Teaching students how to learn
Dave Corner, HoD Physics, Pakuranga College, talks about how teachers’ jobs have changed from deliverers of content to teaching students how to learn. In the past, Dave would introduce a concept and lead his students to find particular conclusions. He now uses Hub resources for the students to find these conclusions on their own and at their own pace.
To view the resources Dave used with his students, read the Chemical reactions and catalysts article and watch the What is a catalyst? video clip in the Nanoscience context.
With the new curriculum, with the values and the key competencies that are in there and the pedagogies that it specifies, it’s no longer a case of being good enough to stand and deliver the knowledge that you have to students. Our job’s changed from being deliverers of content if you will to being people who try and teach students how to learn – actually actively think about how they learn, think about their own metacognition and think about how they understand things, how they develop a concept of a process and build that knowledge up themselves.
A few years ago, what I’d have done is I’d have introduced the idea of collision theory and broken down those two terms. Mostly it would be sort of spoonfed, and I’d be sort of leading them to the conclusions I wanted.
The idea of this morning was that they found those conclusions at their own speed in their own way and their own pace using the Science Hub as a resource.
What I’m going to encourage you to do first is have a quick read of the collision theory part on page 44 and then get straight into the Learning Hub and have a go at understanding what purpose and what function a catalyst serves in chemical reactions.
The books we found from ABA are brilliant – they’re in a very sensible order. It sends students off to look in the Learning Hub to focus on particular areas to help develop their skills in a context, which is where the book comes into play and why we’re in the computer room.
You should find one of the first videos called ‘What is a catalyst?’ The gentleman describes it in two different ways for you, so have a quick watch of the video and find out exactly what his rendition of a catalyst is.
DR RICHARD HAVERKAMP
If you have the right sort of catalyst, you can control what the reaction is. It will determine what the products are from the reaction. So catalysts not only do they make reactions go faster and easier and at lower temperatures, but they enable a specific reaction to take place.
So do you know what a catalyst is?
Oh yeah, it shows you over here, what he was saying is how a catalyst is a substance that enables a reaction to take place.
I still had to introduce the concepts we were looking at broadly, but what I was able to do is introduce the terms and let them go and find out what they needed to with only the occasional bit of prodding and guiding as I went round the class.
So a catalyst can be put into a reaction to control the speed with which the reaction occurs and perhaps how the reaction’s going to occur. The second one?
It speeds up a reaction without being consumed.
Brilliant, that’s an important thing. It’s not consumed. It’s not part of the reaction.
The culmination of those three things – me being freed up to go round the classroom and chat with students, the book with it’s various resources and the Science Learning Hub – just engages the students in so many different levels that they’re able to get into the work themselves and learn without my input, so to speak.
Well, guys did you, what did you come up with, what was the term that you found?
Awesome. Inhibitor is another one. It doesn’t necessarily speed up the reaction, it can also be an inhibitor, it can slow it down.
Those sorts of terminologies I wouldn’t have used myself, and they’ve picked them up and they’ve come up with them themselves.
Has anyone got anything that they’ve found in sort of everyday life, that, where catalysts exist?
A common one is in an exhaust pipe in a car.
Exhaust pipe in a car, brilliant.
What I’m trying to develop in them is self-autonomy so that they, when they leave my class and go off next year or when they go off into university and a job, they have the skills to learn things for themselves as opposed to needing to be told how something works.