There has been lots of beginning of year activity on a relatively new Advanced Placement Psychology Teacher Group. There have been some amazing resources shared on there that I/we will be sharing on the THSP blog soon. For now, here is the link to the group. Click the link to join--but be sure you are a teacher.
I met Annie Murphy Paul (@anniemurphypaul) on Twitter, and she sent me this fascinating article about what Cognitive researchers are calling the "Testing Effect" (in the article, some researchers talk about renaming it "Retrieval Practice")
It's a good read: summarizes several studies that show how we can (and should) "treat tests as occasions for learning" rather than simply grading/evaluation tools. It's based on a fairly simple and intuitive idea: frequent, small "tests" of understanding (e.g. interrupting readings or a lecture with a multiple short questions that all students have to answer and think about) increase the chances that learners will be able to retrieve the information later. The article includes several practical classroom examples.
This could be a GREAT discussion during the Cognition unit (especially if you talk about Cognition early in the course and discuss effective studying methods).
A few quotes from the article that summarize the findings:
"Every time a student calls up knowledge from memory, that memory changes. Its mental representation becomes stronger, more stable and more accessible."
"Our minds are sensitive to the likelihood that we'll need knowledge at a future time, and if we retrieve a piece of information now, there's a good chance we'll need it again,”
“The process of retrieving a memory alters that memory in anticipation of demands we may encounter in the future.”
As a former psychology teacher and current assessment specialist, I'm fascinated by the possibilities: can we figure out efficient and effective ways to help students "quiz" themselves while studying? While listening to a lecture? While reading their text? How should these findings influence students as they study for your tests, and/or the AP or IB test? Hmm. Any of you have thoughts or techniques to share?
Unlike most of you, my school year begins tomorrow, and so my chance to do an amazing play-by-play post about the AP Annual Conference last month in Austin has vanished, just like those carefree days of summer. Alas.
Maria Vita and Virginia Welle
So I'm simply going to tell you that it was Amazing, Awe-inspiring, and Affirming to be in one place with such great colleagues. I know that these conferences are expensive and travel is challenging, but it's a terrific way to get top-notch professional development. Start bugging your principals now about how you can get funds to attend next year's conference in Anaheim or the 2017 conference in DC.
Charlie Blair-Broeker and Randy Ernst
Here are links to the presentations shared by psychology teachers. I do not yet have a link to Kimberly Patterson's presentation, but will add it when I do. (NOTE: each of these is a visual accompaniment to a PRESENTATION - so some/many of the slides may not make sense on their own. Please contact the presenters directly if you have questions!)
Participants doing an activity, with Kimberly Patterson (far right)