Thursday, July 17, 2014

Meaningful Learning

I just came across this image in a SlideShare presentation by Catherine Cronin:

This image is a screencap from a presentation by Catherine Cronin (@CatherineCronin.)
Used with permission.
As I reflect on how I conduct my teaching practice, this is so much of what I'm striving for with my own students.

Yes, there are still facts students need to commit to memory.

Yes, there are basic skills students need to practice toward mastery.

Yes, there is a time and a place for drill and practice.

But overall, I think learning is more meaningful when we get beyond these "just the facts" approaches.

Think about your own learning preferences, teacher. Do you learn the most from sit-and-get professional development? Or are you more engaged when you have the chance to discuss and interact with fellow learners? Collaborate in working toward a goal? Thoughtfully reflect on readings and conversations?

Recognize that your students may have different needs than you do as a learner because of their age...but how satisfied would you be with learning if it was always...
  • reproducing someone else's ideas, 
  • receiving other people's thinking about ideas, 
  • repeating the same tasks over and over, 
  • driven by competion with fellow learners for attention, for opportunities, for grades, or 
  • prescripted learning with no choice for what or how you learn?
How meaningful would that learning be?


  1. Many thanks for sharing this, Dave. I have been inspired by much of David Jonassen's writing on constructivism and find this quote particularly powerful. I often share this with students, to help to explain why we'll try different learning approaches together.

    You ask some important questions here, for all of us to consider. Constructivism and connectivism are two learning theories which have much to offer to educators who wish to move from the older paradigms of one-way, prescriptive forms of teaching and learning. Best of luck to you -- glad to be connected :)

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Catherine! I've been thinking about this a lot this summer...and about finding ways of challenging the preservice teachers I currently serve to take these ideas into their own teaching practices.

      Great to connect with you!