@nickmilo Thank you @bbain for these valuable insights. I hope you don’t mind my follow-up questions; please don’t feel obligated to spend too much time on your responses.
It occurred to us that all new information or ideas must support, extend, or challenge existing ideas or information you already have and that has led to those verbs being cognitive tools for students but that is another story .
@nickmilo When time allows, I would like to hear more about this
Years ago, we were working on an R&D project in curriculum with high school students in Detroit. The students “read” texts just as I did when I was in high school – skimming it to find sentences to copy to “answer” teacher assigned or questions at back of text. I don’t think I ever read a complete chapter while a high school student, simply skimmed and copied enough to get me a check or a “C”. No active reader or thinker I, but active skimmer! I “studented” my way through high school, not learning much. And we were seeing “studenting” among students with whom we were working.
We puzzled over what made more thoughtful, active readers and started tracking briefly our “no-longer-studenting” reading practices. We concluded that before reading something we had some theory or conjecture about what we’d find there, no matter how vague or naïve. Then, what we were reading either “supported” or “extended” or "challenged’ our pre-reading ideas.
No great insight, really, as others like Piaget had asserted similar things in a far more nuanced language (assimilation/ assimilating and accommodation/accommodating ).
However, my colleagues and I wondered if we could turn those thinking verbs – support, extend, challenge – into cognitive tools students could use to do less studenting and more thinking when reading.
So, we trialed a new approach to assigned reading in our R&D work:
- Asked students first for a freewrite conjecture about the topic so students could see what they thought.
- Then assigned reading by asking students to identify or explain how the text “supported,” “extended” or “challenged” their thinking.
Turned out to have some power. Students began to look at texts in relation to their thinking and not some pre-packaged questions teachers asked.
We’ve used this in every curricular project since (about 18 years of it). I use in my own teaching, often employing those verbs when reading multiple texts (e.g., how does Dewey’s essay support, extend, or challenge piece by Thorndike? In what ways do they support, extend, or challenge your thinking about learning?)
On last thing: I use those verbs in my re-purposing my notes when working in earnest on a problem I need to write about or teach. The verbs become “functional” tags that define a relationship among notes or ideas – these support each other, or extend each other, or challenge each other.
I tag notes by subject or topic as everyone does, and then if it comes to mind, I also tag about the “function” it plays in relationship to other topics or notes: how it supports, extends, or challenges another note or topic. If not immediately evident then the “functional” level of tagging comes when I’m working with notes later – and now in MOC, I learned from you.
I could give an example on research report we just finished and sent out but I’ve gone on far too long as it is.
Does that make sense? And, sorry for going on so long – you did ask though