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Robert Galway

TEDCRED 50+

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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 27 2013: Reasoning- Forget classes in reasoning. Simply require it to be done in every subject, and grade on whether or not the correct answer is reached. Start in primary and continue through 12th. Just like it used to be. I had to "use my head", not just look up or repeat rote answers. "Teaching to the test" because schools get paid based on test grades is incredibly destructive of reasoning ability. Student are encouraged to conform and accept what is given to them instead of questioning it. Teach differently.

    Learning - I think there are two big challenges: Showing them that they CAN learn, and that it is worth the work required. Most kids I see want answers handed to them and simply won't work in class. Again, you can't teach it as a course except at the highest levels. It needs to be tackled at every level. Right from Kindergarten.

    Critical Thinking - Well, it used to be called Reasoning. A course in Formal Logic might be useful in high school.

    Active Listening - This should also be a classroom technique employed by the teacher as an example. But, because it's so simple, could be started in primary school even as a daily exercise of just a few minutes. Require students to "feed back" the morning announcements and discuss them. Once they learn to do this, later grades can practice it in group projects.

    Study Skills - Again, these should be taught from the very beginning - as a part of class, not a separate one, unless the student has exceptional difficulty. Lunchtime and recess remediation time can be used for this as well as class material.

    I've been a substitute teacher for 8 years in Texas public schools, grades 6-12. I've subbed on every subject taught and spent a lot of time in behavioral, disciplinary, and special ed units. I'm not educated in education, but I have managed to teach a lot of students that their original thoughts are appreciated. That's something all teachers can do to encourage the love of learning. And improve their scores.

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