What are the essential skills and/or leaning outcomes you want your students to know and be able to do that relate to cognitive learning?
Learning is a long-term change in mental representations or associations as a result of experience. With cognitive learning, the way students learn material relates to and affects their performance in a subject area. The cognitive process is a particular way of thinking about and mentally responding to a certain event or piece of information. (p. 180) Meanings and understandings are not derived directly from the environment. They are more so constructed by the learner from how they view and interact with their environment. I want my students to be able to make relations to the outside world or things in their environment that helps them relate back to what we are learning in the classroom setting. (p. 182) I want my students to be able to process the information I am teaching them and be able to learn it through whatever means necessary for them. Since all of my students will not be learning in the same fashion, it is important that I either give them options to learn in all forms or I give them the ability to relate the information to their own way of understanding it. Since I am interested in middle and high school, by this time I would expect most of these grade level students to know what works best for them when learning new information. As teachers, we must remember that students will not necessarily always learn or remember information exactly as we present it to them. They will each interpret the classroom subject matter in their own unique and individual way. (p. 183) There is nothing wrong with this, but teachers should be aware of it so that they can more appropriately plan their lessons. I personally learn in a few different ways, one of which is very visual, another of which is completely hands on and doing, and finally I learn by writing and rewriting information down. This may not be how all or any of my students process and learn information, I can also guarantee that some of my students will be none of these. However, I expect that as my students progress in my classroom they also progress in their ability to understand what we are learning in their own way and to be able to note just what works for them or does not work for them when trying to learn new information.
How might your knowledge of the memory process guide your instructional decisions?
The memory process is a learners’ ability to mentally save previously learned knowledge or skills over a period of time. When students store what they are learning, you hope they are storing it for later use. Sometimes, they store it for use right away and sometimes they store it for use down the road. (p. 184) Through the memory process, learners usually store information exactly as they receive it. I know that everything I teach will not be something that my students decide to store in their long-term memory. I do hope, however, that whatever they store in their short-term memory will eventually come back at some point to help them in their future endeavors. As a teacher, it is my job to make sure that I am presenting my material to my students in a way that appeals to their appetite to learn and absorb information. If I present information to my students in a very solemn and non-interactive way, then they will probably not remember it as being fun or worth their time. The goal is to grab their attention, hold it, and then get them involved in what you want them to learn. This is why I love art so much, but this is also why teaching art can be so hard. Not all of my students will want to be in the art classroom. I have just recently experienced this in a middle school I am observing. While I know that this varies on the teacher, their style of teaching, and the types of projects you introduce to the class, I also know that some students just do not find art appealing in any way, shape, or form. So, when trying to help my students learn I will be incorporating other things into my lessons that will hopefully stick and in some manner remind them that a particular art project helped them achieve and grow in other areas of their life. For example, I plan to allow my students to take unfinished art projects home, considering that it is not too elaborate of a project. Whenever they finish the project and bring it back to me is when I will grade it. There will be no late grade as long as I get the finished project back before final grades of the semester have to be in. This puts the responsibility on my students to keep up with the artwork, complete it, and get it turned back in to me in a decent form. I am teaching them about being responsible and hopefully instilling in them a sense of awareness that their actions and efforts determine their grades.