(203) 453-5067 Laura@HandleEducation.com

Get a “Handle” on Learning with Active Reading.

    Reading comprehension is essential for academic and professional success. Reading can be  as relaxing or stimulating as the subject the reader chooses.  However, in order to study effectively, a reader must employ certain strategies.  This process of becoming immersed in reading material in order to fully comprehend and absorb the information is called “active reading.”  Learners benefit from reading with a purpose; active reading engages mindfulness and provides the strategies that identify the intention. Once a learner internalizes the process, it can yield significant rewards. According to an article in Edutopia, “Adults forget all that they do while reading. We are predicting, making connections, contextualizing, critiquing, and already plotting how we might use any new insights or information. . . .teachers need to train students in each of these skills, and begin to do so early on.”  Teachers can incorporate these strategies in the classroom to equip their students with effective learning techniques. The emphasis here is on the “active” portion of the process. Writing assists learning, so prefer marks like brackets or symbols or words on the material rather than simple highlighting. Steps in the Active Reading Process- 1) Pose questions that will aid learning. When finding the answers in the text, mark them with words or symbols. Questions: Why am I reading this? What do I already know about this topic? What am I trying to learn? What does this mean? Why is this important? How and why questions are particularly helpful, as they require more detailed explanations. 2) Pay particular attention to the beginning and end of the pages. 3) Paraphrase the material in short sentences.… Read More »

Motivation: paving a path to success

Motivation, or “the state or condition of having a strong reason to act or accomplish something” has enabled mankind to accomplish wondrous feats, from harnessing the power of fire to exploring the wonders of the universe. But what are the underlying mechanisms of motivation?  What are the hallmarks of intrinsic motivation, and can educators impart conceptual abilities that will provide learners with the motivation to succeed in a course, in an academic career, and in life? First, let’s distinguish extrinsic from intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation deals with motivations that are outside of (a person’s) passions and personal self-esteem.  The “if-then rewards”  that define extrinsic motivation appear to have severe limitations.  Extrinsic motivation appears to operate under conditions that center upon mechanical skills.  When cognitive skills are the goal, extrinsic motivators hinder the outcome. Numerous studies have demonstrated that externally incentivizing students for academic achievement doesn’t work. “There are two main types of incentives: economic, and social or moral. The fine and the stipend backfired because they substituted an economic incentive for a moral incentive.” In short, throwing money at a problem is short-sighted and ineffective in education. On the other hand, the more effective method to engender success in an endeavor involves intrinsic motivation, which is internal. It involves joy in work and  learning.  It is an internal rather than external force. In fact,  according to a study funded by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, once a task called for “even rudimentary cognitive skill, a large reward led to poorer performance.” So then, how can teachers help students develop intrinsic motivation?  Incorporating the following three components, autonomy, mastery, and purpose. into lessons can help students learn intrinsic motivation.  … Read More »

Who Teaches Cognitive Skills?

Cognitive skills  are essential for memory and learning. Yet these skills are not often assigned to any particular grade or subject. Thus, students may graduate from high school without ever having learned how to learn.  I encountered this situation first-hand while teaching at a community college last fall. The seminar course that I taught had focused on preparing these students to build the skills they will need to succeed in pursuing their academic and employment opportunities.  Topics included study skills, critical reading, time management, fact versus opinion, and much more. I continually questioned if my students had encountered any of these topics in elementary or secondary school. Their responses were a resounding NO! Surely that was a glaring disservice. The first objective of education is to learn HOW to learn. Before embarking on the specifics of any content area, students must learn HOW to think. This includes being able to focus and memorize.  Yet no one subject department claims responsibility for this critical component.  The essential goal of public education is the development of an educated citizenry.  How can anyone be an informed citizen if he cannot think critically, discern truth from fiction, or fact from opinion? The College Board’s new entrance professes to complement the Common Core. The test, which debuted in March, places a premium on critical thinking skills and application of concepts. Who is responsible for teaching these skills? The answer is-every teacher in every grade from the time a student enters first grade until he graduates from high school.  To ignore this responsibility is to undermine the very goal of the education system. For a glimpse… Read More »

If schools were permitted to have just one training, this is the one!

This training will help to raise test scores for your students, decrease discipline challenges, and improve classroom rapport. You will learn how to meet students where they are and lead them where they need to be, capture attention, and promote deeper learning.