Digital Sandbox

This Blog is designed to provide the reader with information on how to adopt technology into the classroom by relooking at traditional classroom tools and transitioning into new ways of teaching and learning. The Digital Sandbox explores the future of learning through the recreation of 21st Century learning environments.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Checking for Understanding

Checking for understanding is made up of at least three instructional practices that formulate high engaging strategies that support  the formative assessment process. These three instructional practices include, using questioning to check for understanding, providing meaningful feedback, and reinforcing effort  through modeling and reframing of conceptual awareness. Although most would like to credit Marzano's research on the idea of reframing conceptual awareness through meta-cognitive principles in teaching, these ideas are to be credited back to Flavell.

Flavell is one of the pioneers in the study of meta-cognitive principles and in 1976 stated that, "meta-cognition refers to one's knowledge concerning one's own cognitive process and products or anything related to them." This emergence of thought on meta-cognitive principles sought others such as Paris, Lipson, and Wixson to do extensive studies on strategic thinking that lead Schoenfeld in 1985 to establish comprehension checks as an effective teaching practice.

We can only credit Marzano with a flashlight highlighting what was already know from the research, that to improve student learning teachers are to focus on how students think about their thinking processes and on how students feel about themselves as learners. Thus reframing the idea of checking for understanding is inconsequential in Marzano's terms since multiple instructional strategies play a role in the process for checking for student understanding.

What is known about checking for students' understanding of important ideas and concepts helps instructors gauge what students are getting from a lesson and what they need to work on more. Both are important in the meta-cognitive process, knowing what students know and providing intervention at the point when there is a disconnect to conceptualization. This is when providing useful feedback becomes the corner stone for the exactness of knowledge that challenges new ideas to form correctly while leading the learner to extract prior knowledge to conceptualize new learning.

This process of extracting prior knowledge to form new knowledge is based on the idea of constructivism.  To view the learner as a constructor of information is to support  learning in a way that allows them to create their own subjective representation of objective reality. In teaching we can construct this process through a formative assessment process known as checking for understanding, using prior knowledge as a background of inducing reflective thinking.

It is well known factor that when instructors check for understanding they feel more connected to their students' learning and have a better sense of what to expect from their students' in terms of assessment. To fully put into practice the required elements to ensure student understanding there are three main instructional strategies that must exist. These strategies for the enhancement of meta-cognitive principles for the development of critical thinking skills through a reflective process must include, (1) using questioning to check for understanding, (2) providing meaningful feedback, and (3) reinforcing effort  through modeling and reframing of conceptual awareness. It is the intent of this article to reframe these practices to demonstrate how these three simple included interactive practices will bring about student reflective thinking in a meta-cognitive enriched learning environment.

No comments:

Post a Comment