Five Strategies for Implementing Accelerated Learning (Reviews)
The new question of the week is:
What is accelerated learning? What are the specific accelerated learning strategies and do they have a place in the classroom this year and in the future?
This column is the last in a series with suggestions for teachers, directors, and district administrators on how to tackle this year’s challenges.
Today, Nancy Frey, Ph.D., and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., share their answer.
I have already shared my accelerated learning recommendations in The Kind of Teaching Kids Need Right Now.
No to “learning loss”
Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and Chief Teacher at Health Sciences High and Middle College. She is a member of the Literacy Research Committee of the International Literacy Association. His published titles include Visible literacy learning, It’s balanced literacy, Removing labels, and Rebound.
Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is also a professor of educational leadership at the State of San Diego and a teacher at Health Sciences High. Previously, Doug was an early intervention teacher and elementary educator. He has published extensively on teaching and learning as well as books such as The teacher’s clarity manual, API +, Visible learning for literacy, comprehension: skill, will and thrill of reading, how tutoring works, and more recently, How learning works:
We have been bemoaning the expression “learning loss” since we first heard it in June 2020. Has there been a learning loss? Do grade 6 students now read like 3rd graders? Did the students forget everything they knew? Unlikely.
If we accept this sentence and the thinking behind it, we run the risk of lowering student expectations. Logic dictates that there was a loss of learning in the 2020-21 school year, so we need to spend time addressing this loss in the 2021-22 school year, so not teach all the things we would teach on a regular basis. Then the following year, we have to catch up. When does this deficit thinking end?
What if students came to believe that they did not learn in the 2020-21 school year? Could they be like, “I worked really hard but I guess I didn’t learn anything, so why try hard this year? Do you see the reduction in self-efficacy? And the teachers might say, “I did my best and saw some students learn, but I guess it wasn’t good enough, and the learning was lost. I guess my efforts didn’t really matter. Do you see the demoralizing experience?
We recognize that there can be unfinished learning, but we see this as a very different concept from learning loss. If we accept the story of the learning loss, we are more likely to focus on remediation, which would mean slowing down and focusing on isolated skills. This makes the students feel punished, embarrassed and inferior. Often times, they are bored in remediation efforts and pay little attention to the experience. Instead, we should focus on speeding up. We are not talking about skipping units or grades, but rather rely on research on accelerated learning for students identified as gifted and talented. The lessons learned from this body of evidence can be mobilized for the benefit of all students. There are five ideas that we learned from the acceleration research:
- Find out what students still need to learn. Use the initial assessments before each unit to determine what students have already learned. And then, most importantly, remove lessons that focus on skills and concepts that students are already familiar with. We cannot waste time “teaching” content that students already master. Instead, we need to identify areas that still need to be mastered, and then design learning experiences to meet those needs. For example, a quick vocabulary inventory can be used to determine students’ conceptual knowledge of a topic. If they can list concepts and explain them, then we don’t need to teach those ideas.
- Build key aspects of knowledge before instruction. To ensure that students move from the familiar to the new, we need to make sure that the students have sufficient basic knowledge. Without sufficient basic knowledge, it is difficult to understand the new learning. In the past, teachers had to spend time acquiring basic knowledge, conceptual knowledge or vocabulary knowledge during class time and therefore had fewer minutes for new learning. With everything we’ve learned about the technology, educators can now provide students with access to short videos, even interactive videos using systems like PlayPosit or EdPuzzle, to ensure that students gain increased knowledge before the live lesson. In doing so, teaching minutes are allocated for the new learning, and more learning can occur.
- Increase the relevance of lessons. When students find lessons relevant, they are more likely to engage in self-regulatory behaviors. We can accelerate learning when students choose to engage and allocate resources (time, attention, effort) to learning. We are not suggesting that the lessons be limited to the current interests of the students, but some lessons can easily be linked to the passions of the students. Other times, the teacher’s passion increases the students’ perception of relevance. And other times, teachers make sure that students have the opportunity to learn more about themselves and see the usefulness of the content in their future.
- Active and fast courses. Sanitation is slow; acceleration is rapid. There should be urgency to the learning experiences, but not too much pressure for students to get anxious. And teachers need to make sure there is enough waiting time for students to think and process. That said, it is important to recognize that there is a rhythm to a lesson that communicates to students that it is important and that the teacher has high expectations and believes that students can accomplish learning. In addition, students should be active during the lesson, engaged in a series of tasks such as discussing possible solutions with their peers, struggling with ideas, hearing teachers’ thoughts, etc. These lessons should be divided to respect the cognitive load placed on students, and ideas should be revisited and put into practice.
- Build trust. Some students are less confident in their learning than they were before the pandemic. As part of our acceleration efforts, we need to focus on students’ confidence and willingness to meet challenges. When students display a lack of self-confidence, we work to rebuild it. We show them that the effort is normal. Confidence is reduced when you think that you are the only one who does not understand something. Sometimes students think they are having more difficulty than they are. In these cases, they need their teacher to show them everything they have already learned. Plus, setting goals together, teaching students to self-assess, and celebrating success all serve to build confidence. Feedback from teachers and peers can also be used to build confidence, especially when the feedback focuses on how students are handling the task and not just whether they completed the task correctly or not.
These five aspects of acceleration have the potential to address unfinished learning. They also have the potential to change the educational landscape in the long run, as we learn to reduce the time we spend on things that students already know, as well as to take advantage of technology to develop basic knowledge and skills. pupils’ vocabulary before teaching. . As we pick up the pace and provide scaffolding, we can make sure that students learn more and better because we have learned and changed.
Thanks to Nancy and Doug for contributing their thoughts.
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