data was collected through a series of learning assessment probes and a performance task designed specifically for this study.  Interviews, observation of the performance task, and examination of classroom work completed data collection. With only minor exceptions, students were conversant in all five of the inquiry concepts, however, their understanding of each concept was highly individual. In many cases, students retained so me misconceptions, misunders tandings, or incomplete understandings of the concepts.  Identification of the cognitive processes underlying student understanding helped trace the origin  of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and incomplete understandings.  All of the students demonstrated some understanding of the Nature of Science and the relationships between science, history, and archaeology.  

The study has implications for learning, for curriculum development, and for teaching and teacher preparation.  Students can easily retain misconceptions throughout a course of study or can fail to reach complete conceptual understanding.  Identification of misconceptions and their source can provide teachers with a clear starting point to dispel misconceptions and to create deeper and more accurate conceptual understanding of science processes.  Results can be used immediately to improve the curriculum used in this study and to design better science inquiry curricula.  

Future research could be designed to confirm the results of this study and to expand the sample to a larger and more diverse group of subjects

Moe, Jeanne Marie. Montana State University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2011. 3454521.