Module 5

Facilitating Learning I


We started the day by looking at talents and the neural nature of a talent. We discussed the importance of capitalizing on our talents and learning to manage our non-talents. Since there is only 15% room for improvement of non-talents there is little reason to spend a substantial amount of energy trying to turn a non-talent into a talent. We can deal with our non-talents by getting just a little better, developing a support system around us, finding a partner that is talented in the areas of our non-talents, being so good at our talents that our non-talents are irrelevant, and just staying away from doing our non-talents. Artisan teachers grow as teachers by figuring out what they are best at and capitalizing on those areas. Dr. Rutherford introduced 23 themes of teacher talent. At this session, we focused on the 4 that utilize speed, recall, and transfer. These themes are connection, personal relevance, locale memory, and mental models.

Connection is when we connect the content to past learning or experiences. Personal relevance is when we link learning to the students' survival and/or well being. Like a dog owner puts a pill inside a food the dog enjoys to get the pill in the dog's system a teacher must wrap the content in something the learner enjoys. Since the brain is not made to remember details, mental models help learners create artifacts so that the learning sticks. Mental models put these details with an image. I was not as familiar with locale memory, but realized it is something I do every week as we use our body parts to cheer word wall words. Locale memory is where the teacher "organize[s] information around the learner's position … in three-dimensional space" (Rutherford).

Action Steps

As I plan instruction, I will take my new learning about the themes and focus on the 4 optimizer themes. Each of these helps students learn the content faster, recall it without review, and transfer the learning to other areas through application. One example that I heard from another TAL classmate that I have already implemented into my classroom is to use body parts to remember key details. With kindergarteners we can then review by doing a version of head, shoulder, knees, and toes by repeating the details when the body part is touched. This will really help my struggling students because they usually have good locale memory.