Meet two future teachers putting learning science into action
Making a career change isn’t easy, but Roxanne Biedermann sees teaching as a way to create a more just world. After spending two decades in finance and at home with her children, she entered Temple University’s educator-preparation program to launch a second career as an early elementary teacher. There, she’s learned about how to use high-quality questions to prompt effortful thinking.
“It is so important to use research-based practices in your teaching. Learning science is a proven, effective method for students to learn and have deeper understanding and more long-term memory. It really is the road to equitable education for all of your students. By encouraging them to think deeply in the early years, you set the foundation for all future learning,” she said.
Last year, she completed her practicum in an under-resourced district in Philadelphia. The school’s curriculum was outdated, and teachers were making up lessons or pulling them off of sites like Teachers Pay Teachers. Biedermann pulled from her learning science toolkit to make sure her students were still prompted to do the deep thinking she knew they were capable of and that would help them learn the information.
“With effortful-thinking questions, you can make those lessons ten times better,” she said. “It’s free, and you don’t need an expensive curriculum. Even if you don’t have a ton of resources, you can still ask questions that encourage deep thinking and processing.”
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Ginger Brooker has known she wanted to be a teacher ever since she was little, when her parents used to catch her instructing classrooms of stuffed animals. Back then, she didn’t know about the importance of focusing her students’ attention, but during her time at American University that’s shifted. While earning her master’s degree in teaching and working as a classroom paraprofessional, she’s practiced instructional decision-making rooted in learning science.
“I’ve seen from being an assistant teacher that not all teachers have a background in the science of learning. Sometimes, teachers place an emphasis on the activity, rather than the learning. So the class ends up doing some sort of cutting or gluing activity that in the end is only focusing their attention on cutting and gluing, it’s not focusing their attention on the skill we want them to master or even the content area,” she said. “It ends up being a missed opportunity, and that could happen every day. That’s the worst thing that could happen in education, is to have every day be a missed opportunity. You want to make sure that every day is meaningful. By knowing about how students learn, then we can actually plan lessons that address all the components of learning.”
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Learn more about how future teachers are putting learning science into action by downloading our new report, Deepening Meaning and Learning. Explore stories and data that illustrate how future teachers are redesigning their instruction using learning science.