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It’s one of the great mysteries of teaching: Why do some students “get it” and some students don’t?
In this book, Betty K. Garner focuses on why students struggle and what teachers can do to help them become self-directed learners. Difficulty reading, remembering, paying attention, or following directions are not the reasons students fail but symptoms of the true problem: underdeveloped cognitive structures—the mental processes necessary to connect new information with prior knowledge; organize information into patterns and relationships; formulate rules that make information processing automatic, fast, and predictable; and abstract generalizable principles that allow them to transfer and apply learning.
Each chapter focuses on a key cognitive structure and uses real-life accounts to illustrate how learners construct meaning by using recognition, memorization, conservation of constancy, classification, spatial orientation, temporal orientation, and metaphorical thinking. The author’s simple techniques stress reflective awareness and visualization. It’s by helping students to be conscious of what their senses are telling them, encouraging them to visualize the information for processing, and then prompting them to ask questions and figure out solutions on their own that teachers can best help students develop the tools they need to
* Gather, organize, and make sense of information,
* Become cognitively engaged and internally motivated to achieve, and
* Experience learning as a dynamic process of creating and changing.
Suggestions for using these techniques in daily classroom practice, advice on lesson planning for cognitive engagement, and guidelines for conducting reflective research expand this book’s practical applications. Use it not only to help struggling students break through hidden barriers but to empower all students with tools that will last a lifetime.