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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
provide an opportunity for beginning teachers to experiment with the principles of learning that are relevant to teaching practice. The goal is not to decontextualize teaching, but to create an environment in which the immediate demands of the classroom do not prevent reflection on, or exploration of, the process of learning. Exercises could be developed for laboratory use that involve cognitive science findings of relevance to teaching, including findings on memory, the organization of information, the use of metacognitive strategies, and retrieval of knowledge when transfer is prompted and when it is not. In addition to creating a deeper appreciation of the science of learning, these opportunities would invite teachers to think of themselves as scientists, to observe and reflect on learning as a scientist would. To the extent that those skills transfer to the classroom, the goal of continuous learning and reflection on practice will be well served.
The laboratories would also serve as a locus of information for teachers in training, for practicing teachers in the community, and for researchers in the learning sciences. “Protocol materials,” or materials for diagnosis and interpretation, could be housed here. These might include model lessons or units (project area 4) that could be incorporated into the teaching of diagnostic and interpretive competencies. They might also include protocols of student creativity in scientific thinking, insight, reasoning like a novice versus an expert in a task, failure to transfer, negative transfer, distributed cognition, using parental stores of knowledge in a class, concrete and operational thinking, and inferring causation. These protocols, then, provide vivid cases and examples that instantiate concepts relevant to teaching and learning. Videotaped lessons of teaching in other countries produced by the Third International Mathematics and Science Study project might also be made available. Faculty-directed course projects could develop evaluations of curricula in terms of the principles of learning and submit them to the interactive communications site described above (project area 8) for broad use.
Technology centers could be housed in the laboratory as well. Computer programs to support classroom learning and technology-based curricula could be made available for exploration in this setting. Opportunities to connect with relevant communities of teachers and researchers via the Internet could also be explored. Students graduating from these programs will then carry to the schools in which they teach an ability to be connected to outside communities with relevant knowledge that is not now a feature in many school districts.
Well-equipped laboratories would be an asset in professional development activities as well as in pre-service training. As such, the laboratories could be used on a year-round basis.
16. Develop tools for in-service education that communicate the principles of learning in this volume. For the principles of learning to