Home > capstone, education > Making Meaning Makes Sense

Making Meaning Makes Sense

I just finished reading Pearl Chen and Diane McGrath’s article, Visualize, Visualize, Visualize, which explores strategies for incorporating metacognition into the design of a Project Based Learning lesson or unit.  What really drew me to the idea was the fact that in many stages of the planning, concept maps, also known as semantic maps, were used as a means for helping students see their own thinking process, as well as the process of the teacher/instructor.  I use concept maps all the time in my teaching to help students plan out their ideas and make visible the process the brain uses as it builds meaning.  It just makes sense based on what I read and what I practice to incorporate this strategy into my own project.  I love the idea of asking students to think about their learning process and giving them tools to bring this process out into the open.  Often when students struggle they believe that other students have it so much more together than they do, and instead of stepping back and brainstorming, or considering where their thoughts went off track, they shut down.  To see the teacher model her process, and to be able to lay out their own thinking in a concrete fashion gives students the necessary strategies for moving forward when faced with an intellectual challenge.

I also like the idea of keeping the work in a portfolio that can be reviewed at a future date.  This allows the students to regain access to their thought patterns and to begin to develop long-term thinking strategies. I’m definitely going to be using this process for PBL in my project.  It makes sense, and as a writing teacher, fits my curriculum to a T.

Categories: capstone, education
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