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Robert Galway

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What are classes would you offer to today's students to help improve their education?

What classes would you add a options to all students to help them learn?

I came up with a few:

1) Reasoning- Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, applying logic, for establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, mathematics, and art, and is normally considered to be a definitive characteristic of human nature. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reason)

2) Learning-Learning is acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning)

3) Critical thinking-Critical thinking is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking)

4) Active Listening- Active listening is a communication technique that requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker, by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words, to confirm what they have heard and moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_listening)

5) Study skills-Study skills or study strategies are approaches applied to learning. They are generally critical to success in school, considered essential for acquiring good grades, and useful for learning throughout one's life. There are an array of study skills, which may tackle the process of organizing and taking in new information, retaining information, or dealing with assessments. They include mnemonics, which aid the retention of lists of information, effective reading, and concentration techniques, as well as efficient note taking. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studying)

I provided wiki links for further explanation.

What are yours?

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  • Jul 26 2013: I agree that some of the classes suggested in this discussion question may be taught within other classes. I’m not sure that they would work as classes themselves. I think a lot of teachers probably teach active listening and reasoning within other subjects (I know I do) and students probably do these things on a daily bases without even realizing it. Learning, I do not think could be a class because it’s not really a teachable area. It is a lifelong process. Everyone learns from the day they are born and they continue to learn until the day they die. Some may say that critical thinking can’t be taught, or that it is not a skill. However, there are thinking strategies that once learned can help in the critical thinking process. Being able to think critically depends on knowledge and practice. I believe it is definitely something that can be practiced from day to day in the classroom. Study skills I do agree can and should be taught. I think this could also be integrated into part of another class or several. This should not be left until a child is 14 or 15 years old. It can be started much earlier and gradually implemented as they get older.
    I also agree with Robert that we should teach “the process” and I think that good teachers do. If a child doesn't understand what or how to do something to get the desired result, it is our job as educators to explain, model and practice that process with them. Some may understand one way but others may need to be shown a different way to come to a similar result. We need to be flexible where possible, as all kids learn a little differently.
    • Jul 26 2013: The learning class I was thinking about was more a study of how learning occurs, techniques for learning, and sort of how it relates to the education process. I thought some insight into the process, particularly for the high school age kids might spark some curiosity about the process. I think the concept of metacognition, or learning how to learn, such as is discussed in the pedagogy wiki would also make a good topic in this course.

      The integration of these techniques into normal subjects is great and ties into Fritzie's comments below. Again, I see these new courses as a supplement to what is already being taught in these subjects, just to highlight the the importance of the techniques.

      Any other ideas about a class that is missing from the current curriculum?

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