Identifying Key Terms Teacher Resource

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This page supports the Identifying Key Terms Lesson Plan.


Contents

Teaching theories behind this lesson

Independent learning

The goal of independent learning is to motivate students to want to be learning. Motivation is an internal process that prompts certain behaviours – taking students well-beyond rote memorisation.[1] Behaviours, though, are as much a reflection of environment as of any internal factors. ‘If learners are given genuine choices, they may opt to be passive learners rather than self-directed learners.’[2] When the learning space is properly controlled learners understand that they can take control of their own learning – the what, when, why and how.[3] And a properly controlled learning space will allow them to develop a concomitant understanding that they learn more through sharing the learning experience. A controlled learning space is not about seating plans and micro-managing student behaviour. Rather, a controlled learning space is one where carefully designed lessons (with real, measured outcomes,[3] all students participating as equals, [4] and a script that structures the learning around interactions rather than content, [5] allow experiences for effective convergent knowledge experiences. Such effective convergent knowledge experiences are most likely to occur in an environment where all participants feel safe to share.


‘By sharing formative stages of their thinking and activities, the members of a [learning] group greatly accelerate the discovery of novel connections and solutions.’[6]


Through this sharing comes understanding, but also the opportunity for creativity and production of divergent knowledge. This divergent knowledge then creates the need for sharing the new knowledge – and thus the need for someone else to learn something new. In this way the learning process becomes about community awareness and self-identity as an essential part of a community.[6][2]


Iterative learning

The iterative nature of the learning is not only about how independent learners negotiate their position within a community. The iterative approach is a fundamental of constructivism – it allows learners to play with knowledge and skills[7] to develop a deeper understanding of what will work and what won’t. The Australian Curriculum (History) demonstrates how skills are continually developing (in the relevant learning context[8]) throughout the learners’ experiences of historical knowledge and understanding.[9]

Learners need also to increase their knowledge and understanding of how these skills develop – through sharing their experiences of these skills and, in return, growing their understanding of different interpretations of the same experiences. Considered as artefacts, the wiki pages become a means of knowledge building through observation. This knowledge building is most likely to lead to long-term learning benefits if students are encouraged to engage and then re-engage with the wiki page – providing opportunities for prior knowledge to be revisited, inspected and altered to include the new knowledge.[10] In this way, not only will the skill being practised be able to be refined to a master level, but the process for developing any skill will become a conscious and rewarding exercise – with learners able to experience more successes.[11]


Convergence and Divergence

Typically, convergence is experienced in a learning environment as right and wrong answers. For example: solving a mathematical problem. Yet, for Australian students, “real world” experiences of convergence rely on a democratic model of communication and majority agreement – and the learning environment should attempt to recreate this “real world” experience to achieve authentic learning.[3] Critical discussion skills are the key to an effective convergent knowledge experience for all learners. Research indicates that convergence occurs when argumentative debate is about ‘collaboratively advancing ideas’,[10] so in this lesson the greater weight should be given to the coding activity. Having achieved a degree of consensus, the learner should then experience an opportunity for self-development – in order to work towards expression of their newly emerging divergent knowledge. Thus, the reflection on learning questions and prompts are an essential part of the learners’ building of convergent and divergent knowledge.

Curriculum Links

At Year 9 level students engage with historical terms and discuss their contestability in the context of Australia's history. At Year 10 level they continue to build on their understanding of the concept of 'contestability' through using their Year 9 experiences to help create their own definition of 'contestability'.[12]

Main Topic

Key terms underpin the ability for researchers to perform effective searches. In the pre-digital world key terms were identified through examining the contents page of a book, its index and any subheadings that appeared throughout. In some cases, the key terms were highlighted (through use of bold text and explanatory sidebars). These methods involved the author and publisher determining what the key terms of the text were – and meant that researchers tended to be restricted to using texts only designed for specific uses. (Otherwise, they faced the laborious and time-consuming job of examining every line of the text themselves.)

In the digital age these conventions are still largely evident, but search engines allow the researcher to bypass these methods and search for anything. Yet, conventions of language still apply when the text is written; so it is possible for researchers to engage with online content in the same way as they did with written texts in the pre-digital world. A search engine can be used to identify where terms are, then the researcher merely needs to determine the context to determine the usefulness of the text.

In order for students to develop their understanding of the usefulness of key terms they need to develop their understanding of the conventions used in written texts. The Identifying Key Terms Lesson Plan utilises wiki pages as online source material being examined for the conventional use of key terms. According to the Australian Curriculum (History) at Year 8 level students develop their understanding of the different meanings of particular terms and concepts when viewed in their historical context. At Year 9 level students then engage with these terms and discuss their contestability in the context of Australia's history. At Year 10 level they continue to build on their understanding of the concept of 'contestability' through using their Year 8 and Year 9 experiences to help create their own definition of 'contestability'. This program allows students to build their knowledge and understanding of the contestability of the concepts of 'nationalism' and 'evidence'.

Key Concepts

Contents page - The contents page may be regarded as a blueprint for the text. The elements given on a properly constructed contents page are like the structural elements of a building; that is, they are the important main components to which everything else is attached. Being able to "read" a blueprint means being able to identify which parts of a building can be removed without the whole thing collapsing. When students are practising History, their understanding of this concept will allow them to identify the key terms an author has built their text around from within the contents page. They will be able to consider the level of the headings given. That is, if the contents page has main headings with sub-headings grouped below them, students will understand the relative importance of the key terms in the text. (A skilled author will also be able to use the title of the text as the most important, or first-degree, key term to which all others are added. In the analogy of a building - the title may be thought of as the foundations.)

