How to get to level 4/5 on homework

Overall Approach

  • Do HW for your own benefit as aligned with your career and life goals
  • Avoid waste and bull shiitake
    • waste (activity that is not aligned with attaining goals)
    • bull shiitake (work that is intened to "give prof' what he/she wants)
  • Recognize that the methods I teach are based on the "research literature." Recognize that "research-based knowledge" represents "collective human wisdom." Recognize that "research-based knowledge" is usually more effective that "personal opinion."
  • Recognize that most teaching is based on "personal opinion." (not on application of scholarly knowledge). That is, most teachers teach the way they were taught. I started out this way but data quickly revealed that this was not very helpful to my students (they were not learning much). Thus, I have gradually transformed my teaching so that it is aligned with and informed by the "research literature."
  • Adopt the growth mindset1 (people with the growth mindset "know" that they can accomplish anything they choose. Thus, they embrace challenge, they persist, they work hard, they learn from others, they use feedback to improve etc.)
  • Improve by taking "right-sized" steps (avoid getting overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once).
  • If you are stuck or frustrated, come by for help. Best idea is to make an appointment.

Problem Solving (textbook problems)

  • Do you own work and then correct in red pen. My good students consistently have a lot of red ink on their work because they make a lot of mistakes. Since mistakes are how we learn2, I reward mistakes and corrections with higher grades.
  • Avoid short solutions (example = 5 lines) because I have no idea how you got your answer. Did you copy it? Did you work it out via trial and error and then document your results? Did you pattern match from an example problem?

Knowledge Construction (KC)

  • Concepts.
    • Get the meaning down in your own words
    • Create 1 to 3 examples that are meaningful to you; avoid vague examples
    • Make liberal use of sketches and visuals
    • Gradually start documenting knowledge as described in MREAC. You don't have to use MREAC but you should use the MREAC as a guide to tell you what is important to know.
  • Equations
    • Describe the meaning of each variable (each variable is a concept)
    • Describe the holistic meaning of the equation
    • Gradually start documenting knowledge as described in EMTAD
  • Derivations of Main Equations

Reflective Thinking (RT)

  • Ideas about RT
    • RT is "looking back at experiences and learning from these experiences."
    • RT should be hugely beneficial to you; if you are not getting great benefits, consider improving how you do RT!
    • RT is aligned with the growth mindset. We can always find ways to "get more of what we want" (i.e. we can always find ways to improve quality).
  • RT can be classified into two categories
    • Embedded RT is done naturally as you go; example = review section of problem solving. This is the most valuable type of RT
    • End-of-project RT is done after multiple tasks have been completed; example = RT at the end of a lesson. This is also valuable, but not as valuable as embedded RT.
  • What I look for
    • embedded RT; 2 to 4 items per task
    • end-of-lesson RT; 2 to 5 items per question asked
    • specific ideas (not vague) that are easy to implement or repeat
    • ideas that are useful (avoid bull shiitake)
    • generalize ideas so that they apply in multiple contexts
    • be concise; lists are great
    • avoid excessive emotion; stick to "good ideas"
    • explain why the idea is beneficial
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