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Week 8: Cognitive Processes of Learning, Teaching inductively and for Concept Attainment, and Exploring the influence of Socio-Economic Status in Choice of Teaching Methods



Socio-Economic Status and School Practice:

What Researchers Found (Anyon 1980)


Working-Class School

  • Emphasis on following directions
  • Little explanation for purpose of work
  • Worksheet-driven
  • Get task done, not promote critical thinking
  • Conformity
  • Routine and rote preparation


Middle-Class School

  • Get right answers
  • Get good grades
  • Focus on text not student interests
  • Little creativity
  • Getting into college


Affluent Professional School

  • Encourage student self-expression
  • Apply their learning to real life
  • Negotiations between teacher and students
  • Foster decision-making skills
  • Promote a sense of responsibility for one’s learning


Executive Elite School

  • Develop analytic skills
  • Make judgments about the best answer
  • Independent project-driven
  • Reasoning instead of rules
  • Promote self-directedness and self-confidence
  • Preparation for life of leadership



1.        After reading the Anyon reading, classify the school you are most familiar with into one of the following: Working-class school, Middle-class school, Affluent professional school, or Executive elite school. 


2.       What factors contribute to this situation?


3.       What are the problems with a differential curriculum based on SES level?


4.       What is the likely result of giving certain “cultural capital” only to some?


5.       With regard to what and how we teach, what is our responsibility;

·         To our employer?

·         To our community?

·         To our students?


Instructional Choices Exercise


Borich separates models of instruction into 2 categories - Direct and Indirect.


On p. 229, Borich outlines some instructional “events” that fall under either direct or indirect classifications.


It may help to conceive these two types of thinking within their contrasting frameworks characterized by the following diagram:



Direct Models

Indirect Models































Direct Instruction (i.e., Hunter, Gagne, etc.)

Part- Whole teaching

Mastery Learning

Discovery learning

Inquiry-based learning

Problem-based learning


A good place to start when initiating your instructional planning may be taking your learning objectives and decide what type of model would best facilitate their achievement.  While there is technically no absolute right or wrong answer (some teachers are relatively effective teaching almost exclusively out of one model), most learning could best be achieved using an approach that best fits its nature. Classify the following learning outcomes as either - better suited to a direct instructional model or better suited to an indirect instructional model.


·         supply and demand

·         how to tell time

·         how to draw a human face

·         latitude and longitude

·         the plot of a story


  • how to use a computer application
  • states and their capitals
  • division
  • how to tie one’s shoes
  • how to treat people well/nicely




 Inductive Concept Attainment Sequence


In this exercise students explore concrete items and through logical investigation they form an understanding of a concept.  The model defined here is an inductive process, because it moves from specifics to a generalization.


Step 1: Explore items

Examine the characteristics of the following items.



Step 2: List characteristics

Describe the qualities of the items that are similar to one another.





Step 3: Develop a definition

Synthesize the characteristics of the items that have been listed into a concise definition.



Step 4: Select an appropriate label

Identify the common label for the concept or invent one that makes sense.



Step 5: Classify new items

Identify new items as examples or non-examples of the concept, given the definition that has been developed.


Wirtz Article:


Given an inquiry-based learning situation, describe the events of the learning activity using this chart below.  Identify the specific learning event on the chart using the numbers provided to identify intersections.  Explain the movement of the lesson from more concrete to more abstract.


                                    Manipulative             Representational               Abstract


Remembering                           1                                  2                                  3



Solving                         4                                  5                                  6



Investigating                              7                                  8                                  9






What are the results of using the following types of questioning patterns?

·         randomly calling on students

·         asking for volunteers

·         calling on the student first, then asking the question

·         looking for student who seem unprepared

·         calling on students in a pattern or sequence (i.e., around a circle)


What are the results of the following responses to student responses to questions?

·         praise to correct answers

·         criticism to wrong answers

·         praise to all answers

·         rephrasing the student’s answer into your own words


What is the benefit of Wait time?