Saturday, June 14, 2014

Testing my Audio learning skills

For this assignment, I had to listen to several podcasts by Dr Woolfolk and create a summary about five of them.  I enjoyed this assignment because listening to the podcasts was a different way to learn the information rather than just reading the textbook.  In the podcasts she highlights some important details from some of the clusters and clarifies what may have been some confusing topics.  By clicking on the name of the podcast, you will be directed to the link so you can listen yourself!

Podcast 5 - Negative Reinforcement

In this podcast Anita Woolfolk clarifies the concepts of both positive and negative reinforcement, and punishment.  First, Woolfolk discusses the definition of a reinforcer as anything that causes a behavior to continue occurring, or to get stronger.  Therefore, whenever a behavior gets stronger or more frequent, reinforcement is happening.  There are two types of reinforcers that encourage behavior and they can be categorized into positive, or negative reinforcement.  A positive reinforcer is something that is added after the behavior and causes the behavior to keep occurring.  A positive reinforcer is something you would work to get.  A negative reinforcer is something that is rewarded for making something that is negative or unpleasant go away.  When the behavior causes something unpleasant to be removed, it is termed negative reinforcement.  A negative reinforcer is something someone will work to avoid.  Punishment, on the other hand, leads to a decrease in behavior.  A punishment will decrease, or end a behavior.

Podcast 8 - Sources of Self-Efficacy

In this podcast Anita Woolfolk discusses why self-efficacy matters for learning, and ways to improve self-efficacy.  Self-efficacy influences motivation and the choices we make.  Greater efficacy leads to greater effort when facing setbacks.  Those with higher self-efficacy will often do better, score higher, and tend to learn more.  When someone has low self-efficacy, they may give up when faced with a challenge.  There are four sources of self-efficacy as identified by Albert Bandura, with the biggest source being a person’s past successes and failures.  Another source is seeing another’s success and failures.  The third source would be criticism or encouragement from others, or social persuasion.  Social persuasion could help to counteract self doubts.  The fourth source of efficacy would be a person’s emotions, stresses, or anxieties that a person feels.  The interpretation of one’s emotional feelings can increase or decrease self-efficacy.  Mastery of a task is the most important source of self-efficacy for most people.  Teacher’s should support self-efficacy in the classroom to give everyone a chance to work at something and then succeed, therefore, building self confidence.  

Podcast 11 - Cooperative Learning

In this podcast Anita Woolfolk discusses different learning strategies that let students learn together.  In cooperative learning student must work together, depend on each other, and work in a team.  Some people emphasize the motivational aspects of working together to achieve a common goal by creating dependability on each member of the group.  Additionally, cooperative learning allows students to explain and elaborate on their ideas.  Cooperative groups also allow group members to be challenged, feel disequilibrium, and strive to improve and expand their understanding.  She also discusses the idea of  productive dialogue as a type dialogue that allows for interpreting and explaining.  Certain teaching goals work better with cooperative learning and teacher’s need to watch and listen to make sure that groups are participating and working together.  Cooperative learning also allows for the students to become the teachers, therefore, enhancing and deepening their learning and knowledge.      

Podcast 12- Beliefs about Classroom Management

In this podcast Anita Woolfolk discusses classroom management, which is one of the most concerning topics for beginning teachers.  It is proven that students in orderly classrooms with minimal distractions often learn more.  Researchers visited classrooms from the first few days of school and observed what the teacher’s did and how they began their class from day one.  They also observed the same classrooms later on in the school year to see what the teacher’s did that worked.  Three qualities that define a good teacher according to students is a teacher who is caring, uses authority, provides structure, and allows for creativity.  Students value a set of rules that allow for structure and consistency, as well as being given the ability to make choices.  Teacher’s want their students to earn their respect and earn their caring, often teachers feel pressure especially when it comes to improving test scores.  Therefore, it is important to maintain a sense of balance in the classroom.  Students need to learn to become independent thinkers and learners, but also need a set of rules, organization, and a role model.

Podcast 14 - Test Taking Skills

In this podcast Anita Woolfolk discusses test taking skills and how anxiety can interfere with learning and taking tests.  One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is through making test taking strategies and studying.  Woolfolk suggests that before the test it is important to attend class, read the material, and complete the assignments. She stresses the importance of getting a good night's sleep before the test, arriving early, and getting a comfortable seat.  Finally, it is important to make sure you bring everything you will need to take the test.  Once you’re in the test, keep a positive attitude and manage your time.  Now what you do after the test?  Be sure to check to make sure it was graded correctly and analyze your test, make notes on your incorrect answers, and save the test to study for further tests.  These are all good strategies to help reduce test anxiety.   

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