01. Introduction

        Humans are unique because of the immense amount of learning, often in formal settings, they do.  The Learning Sciences have developed after decades of work in related fields, offering guidance on how learning can be accomplished more effectively.  Three main principles guide this:  1.  Students come to situations with preconceptions that, if not engaged, may lead them to learn for a test but ultimately revert to their prior conception.  2.  To develop competence, students need deep knowledge, have a conceptual framework, and organize knowledge to facilitate retrieval and application.  3.  A metacognitive approach can help students take control of their learning.  
        The need to engage prior understanding has been demonstrated in many studies.  Students always draw upon their preconceptions when creating new ones; if not addressed directly they often do not change.  One study, for example, found that little children and University seniors made the same errors in judgement on a momentum task, despite the fact that the University students learned the theory and did well on written tests.  This showed how the University student reverted back to untrained conceptions of how the physical world works (Ed: I think this is example given by the book is bad.  It shows lack of transference, not anything about prior knowledge.  -YH)
        The need for conceptual frameworks is especially highlighted when studying experts.  A large difference between them and novices is that they see patterns and organization within knowledge.  A famous memory test with chess, where pieces are placed in typical situations versus randomly, show how experts see these subject-specific patterns.  This suggests that teaching should focus not just on factual knowledge, but on conceptual frameworks.  The two are mutually supportive.  Instead of, for example, teaching characteristics of mammals, they can be organized by a concept of adaptive characteristics.  
        Self-monitoring, or developing meta-cognitive skills in students, has been shown in many studies to improve memory and understanding.  Reciprocal teaching, where students read together to help each other read for understanding, is a good example.  Having students self-assess then discussing what makes sense is an important teaching strategy that can help students internalize good thinking habits.  Metacognition is oftentimes subject specific - for example in math finding evidence may be through proof, where in history it may be by seeing multiple perspectives and considering the sources.  
        A conceptual framework for these principles includes 4 components: that a learning environment needs to be learner, knowledge, assessment, and community centered.  
        A learner-centered environment pays attention to students' understanding.  Oftentimes it is neglected, and furthermore students have not developed the norms for reflection and making their thinking visible.  Understanding what students understand should be a starting point to sound instruction.  
        A knowledge-centered environment is one where the underlying concepts to develop understanding are emphasized.  In a knowledge-centered environment, there is a focuse on what is taught, why it is taught, how it is organized, and what competence or mastery looks like.  These answers are unique within each discipline.  A knowledge-centered environment intersects with a learned-centered environment in that teachers much focus on the development of student understanding on these issues.  It also intersects with assessment-centered environments in specifying what it means for students to have acheived mastery. 
        An assessment-centered environment has a focus on formative assessment - ongoing assessments designed to make students' thinking visible.  Furthermore, students must have the opportunity to revise and improve their thinking.  Ultimately, the goal is for students to develop meta-cognitive abilities so they can measure their own progress for themselves, as well as consider which strategies to use for different problems.  
        A community-centered environment is one with norms on core learning values.  For example, getting students to make their initial preconceptions visible, even if wrong, is critical to correct them.  However, norms that encourage and reward students only for being right discourages students to reveal their unschooled thinking.  Classroom norms should encourage questioning (by students) and other core learning values.  
        While these learning principles may be strategic, they also lack specificity necessary for a teacher to use in the classroom.  For example, knowing which precise misconceptions students often make in history can help teachers design units.  However, oftentimes teachers are unsupported in their effort to create such frameworks.  Therefore, this volume, "How Student's Learn," is focused on giving more concrete information for practical use by teachers in the classroom.  The text lacks some uniformity as this was a first time effort.  However, the learning principles are applied to 3 different subject areas in three subjects (math, science, history).  The specific lessons should not be taken as "the" way to teach, but certainly can be instructive as strategies.  
        
THINKING ROUTINE - HEADLINES

This routine draws on the idea of newspaper-type headlines as a vehicle for summing up and capturing the essence of an event, idea, concept, topic, etc. The routine asks one core question:

1. If you were to write a headline for this topic or issue right now that captured the most important aspect that should be remembered, what would that headline be?

The conceptual framework for education has four parts: learner, knowledge, assessment, community.  

A second question involves probing how students' ideas of what is most important and central to the topic being explored have changed over time:

2. How has your headline changed based on today's discussion? How does it differ from what you would have said yesterday?

        My headline now would be this: Learning principles are just strategies that teachers must find ways to apply to their own classrooms.  This differs from the previous headline, not that it contradicts it, but rather that is focuses on the real meaning and/or purpose of the learning sciences, not just the organization of it.  Ultimately, both are important.  

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