Chapter heading - The chapter headings may be regarded as the structural supports. Looked at on their own structural supports can only suggest a hint of what the finished building might look like; all the additional building components can add to the basic shape of the structural supports, but they are also limited by what these structural supports can hold. When students are practising History, their understanding of this concept will allow them to identify the second-degree key terms of the text from the chapter headings. They will be able to consider the essential relationship between the first-degree key term and third-degree key terms. That is, if a chapter heading is altered then the entire text may become something entirely different.

Sub-headings - The chapter sub-headings may be regarded as the strengthening supports. Like floor joists the sub-headings may be removed without causing the collapse of the entire structure, but the floors would be impossible to install and use without them. When students are practising History, their understanding of this concept will allow them to identify third-degree key terms of the text from the chapter sub-headings. They will be able to consider the essential relationship between the second-degree key term and the fourth-degree key terms. That is, if the sub-heading is altered the text may become slightly different.

Index - Depending upon the particular text, key terms may be utilised to any number of degrees. A skilled author will identify for themselves all of the terms they have treated as key terms in creating the text and list them in the index. Sometimes these will include groupings of related key terms - indicating their degree and relationship. Usually the entire index is a simple alphabetic arrangement. When students are practising History, their understanding of this concept will allow them to identify key terms that have informed the author's interpretation of the events being related. They will be able to consider what has informed the author's understanding and utilise these key terms for further research and comparative analysis.

Secondary Concepts

Hyperlink - The hyperlink (blue, purple or red) text are usually also key terms on a wiki page, but not all of these key terms are as useful for searching for information as some. e.g. In discussion of key terms for the Lucas Clothing Factory the hyperlink to Edward Hargreaves Price is a key term, as he was an essential person in the running of the company. The link to Factory Day, 1916 is another key term, as this shows something about the nature of the Lucas Clothing Factory's place in the community. But the link to The Ballarat Courier is not a key term for this lesson, as that page offers no information about the Lucas Clothing Factory.

Hidden key terms - Also, some other terms on the page may be useful for searching, but are not hyperlinks. These are terms that could be used to Google further information. e.g. "famous" + "Ballarat" + "clothing" + "manufacturing" may be searched at once or in different combinations. Or "SOLDIERS' MILK FOODS FUND" may be searched for to develop an understanding of what the people who worked at the Lucas Clothing Factory thought were worthwhile causes. The results of such searches are highly variable and are probably best reserved for extension students who relish this particular challenge of historical research.

Terms

critical discussion

evaluation criteria

key terms

Further Reading

References

  1. Jo Mynard and Robin Sorflaten. 'Independent Learning in Your Classroom.' Learner Independence Special Interest Group website. Accessed June 16, 2012 via http://ilearn.20m.com/research/zuinde.htm
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brown, Alan J. (2000). ‘Social Influences on Individual Commitment to Self-directed Learning at Work.’ In Conceptions of Self-directed Learning: Theoretical and Conceptional Considerations. Munster: Waxmann, pp.23-36.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Doughty, Gordon. (1996). ‘Computers for teaching and learning.’ In The Management of Independent Learning. Edited by Jo Tait and Peter Knight . London: Kogan Page Limited, pp. 87-96.
  4. Heisawn Jeong and Michelence T. H. Chi. 'Knowledge convergence and collaborative learning.' Instructional Science, no. 35 (2007): 287-315.
  5. Armin Weinberger, Karsten Stegmann and Frank Fischer. (2005). 'Measuring knowledge convergence: Achievement similarity and shared knowledge in computer-supported collaborative learning.' 11th Biennial Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI 2005). Cyprus: Nicosia. Digital copy accessed June 12, 2012 via telearn.archives.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dobes, Richard and Graham Rawlinson. (1993). ‘Using Synectic Processes in Education.’ In Learner Managed Learning. Edited by Norman Graves. Leeds: Higher Education for Capability, pp. 52-70.
  7. Ciel Language Support Network. (2000). 'Integrating independent learning with the curriculum.' Centre for Languages Linguistics & Area Studies website. Accessed June 16, 2012 via http://www.llas.ac.uk/resources/gpg/1400
  8. Andre Melzer, Lia Hadley, Marie Glasemann, Simon Werner, Thomas Winkler, Michael Herczeg. (2007). 'Using Iterative Design and Development for Mobile Learning Systems in School Projects.' IADIS International Conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age (CELDA 2007). Accessed June 16, 2012 via http://www.iadis.net/dl/final_uploads/200714L009.pdf
  9. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2012.) The Australian Curriculum (History). http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Download
  10. 10.0 10.1 Halatchliyski, I., Kimmerle, J., & Cress, U. (2011). Divergent and Convergent Knowledge Processes on Wikipedia. CSCL 2011. Digital copy accessed June 13, 2012 via reganmian.
  11. Robertson, J. and J. Good. (2004). Children’s Narrative Development through Computer Game Authoring. Proceedings of IDC 2004: Building a Community. Maryland, USA, pp. 57-64. [Quoted in Andre Melzer, Lia Hadley, Marie Glasemann, Simon Werner, Thomas Winkler, Michael Herczeg. (2007). 'Using Iterative Design and Development for Mobile Learning Systems in School Projects.' IADIS International Conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age (CELDA 2007). Accessed June 16, 2012 via http://www.iadis.net/dl/final_uploads/200714L009.pdf
  12. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2012.) The Australian Curriculum (History). http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Download


Links to further resources


--Beth Kicinski 12:22, 13 June 2012 (EST)

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