The mental representations of logic, rules, and concepts are very relevant and important to my own educational setting. As an education coordinator, I consistently work with teaching staff to ensure developmentally appropriate practices are implemented to help students learn to the best of their ability. I believe it is important for teachers to recognize the impact they can have on a student’s overall academic development. Teachers can reinforce to students to use logic, create rules, and apply new concepts to what is being taught in the classroom. When educators teach new information, the students need to use logic to think about what they are learning and make sense of the information. When a student uses logic, he/she uses reasoning to formulate new beliefs based on the newly learned information. Then, the student creates rules regarding the information based on what he/she has learned. The rules establish what will occur in situations and by using logic a student can make inferences on what will happen based on a specific rule. After a student has used logic and rules regarding a specific topic, he/she can create a concept based on what they know. A student can decide based on his/her logic and rules how the information fits into their own thinking and how to categorize it to use in the future. A student’s use of logic, rules, and concepts can be observed consistently in a classroom because students are always learning new information, making sense of the information, formulating their own ideas based on what they are learning and their previous knowledge and beliefs, and creating their own mental representations of the material to later use in the future. Teachers need to be cognizant of the cycle of how students learn and process new information and connect it to their previous knowledge. It is essential that teachers motivate students to be reflective in their thinking and challenge students to think about what he/she has learned, ask students to make inferences based on specific rules regarding the information, and create concepts to help categorize the information to assist students in recognizing where they may use the information in the future.
As an education coordinator, I ensure that educators are encouraging students to use higher level thinking skills. A technique teachers can use to increase a student’s ability to think critically is to provide many opportunities for students to solve problems. “Creative problem-solving strategies [are] defined as techniques that offer multiple ways and angles of considering a problem from which an optimal solution may be selected” (Bryant, 2010, p.43). When a student is provided with a problem, he/she needs to use logic to think about what he/she has learned to recognize how to solve the problem. The student also needs hypothesize how to solve the specific problem by choosing a learned rule. The student needs to make inferences based on the rule to think about what will happen when applying the rule. In addition, a student needs to use concepts to categorize the information from the problem and use the outcome that resulted from applying specific strategies to solve the problem to determine if the strategies would be successful again in the future. When students are involved in critical thinking and using higher level thinking skills, teachers should consistently offer many activities for students to reflect on their own learning and collaborate with fellow classmates to increase understanding of the newly learned information. Also, it is important for teachers to recognize that the process of using higher level thinking and problem solving skills will progress over time. A student in preschool will have a much more simplistic ability in using critical thinking skills as compared to a student in middle school or high school. A student will progress at a much faster rate when he/she is offered consistent opportunities to apply higher level thinking skills to what he/she is learning in the classroom.
In my educational setting, I recognize how important it is for teachers to stay current with computer technology to ensure that it is being used to help assist students in their learning. Computers have the capability to provide information on new topics of study as well as strategies to use to solve problems they are presented with. For example, a computer uses “coding, storage, [and] retrieval” (Yao, 2004, p. 2). When an educator teaches a new topic, he/she can encourage students to use the internet to find more information about the topic and make inferences, which relates to logic. A student can formulate rules based on the knowledge learned from the computer as well as research views of others on the specific topic to help formulate a belief. In addition, a computer program/software can help a student organize his/her thoughts by providing different ways of showcasing learned information, which can be a solution and/or method to a student who is given an open ended assignment to present what he/she has learned about a specific topic. Education has become more focused on child centered activities and computers are providing students with many methods of learning more about a subject and showcasing the information they are gaining with others around the world.
I encourage educators to read “A 21st-Century Art Room: The Remix of Creativity and Technology” by Courtney Bryant because it is a fantastic article that explains how an art teacher, Courtney Bryant, used technology to enhance the students’ learning in her classroom. The teacher believed the students should be given opportunities to express their creativity and thoughts. Bryant motivated students by providing them with the task of creating their own short film on any topic they wished. Bryant (2010) created and implemented five problem solving strategies during the film making process, which were to “use open-ended assignments, [during the] pre-production: mind-mapping, brainstorming, [and] storyboarding, inclusion of symbolism or metaphor, peer conversations, [and] critique” (p. 45-46). By using these five problem solving strategies, it created more child centered activities where students reflected on their work and became more independent in accomplishing their creative goals. The “students’ [used] creative problem-solving strategies, defined as techniques that offer multiple ways and angles of considering a problem from which an optimal solution may be selected” (Bryant, 2010, p. 43). In addition, the strategies also helped students attain higher level thinking skills because they were being challenged to become more creative, reflect on their work, and collaborate with fellow students regarding their film. This concept relates to Piaget’s statement asking, “Are we forming children who are only capable of learning what is already known? Or should we try to develop creative and innovative minds capable of discovery…” (Tran, 2012). I believe it is very important for teachers to consistently implement strategies into activities that will challenge and motivate students to use their analysis and reasoning skills as well as reflect on how the topics they are learning about connect to their own life. Technology can truly benefit students’ learning by motivating them to achieve their goals.
Analogies and images are two important tools for educators to use while teaching students in the classroom. Analogies “are important in problem solving and reasoning. They help a person visualize problems and find ways to solve them…Once an analogy is formed it presents a new idea of what we knew before” (Ash, n.d., Slide 2). Therefore, when an educator uses analogies it helps students to connect to their previous knowledge and build upon previous concepts. Also, “visual and other images play a significant role in human thinking…[because] mental imagery is useful in problem solving” (Ash, n.d., Slide 4). When educators are instructing students, the use of analogies and visual imagery can help students better understand the newly learned concepts. These tools also relate to teachers meeting the learning needs of the students in the classroom. Using analogies can help students who are auditory learners by listening to discussions of how the information builds upon their previous knowledge. Also, using visual imagery can help students who are visual learners by providing images for students to reflect on to help learn new concepts. I believe it is also important for educators to provide hands on learning opportunities to reach those students who are kinesthetic learners. In addition, students have brain processes and neural synapses that also influence the way students learn. A student’s “brain [uses] energy to produce thoughts or actions…[and] can be changed to execute new tasks or process information” (Ash, n.d., Slide 6). Each student in a classroom may have their own preference regarding the way he/she learns and it is imperative that teachers recognize this, plan for a variety of differentiated instruction to meet the needs of students, and observe and reflect on the progress students are making to influence how future activities are created to ensure each student’s learning needs are met and teachers are helping each child progress to the best of their ability through challenging and motivating activities.
Ash, D. (n.d.). Edu 510 the cognitive science of teaching and learning, unit 2 logic, rules, and concepts [Presentation slides]. Retrieved from http://www.postid.net/edu/edu510/unit2/index.htm
Bryant, C. (2010). A 21st century art room: The remix of creativity and technology. Art Education, 63(2), 43-48. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=e9f5fbd8-5470-48bc-b8c8-a7fe41244369%40sessionmgr11&vid=11&hid=2
Tran, V.K. (2012, January 9). Piaget’s developmental theory: An overview, part 1 . Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_EkfWS2Wks&feature=youtu.be
Yao, Y. (August, 2004). Concept formation and learning: A cognitive informatics perspective. Cognitive Informatics, 42-51. Retrieved from http://www2.cs.uregina.ca/~yyao/PAPERS/concept_formation.pdf
The following is a video showcasing the many ways students learn and the techniques teachers can use to meet the learning needs for all students.