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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Teaching Tips - Using Concept Attainment to Teach Comparison-type Notes

This post is specially dedicated to the teachers. I'm sure you guys familiar with the Calhoun's Concept Attainment teaching strategy. Now, let's apply them here for our convenience in teaching Biology.

Biology has many infos which we have to compare. The important ones (I call them the Tickling Thirteens) are listed below. For the students, check whether you already master them (red bold ones are available in this blog).

We take the Mitosis VS Meiosis as our example today. The syntax would be the same, as outlined here:

1) Present the Info with Positive & Negative Exemplars:

In my case, I use concrete & interesting diagrams: 

2) Ask the Students to Compare the Exemplars:

Encourage them to talk about the diagram. Ask them both similarities & differences. Don't worry about right/wrong answer. Let them speak out. Some interesting (& funny answers) would be like below (Malay):

"Mitosis muka sama, meiosis muka lain-lain"
"Mitosis jadi dua, meiosis jadi empat"
"Mitosis potong sekali, meiosis potong dua kali"
"Mitosis relaks je, meiosis macam tension kena potong"
"Ini semua cikgu amik kat Internet kan?"
"Semua start daripada satu sel"
"Satu sel jadi banyak sel..."
"Kenapa diorang cakap Perancis?"
"Ni cikgu amik dari blog Cikgu Heery kan?"

3) Ask the Students to Relate Within Exemplar:

In this process, we train them to make hypothesis regarding of what they saw. Again, don't worry whether the answer is right or wrong. The point is for the students to speak out in an intellectual/ logical manner. Example of answers (Malay):

Hypothesis in Positive Exemplars (Mitosis):

"Sel belah sekali je, sebab tu la jadi dua sel"
"Sel belah sekali je, tak kacau isi sel, sebab tu la muka sama"

Hypothesis in Negative Exemplars (Meiosis):

"Sel belah dua kali, sebab tu la jadi empat sel"
"Sel belah dua kali, caca merba isi sel, sebab tu la muka lain-lain".

4) Teach Students Using their Own Points:

In this phase, the teachers would confirm/ correct/ alter the students points. Examples:

"Mitosis muka sama, meiosis muka lain-lain"

Teacher would state that in mitosis, the genetic constituents of the parents & daughter cells are identical, whether in meiosis, they are different.

"Mitosis potong sekali, meiosis potong dua kali"

Teacher would state that there is one phase of cell division, while in meiosis, there are two (Meiosis 1 & Meiosis 2).

"Sel belah dua kali, caca merba isi sel, sebab tu la muka lain-lain".

Teacher can correct this statement by saying that they cells are different because the chromosomes conducted cross over prior to the meiosis.

Note the difference of this strategy with the traditional type of teaching. Most teachers would just list down the notes between Mitosis & Meiosis for the students to memorize for the test.

This strategy is preferred in teaching because it encourages the students to take part in the learning process. Also, the students are taught to think inductively, which is crucial in forming a habit of critical thinking. Finally, the process is just plain fun! 

Wish you the best in your teaching/ learning endeavor :-)


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