Thursday, August 19, 2010

Teaching How to Learn in a What-to-Learn Culture by Kathleen R. Hopkins

When Professor Reuven Feuerstein writes the forward for a new book, I want to read that book. I am certified in one level of Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) and I learned a lot about learning from Dr. Feuerstein's methods.

Guess who wrote the forward for "Teaching How to Learn in a What-to-Learn Culture"? Yes, Dr. Feuerstein.

First of all, Teaching How to Learn in a What-to-Learn Culture" is written primarily to teachers, and I include homeschool teachers in my mind as I read the text, and I also include any parent who is involved in the education of a child. In "THtLiaWtLC", Kathleen Ricard Hopkins does a really nice job explaining the many pieces (functions and skills) that work together to create what we label "learning" and "intelligence". "Learning" is not rote memorization. Intelligence is not a score on a test. Hopkins teaches us about cognitive modifiability.

Hopkins discusses, in terms and with anecdotes that are easily understood, concepts like competence, confidence, memory and memory types, curiosity, inner speech (self-talk).

About students who qualify for special education, Hopkins writes on page 58, "With all that we in western cultures have learned about the brain's modifiability, it is scandalous that we should not do our very best to change the intellectual abilities of struggling learners. Yet in most developed nations antiquated beliefs are still held about these children. Whether those beliefs are expressed openly or just held privately in the hearts of educators, erroneous thoughts are pervasive. 'It is no use to try to teach these children, they will never be good thinkers,' say the skeptics. Perhaps what we really need to do is stop adjusting the curriculum downward and instead adjust or modify the teachers. The solutions are not as difficult as they may seem...." .

If you've not been introduced to the concept of cognitive modifiability or Dr Feuerstein, this book is a nice introduction, for any teacher or parent/teacher.

It is a book that describes interaction with typically developing students. If you are the parent of a child with developmental delays, know that in this particular book, Hopkins focuses on, heavily spotlights the use of oral language for teachers as they interact with students. While the information is helpful as I continue to think about learning in new ways (nice idea generator for me), I will have to modify many of Hopkins' suggestions for a child with delays in areas of language that include spoken language.

Table of Contents

About the Author
About the National Institute for Learning Development
1 The Intelligence Dilemma
2 A Way Out of the Pressure Cooker
3 What Every Teacher Needs
4 The Big Picture
5 Setting Students Free
6 The Power of Oral Language
7 Moving Beyond Memorization
8 Those Inner Voices
9 Potential or Propensity?
10 Rediscovering the Joy

The NILD web site is HERE.

Teaching How to Learn in a What-to-Learn Culture
Kathleen R. Hopkins
ISBN: 978-0-470-34352-4
176 pages
April 2010, Jossey-Bass
US $24.95

Jossey-Bass Teacher, an Imprint of Wiley, sent me a review copy of "Teaching How to Learn in a What-to-Learn Culture". I am not financially compensated for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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