Educational Psychology: Video Analysis

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Sara Alonso DiezEducational PsychologyFinal examTOUGH TO TEACH: History of the earthVideo:

The video introduces us to a teacher that is clearly involved with his subject and the students learning. He says already in the beginning that one of his main goals is to make students learn something through learning that subject. That is, he wants his students to research, process, measure and apply mathematical concepts more than to remain every detail of the lesson. He uses his lesson as a way that students practice and use strategies to think by themselves and go deep into their critical and abstract thinking.Definitely, he goes beyond making students learn only facts. He could have only give the lesson and focus on the factual knowledge about the earth and its history, but instead he uses that concept as a way in which students can actually think. His educational objectives go further than only remember; he develops a lesson that make students deeply understand the concept, applying it in a different context (kindergarten to 12 grade time line, rope time line in the hallway), evaluating and making them realize about their own learning (how different they do between the first time with the rope time line before the paper time line in class, and the second time with it after the paper time line), and also giving them the opportunity to create their own time line. From Blooms taxonomy perspective, he works in order to promote higher forms of thinking rather than just remembering facts (rote learning). Another really great thing that Ive noticed in his teaching is that he creates a community of learners. His lesson is structured in a way that is the opposite of a competition: almost all of the learning is cooperatively, and students have to talk and interact with each other to come to a conclusion. He encourage this kind of learning always asking them to talk with their partners, to work in pairs and to compare their product with other groups (same point of view of Vygotsky theory about how we learn). I think one of his main goals is that kids learn to learn from each other, help their partners and listen and reflect about others ideas. It is not about performance goals (looking good, getting the answer faster than the rest of the class, saying and doing everything correctly) but about mastery goals (collaborate with peers to enhance learning, interested in really understanding the concepts.). He talks in the video how lucky he is of teaching something as science, something about what students are already interested in. However, that intrinsic motivation could have perfectly faded away if the lesson wouldnt have been enough challenging or motivating for students. So, how he achieves to maintain students attention and motivation? First of all, he bring them to the lesson in two main ways:1. Giving continued opportunities to learn: a. Cooperative learning: The students created the paper time line in pairs and then shared it with other classmates, contrasting their thinking process and explanations. Another example is when the teachers says Do you think that he have to move to the left or the right in the k-12 time line? Guys, turn to your table partner and decide. He gave want them to talk to each other, share their ideas and encourage cooperative thinking. b. Opportunities to participate: Choose where you think you are in the k-12 time line, Point out in what part of the rope do you think the Neolithic was, Raise your hands if you think differently, etc. He makes many questions throughout the explanations and during the activities, not only giving the chance to everyone one to participate but also maintaining students engaged to the explanation. c. Students active role in discovering the answer by themselves using different resources (textbooks, computers). The teacher gives students time to research and discover the answers. Its really interesting how students are so into the lesson that they dont stop when they find the answers to the teachers questions, but go further in their own investigation. For example, when they have to situated events in the rope time line they come up with new events that they discover during their research. d. Different ways to approach the content: He gave the students a 12-pages document about geologic time scale and history of the earth so they could approach the concept before class and have background knowledge about it. By doing this he was able to invest the time of the lesson in the experience and hands-on activities. Students had the chance to approach the content by reading, experiencing, solving problems, in big group, individually, cooperatively, etc. He says: Do the same thing multiple times in different ways; sometimes researching, sometimes outside, sometimes with the textbook. Thats the way they are going to learn.

2. Pressing their thinking:a. Appropriate activities to make students feel challenged and motivated. There is one time that he asks Where would you place the appearance of oxygen? and a student says Thats hard, and he responds saying Yes, its a challenging one! That is just an example of how he stablish the lesson, activities and questions so they fit into the students motivational zone of proximal development. In this example we can actually see how students, feeling appropriately challenged and motivated, run to the part of the rope time line trying to answer to answer the question. Furthermore, he mediates during activities so they are really meaningful and valuable for students. b. Questions that encourage students thinking and promote deeply understanding. What Ive notices about this lesson is that is not mainly the questions what makes students think and reason but the activities themselves. They are planned in a way that make students little by little get a deeply understanding of the concept. For example, referring to the rope time line he says: By setting up a time line like that, where I can have them actively moving back and forward to where they think certainly things happened, () they naturally realized and understand the sequence of events. Thats the reason I wanted to teach that way. Anyway, he also make some high level questions that require more thinking and knowledge connections of students like Why do you think the book focus only on this part of the earth history time line?

He is really involved in making the lesson interesting and fun. He gives great importance to step into the shoes of his students and understand how can he planned the lesson to make it attractive. Although his main resource to achieve this are his activities, during its development he support his students and encourage them, boosting their motivation. For example, he says a couple of times You guys are so good, and when they dont get the right answer, instead of saying wrong or you are not paying enough attention, he says very close! He presents several characteristics of an authoritative teacher, like his tendency of giving students opportunities to participate, encourage situations to think (mainly through activities that imply cooperative learning), and present the content from a valuable perspective, trying to give it a sense. He knows that for many students the big texts in books about earth history are meaningless, so he turns them into real experiences with much more (and deeply) meaning.


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