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Reading Reflections

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                My biggest interest right now is to determine ways to empower students to become stronger learners.  That is, I want to help students learn to learn.  My students are often very, very successful at applying poor learning techniques.  Many of them achieved the success necessary to get to Brown by using various strategies focused on memorization.  Many of these students are hesitant to change their study methods exactly because they have worked so well so far (to get them into college and often to get them through introductory-level college courses.)  Often these students are stubborn to change, even in response to lower exam scores.   

                I am interested in exploring how encouraging student reflection on their own learning might be a path towards stronger learners.  Specifically, I have implemented a reflective learning component within my Neurobiology of Learning and Memory course. (“Learning about your own learning while learning about learning.”)  This component should help the students to consider alternative learning strategies both within and outside of the course.  Furthermore, because we try to link their own learning to the biological principles we are studying in the course, the exercises may enhance student understanding of the main content of the course.  My research problem is to evaluate the effects of this reflective learning component. 

                One particular theme from the readings that resonated with me is my lack of knowledge as to how one carries out classroom research. Particularly, I am unsure of the best methods to use to analyze and interpret the student reflections and their effects.  The clear plan laid out in the Mettetal paper provided a useful method, but I am still unclear as to the qualitative research methods that I may want to apply.  For example, is a case study approach the best option for me? How will I choose the cases? 

 

                I think the Hutching’s taxonomy that best describes my problem is the “visions of the problem” type of question.  I want to understand the role that the reflections might be playing in student learning.  What might be possible with student reflections? How might this lead to stronger learning, both within the academic setting, but also as the students leave college and become life-long learners?  

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