Using 'How People Learn' as a blueprint for developing teaching strategies; an example from an introductory geology course for future elementary teachers and non-science majors
Susan M. DeBari, Jennifer Bachman, Bernie Dougan, Ben Fackler-Adams, Rene Kratz, Scott R. Linneman, Robert J. Mitchell, Terri Plake, Brad K. Smith May 2007 Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs - vol. 39, no. 4, pp.32.
Geology faculty at Western Washington University, Skagit Valley College, Whatcom Community College, Everett Community College, and the Northwest Indian College have collaborated to develop a new lab-only curriculum in Introductory Geology that is offered to students at each of the collaborating institutions. The curriculum, Geology for Everyday Thinking, consists of six modules that emphasize the transfer of matter and energy in Earth Systems. The curriculum is based on the pedagogical approach of Physics for Elementary Teachers (PET; http://petproject.sdsu.edu/) and incorporates the key research findings of How People Learn (NAS, 1999). These key findings have profound implications for developing teaching strategies that promote student learning. They suggest that for learning to occur: 1) students' preconceptions must be engaged, 2) students must be able to build their own conceptual framework, and 3) students must be given an opportunity to reflect on their learning (metacognition). Our curriculum has been carefully constructed into modules that make use of these key findings. Each module engages students' 'Initial Ideas' about concepts (and continuously revisits those Initial Ideas), sequentially builds upon concepts in a logical framework, and requires reflective writing.