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Wenderoth, Mary Pat

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Sr. Lecturer
Department of Biology
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195


My Biology Scholars Research Project:

Using Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning to Enhance Student Metacognition.

I find that students have a difficult time monitoring their learning.  To that end, I will introduce students to how they can use Bloom’s taxonomy to assist them in monitoring their learning.  I will not only use Bloom’s in class to help student’s recognize the Bloom’s level of all questions asked in class but I will categorize and identify all exams questions according to Bloom’s.  After the exam has been graded, each student will receive a report of how they performed on exam questions at each Bloom’s level and they will be directed to a resource (BLAST, Bloom’s Learning Activities for students) that will suggest learning activities to strengthen their weak areas. I need to develop an assessment tool to measure gains in metacognition that may be realized from this implementation of Bloom’s.

Resources/references I have found helpful.

Bransford, J.D., Brown,A.L and Cocking,R.R. (Eds.) (1999) How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, D.C. :National Research Council, National Academy Press.
Modell, H.I., (2000) How to help students understand physiology?  Emphasize general models. Advances in Physiology Education 23:101-107.
Tobias, S., & Everson, H.(2002)  Knowing what you know and what you don't: Further research on metacognitive knowledge monitoring.  College Board Report No. 2002-3.  College Board, NY.
Schraw, G., and Dennison, R. S. “Assessing Metacognitive Awareness. Contemporary Educational Psychology 19, no. 4 (October 1994): 460-475.

more references on Bibliography page

The evidence I will gather.

 synopsis of my methodology. 

  See <Findings, Methods> page for more details.

Results that have emerged.

Thoughts on results observed.

See <Discussion> page for more detailed analysis 

Information found in the Appendices

 examples of student work, links to projects, sets of defintions used in project.

See <appendices> page for more details.


Teaching Philosophy:

My job in the classroom is to help the learner to learn. My job is not to disseminate information  (which a book can do) or tell the students everything they need to know (which a video could do), but rather to help them gain a deeper more meaningful understanding of the material by helping them build frameworks for their knowledge and develop their abilities to monitor their learning; in short, to learn to think like a scientist.
When designing my courses I ask myself “ What should students be able to do at the end of this class/course, what evidence will I collect to show they can do this and what learning strategies do I need to design to give them the practice they will need to master this skill?”  The learning environment that incorporates all these aspects is what I call the “ask don’t tell” model of learning.  This means that when I put a graph up on the overhead rather than tell them about it, I ask them "to talk to their neighbor" and decide what information they can get out of the graph.  This is a type of formative assessment that gives students practice in building, testing and refining their mental models of how physiological systems function.  Considerable advances have been made in the cognitive sciences and it is time to bring evidence based teaching to the classroom just as health care has brought evidenced based medicine to patient care.

Professional/personal goals for attending SOTL-I. 

The sub-discipline of science educator is still in it’s infancy in the life sciences (physics is far ahead of us) and needs to build credibility within each discipline, needs to develop a critical mass of individuals to address pedagogical issues, and needs to develop a voice and message that can be persuasive and instrumental in transforming post-secondary life science education.  There also needs to be a greater diversity of undergraduates who appreciate and understand the contributions science makes to society and who pursue careers in science.  Our current teaching methods favor the brightest students with the strongest academic backgrounds.  Teaching methods can be inclusive and broaden participation.  There are professional development programs in the life sciences (POGIL, FIRST, HHMI-SI, etc) but SOTL-I is the only one that trains faculty to engage in rigorous life science education research. This effort will give credibility to the transformational changes needed in life science education. As a Senior Lecturer ( non-tenure track) in a Biology Department at a research-one institution, my affiliation with Biology Scholars will also give greater legitimacy to my efforts to develop a Biology Education Research Group (BERG) at this university. I am looking forward to contributing to and growing through the collaborations that will arise from my affiliation with this outstanding community of researchers.

Teaching responsibilities include the following:

•    Introductory Biology for majors, Biol 220, 240 sophomores; pre-majors
•    Honors Seminar, 24 sophomores;
•    Foundations of Physiology, Biol 350, 120 juniors; majors
•    Mammalian Physiology, Biol 460, 120 seniors:majors
•    Advanced Animal Physiology, Biol 462, 90 seniors: majors
•    Adv. Anim. Phys. Lab, Biol 463, 48 seniors; majors
•    Science of Teaching Science, graduate seminar


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Proposals for steps ahead for physiology Biology Scholars
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