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speaking of "Sequential Learning..."


From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jun 02 2002 - 13:37:43 PDT

Speaking of Sequential Learning, San D....I was perusing recently thru some
Sequential Learning discussions online to see if I couldn't find ways in
better handling my 5th and 6th graders.

First of all...I do not think their homeroom teachers this year did what
they should have to insist on them learning simple things like raising a
hand to ask a question. I had such a hard time with my one 5th grade class
this year, that I decided to waste a couple periods just getting my
expectations from them understood. I was fed up with their rudeness, and
could hardly introduce a new project. I was sick and tired after explaining
and demonstrating of three and four students asking "what are we supposed
to do now?"

So, about a month ago I introduced a mixed media drawing project...but did
it with a reading I put together. Each was to read five steps explaining
how to do this project, then on the back they took a five question test on
what they had just read. THEN, we exchanged papers to grade. It took the
whole stinkin' period of 45 minutes to get thru this...and a real wrestling
with wills to get them to realize that they had to raise a hand to ask a
question, nor could they talk to their neighbor. Talking out of turn as a
violation might incur some additional writing.

One boy...starting talking, and I asked him if he had raised his hand? He
said, "I don't have to...I'm talking to myself!" and he stated his right to
talk to himself. hahahha....... well, I proceeded to clue him in that in
my room even talking to one's self would need permission when I am demanding
silence and everyone to pay attention.

Needless to say, they did not like that class period, and after asking if
they wanted to start each class period this way....they are now reminding
each other with some fear that "Mr Seiler" has the floor! (they got this
when I was calling on students to talk, and others would interrupt or be
rude. I'd say, "excuse me...Ms or Mr So and so...has the floor! Raise your
hand, and you will get a turn!"). I was floored that their reaction was
nearly in disbelief that I would expect such, as though I were being rude.
Wouldn't it be nice that some discipline things were worked out in other
rooms so that it wouldn't seem strange to them when they came to your room?

Oh any rate, I was wondering if a few others here have given
thought thru ways to reach kids that have trouble focusing,
concentrating....disciplining themselves, etc? I came across this
interesting paper by Jim Cassily on a theory of sequential learning. The
problems associated with learning where concentration is an issue, whereby
no teaching theory is likely to work. Interesting too, that he figures
1/10th of one percent of all persons use their peak potential level of
concentration whereby attributing to their success as artists, musicians,
athletes, scientists etc., though...he attributes such potential to
"genetics." That sort of comment attributing to genetics bothers me though,
because that is a similar argument the Germans used during WWII in their
thinking of superior races.
At any rate, here is Jim's paper, and I would just be curious to everyone's
thoughts here as it pertains to classroom management, learning, absorbing
and understanding, etc; -Larry