Webinar Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Webinar Time: 2pm-3pm (Eastern), 11am-12pm (Pacific)
It is generally accepted that students do not come to us as “blank slates,” or enter our classrooms ready to engage in active learning practices and attack complex problems. Their responses to particular learning approaches and challenges are influenced by how they define the nature and source of knowledge. How young adults conceive of the nature of knowledge (their epistemology) is not fixed, but develops from simpler concepts like dualistic (yes/no) thinking to contextual thinking.
We can improve student learning by identifying where students are located within this developmental framework, and using our understanding to design appropriate experiences. Importantly, SENCERized course goals, which aim to engage students in active learning and real-world problem solving, often align with techniques that have been demonstrated to support the development of complex ideas about the nature of knowledge. The key to effective teaching is to be able to “diagnose” our students, to identify “where” they are on the developmental spectrum, and to adjust our instructional practices to meet their cognitive needs.
During this webinar, Linden Higgins (Consultant, Education for Critical Thinking) will explore the intersection of theories of student cognitive development, the behaviors of learning, and SENCER ideals. Along the way, she will provide some reflective prompts to help you link the material presented with your own classrooms and experiences. We will talk about choosing appropriate activities for students who are inexperienced with the responsibilities of “active learning,” the importance of appropriate supporting activities for successful learning, and how we can select SENCER approaches to help students who enter our classrooms unprepared for the responsibilities of complex self-regulated learning.
When we finish, you will:
- Have a roadmap of three models of cognitive developmental trajectories in US adults and the intersection of these stages with behaviors of learning;
- Receive an outline of the learning situations that can support developmental transitions; and
- See how SENCER ideals can be used to increase student engagement with tasks that promote development of complex epistemology.
About Linden Higgins
After nearly three decades as an adjunct faculty member and researcher in evolutionary and population ecology overseas and in the US, Linden set off on her own as a STEM educational consultant. In addition to mentoring undergraduate research, her teaching responsibilities were largely non-majors courses for science-fearful students, in institutions ranging from open-admission colleges to R1 research universities. Linden’s passion for teaching focuses on getting learners to think and make their own meaning, rather than repeat factual content they find elsewhere. A firm believer in structuring classes to create safe environments for intellectual exploration and risk-taking, she enjoys working with others to help them find their own path to understanding. Linden’s interest in learner development led her to return to the classroom as a student of education, with a focus on curriculum and professional development. These experiences revealed that collegiate faculty spend far too much time and effort “reinventing the wheels” of pedagogy: in the rich experience of the past 120 years of US public education are myriads of useful approaches, many documented to improve student learning. Linden’s goal as an educational consultant is to connect instructors with ideas and techniques that they can use to increase the impact of their courses on students enrolled.