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Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

MAY 2001
Volume 2 Number 5

Harry & Rosemary Wong offer advice on motivating your students. Tune in to this month's Gazette cover story and pick up tips from the experts to enhance your students' performance....
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
Alfie Kohn Article
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
BCL Classroom by Kim Tracy
Around the Block With...
The Unsinkable Sub
Interview: Cheryl Sigmon
Role Of The Online Teacher
Browser Maintenance
Poetic License Information
Learning Improvement Tools
Mars Society Contest For Students
Book Review: Cloud Woman
Family Library Visit
Stellar Walk of Fame
Emotions of A Sight Impaired Child
SFA and Research
Poll: Do You Hoard Supplies?
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Humor from the Classroom
Letters to the Editor
New in the Lesson Bank
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
Gazette Back Issues
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Marvin Marshall...
Marvin Marshall is a professional speaker and seminar leader who presents his program, "Discipline without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards - Raise Responsibility and Promote Learning," to schools across the world.

His program was developed upon his returning to full-time teaching after 24 years of counseling, supervision, and administration. He has taught primary and upper elementary grades and has been an elementary school principal. He has taught all middle grades and has been a middle school counselor and assistant principal. He has taught all high school grades and has been a high school counselor, assistant principal of supervision and control, assistant principal of curriculum and instruction, and high school principal. He has also served as a district director of education.

Dr. Marshall, who is certified by the William Glasser Institute, presents for Phi Delta Kappa International, for several leading seminar companies, and for schools and school districts. His presentation schedule is on the calendar of his website.

In his book Discipline without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards - How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning, he clearly and concisely demonstrates how the external approaches of relying on rules, imposing consequences, rewarding students for appropriate behavior, and punishing students to make them obey are all counterproductive.

The book can be purchased from the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National School Boards Association, Phi Delta Kappa, at local bookstores, or from his website Questions submitted to Kathleen Carpenter at will be considered by Marv Marshall for responses in future monthly columns in the Teachers.Net Gazette.

Click to visit Marvin Marshall's Homepage.

Promoting Learning
by Dr. Marvin Marshall

Reflection And Self-Evaluation - Part 1

Learning is not compulsory, but neither is survival.

      -- W. Edwards Deming

Reflection is a powerful teaching and learning strategy that is too often overlooked. The key to reflection is the skill of asking self-evaluative questions. It is the most effective, yet neglected, strategy both in learning and in dealing with people. Using this skill also reinforces the other two practices of positivity and choice.

Reflection And Learning

Reflection is necessary for long-term memory reinforcement. Its absence in the learning process can be likened to chewing-but not swallowing. The food is tasted, but unless it is digested, there is no nutritional value. Before elementary students leave a subject or middle and high school students leave a classroom, teachers should lead students to reflect upon the lesson. "John Dewey phrased this concept in a formula: "Experience + Reflection = Growth."

In order to create meaning from a new informational experience, we need "internalizing time." The human brain is a meaning-seeking organism. Much of what we are exposed to in learning happens so fast that we need time to process it. The brain continues to process information before and long after we are aware of it. This is the reason why many of our ideas seem to "pop out of the blue." For this reason, a teacher can either call for learners' attention to new information or have them make meaning-but not both at the same time. This "down time" (which is not really down), is a significant step for enhancing long-term memory.

Cramming more content per minute or moving from one piece of learning to the next without reflection virtually guarantees that little will be retained. Planning time for reflection also encourages students to let the teacher know when they did not understand or did not get a point the teacher made.

A quick-check technique is for the teacher to stop every so often and say, "In case you did not understand something, you and your partner write it down and turn it into me, and I'll read it over." Often, students will ask a question about something that the teacher thought was made clear but for some students was unclear.

A good way to promote reflection at the end of a class period is for students to keep a daily learning log. Students jot down at least one thought they had as a result of the lesson and explain the significance of the thought. Helpful prompt questions are, "What did I learn today?" "What do I need to work on tomorrow?" "In what did I do well?" and "What could I have done differently?" The questions asked are often more valuable than the answers.

A "keeper journal" is another reflective approach and has the advantage of feeling more personal. Students write down one comment, thought, or learning that they would like to keep (remember). If such a journal were started at the beginning of a typical American school year (although the activity can be started any time), each student would accumulate 170-200 specific remembrances from a teacher. What a wonderful way to extend a teacher's influence.

(Continued next month)

Past Gazette Articles by Dr. Marshall:

Dr. Marshall's website:
Email Dr. Marshall:
© Dr. Marvin Marshall, 2001.