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Tips From Dr. Marzano

Teaching & Assessing 21st Century Skills

 

Teaching & Assessing 21st Century SkillsThe following tips are designed to assist you in applying the latest research in tangible ways in your classroom, school, or district.

 

 

Understanding the nature of assertiveness lays at the foundation for responsible communication.

In order for students to better interact with and understand others, they should become aware of the four major types of behavior commonly exhibited during interaction. These are: (1) Passive behavior, (2) Aggressive behavior, (3) Passive-aggressive behavior, and (4) Assertive behavior. Awareness of the reasons behind others' behaviors enables students to take responsibility for the outcomes of their interactions with others (pp. 160–161).

Though sometimes multitasking may be necessary, there are times when it can be detrimental to learning and even dangerous to ones' well-being.

One way to mitigate the potentially negative effects of multitasking is to list tasks and give each a priority level. This provides an opportunity for the student to learn time management, prioritization, and the value of organization (pp. 71, 73–74).

When sound reasoning is not used to form conclusions, errors occur due to faulty logic.

Dr. Marzano has identified seven ways faulty logic can occur. These are: contradiction, accident, false cause, begging the question, evading the issue, arguing from ignorance, and composition and division. After students have an understanding of these types of errors, a teacher can ask them to find examples in the media (pp. 44–45).

When students create mental images, they do not create anything tangible, but these are more than just mental pictures. They can also include smell, taste, touch, sound, kinesthetic sensations, and even emotions.

Creating mental images requires more mental energy and therefore leads to deeper processing than creating graphic representations, drawing or sketching. When students create mental images, they must hold them in their working memory while elaborating on them, questioning them, and drawing conclusion from them. The effort required to visualize and manipulate mental images creates a more permanent and more deeply processed record in the brain of the content being studied (pp. 109, 196).

Conative skills refer to one's ability to analyze situations in light of what one knows and how one feels and select appropriate actions.

Three types of strategies that are useful in understanding and controlling oneself are: (1) becoming aware of the power of interpretations, (2) cultivating useful ways of thinking, and (3) avoiding negative ways of thinking (pp. 10, 121).

Discussions that develop the awareness that perceptions are not necessarily reality are powerful foundations for understanding and controlling oneself (a conative skill). Optical illusions are a good way to stimulate discussion about perceptions.

Because optical illusions are usually morally neutral, they allow students to easily acknowledge the truth of a perception different from their own. This allows them to freely discuss both their own and others' perceptions, and it visually illustrates the idea that two people can hold different perspectives and both be right (or wrong) (pp. 121, 197).

Self-efficacy is the disposition that an individual has control over his or her life. Developing this disposition is at the core of understanding and controlling oneself.

Helping students cultivate self-efficacy involves teaching them optimal ways of thinking, including resiliency. As the teacher presents examples of resiliency, whether from literature, a well-known person in their field, or a local personality, they can lead a discussion of its characteristics. Ultimately, students must examine their own resiliency (pp. 24, 133–134).

Students process information more deeply when they engage in both linguistic and nonlinguistic ways (see Chapter 2).

One way to create a mental model is to use sketching. For example, a science teacher could help students explore the inner workings of a nuclear reactor by sketching the various structures involved and tracking the flow of water and energy (pp. 104–105).

The act of consciously choosing one's own interpretation of events at any point in time might be the most powerful and useful skill regarding understanding and controlling oneself.

Choosing an interpretation can be practiced using literature and art. Students might select a character from a story and consciously interpret his actions in different ways. They might also view a painting and then describe both their initial interpretation along with an alternative interpretation (pp. 125–126).

One element that appears to be central to the effective employment of problem-solving strategies is focus.

Focus is the process of directing one's attention to a specific issue for an extended period of time, and is addressed in much of the literature as attention. Teachers can provide guidelines to students to help them control and increase their attention, such as "Be conscious of a wandering mind, and refocus it on the task at hand" (pp. 15, 71).

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