James Daniel & Associates Weblog

February 6, 2008

Performance Literacy (Procedural Literacy)

Filed under: Procedural Literacy — jamesdanielassociates @ 9:50 pm

Several years ago, we began research on a concept known as procedural literacy. This instructional method is designed to engage students in literacy activities that will help them comprehend what they are supposed to learn. Through our research, we learned that students need to have engaged activities before they have a literacy experience, while they have that experience, and after the experience has ended. We learned that when students process information as opposed to just reading, listening, or writing, the studets retain more of the information. This means that the students accomplish two things. First, they become better at comprehending what the teacher wants them to learn. Secondly, the students learn a procedure that they can use as a tool in their lives.

In recent months, we have changed the name from Procedural Literacy to Performance Literacy. We have done this because the systematic instructional approach provides opportunities for students to perform the skills needed when learning. We realize that learning is a process of numerous performances that must be stimulated by teacher facilitation. Our Performance Literacy program offers teachers the procedural methods that can lead more students to success with 21st Century literacy skills.

What have you done with your students to enhance their literacy skills? Have you established a procedure that helps your students comprehend more of what they read, hear, or see.? We would like to know what those procedures are.


February 5, 2008

What is Rigor?

Filed under: Rigor — jamesdanielassociates @ 11:47 pm

Much of the literature and many of the speakers on the circuit say that we need more rigor in our schools. We do not deny a need for rigor. However, we want to know what rigor is. We want to know what it means to develop a school where rigor is a primary trait of the learning program. We firmly believe that rigor is not giving students more content and more work. We emphatically believe that taking students into arenas where they have no chance of success is not rigor.

We believe that rigor is requiring students to enter an arena where success comes from accepting challenges. Students must have experience where persistence on their part will lead to success. Students must learn that persistence more than innate intelligence can be the factor that leads to achievment.

Rigorous experiences may come through projects, problems that require creative thinking, or experiences where students learn how to innovate in order to complete a process. For example, a team of students may be asked to build a business plan and present their idea to a bank board of directors. Another example may be to ask students to determine and develop the words that would best fit in a missing paragraph in a reading. Or, students may be given a used cell phone and told to tear it apart and then write the directions as to how to put it back together. All of these would be rigorous experiences.

What rigorous experiences do students face in your schools? We would be interested in knowing.

November 3, 2007

Questions Are More Important Than Answers

Filed under: Questioning and Learning — jamesdanielassociates @ 11:02 am

We think that the most important thing for students to learn is to ask questions. We base our thinking on the following beliefs. First, we contend that questions are the root of all learning. When there is no question of who, what, when, where, why, or how, we submit that learning has no purpose. Second, we advocate that student questions are more important than teacher questions. When students have questions prior to their learning, the students become engaged in finding the information to answer their questions. Third, we submit that appropriate questions give students a way to connect new information with prior knowledge. When students are encouraged to pose questions that cannot be answered by one word or one phrase, the students begin to reach for the higher levels of critical thinking and focus on thoughts not answers.

We know that having students develop their own questions is not easy. Students are reluctant to ask questions because they may appear to lack knowledge. We also know students may not ask critical thinking questions because they do not know how to phrase the question. Because of this challenge, we are asking teachers to respond to our blog by giving ideas of what they do to stimulate questions from students. Please give us your ideas so that other teachers may be able to use your technique to develop questioning skills among students.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.