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Dimensions of Learning Trainer's Manual
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The premise of Dimensions of Learning an instructional framework founded on the best of what researchers and theorists know about learning is that five types, or dimensions, of thinking are essential to successful learning. These are (1) positive attitudes and perceptions about learning, (2) thinking involved in acquiring and integrating knowledge, (3) thinking involved in extending and refining knowledge, (4) thinking involved in using knowledge meaningfully, and (5) productive habits of mind. Dimensions of Learning is a valuable tool for reorganizing curriculum, instruction, and assessment.The authors discuss each of the five dimensions in detail and describe hundreds of teaching strategies that support them for example, how to help students construct meaning for declarative knowledge, internalize procedural knowledge, and see the relevance of what they are expected to learn. The authors provide many examples at the elementary and secondary classroom levels. Teachers of grades K 12 can use this information to improve teaching and learning in any content area.HOW THIS MANUAL DIFFERS FROM THE 1ST EDITION:Since Dimensions of Learning was published, it has been a resource for thousands of educators. The model, along with its accompanying materials, has been used in many different ways, including as a resource for instructional strategies, a framework for organizing school improvement and staff development efforts, a structure for planning curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and a focus for systemic reform.Educators consistently say that the most powerful reason for using Dimensions of Learning is that no matter what goal they are pursuing, the model helps them maintain a focus on learning.Just as Dimensions of Learning has provided much to educators, much also has been given back. Users of the model have been diligent in their efforts to understand the model and to make it a positive force in the classroom. As they have worked, they have provided extensive feedback to the trainers and developers, not only about their successes but also about how they have adapted the materials. This feedback, and the fact that we continue to learn about learning, has motivated the development of the second edition of the Dimensions of Learning materials.Improved Teacher's ManualThe new Dimensions of Learning Teacher's Manual is modeled after the first edition, but a number of changes in format and content should make it an even more valuable resource. Some of the changes are summarized below.1. "Systems analysis" has been added to the list of reasoning processes in Dimension 4. This addition provides a way to help students use their understanding of systems (e.g., ecosystems, systems of government, and number systems) to analyze the interactions among parts of a system or to predict what might happen when parts of a system are altered. Like the other reasoning processes in this dimension (decision making, problem solving, invention, investigation, and experimental inquiry), systems analysis can be applied across content areas and at any developmental level.2. There is increased emphasis on the importance of clearly identifying declarative and procedural knowledge during unit planning. The chapter covering Dimension 2, Acquiring and Integrating Knowledge, provides direction for identifying and organizing declarative knowledge using common organizational patterns: descriptions (organizing facts and information important to identified vocabulary terms), time sequences, process/cause effect relationships, episodes, generalizations/principles, and concepts. Although most of these patterns were identified in the first edition of the manual, the second edition uses them to organize declarative knowledge in the unit planning process.In the planning section for procedural knowledge, we recommend that knowledge be identified clearly during planning and that if a very general process, or macro process, is targeted, the specific skills that are components of that process be articulated.3. The planning process for Dimension 2 now includes examples of planning both with and without standards and benchmarks. These examples are offered because most states and many districts are actively engaged in identifying standards and benchmarks that is, the knowledge that all students should have an opportunity to learn. Thus, teachers should use these standards and benchmarks as they identify the declarative and procedural knowledge that students should be acquiring and integrating, extending and refining, and using meaningfully.4. Educators who have used Dimensions of Learning to plan curriculum have been fairly consistent in their feedback about the need for additional suggestions for addressing Dimension 5, Habits of Mind. In the second edition, the chapter on this dimension has been reorganized and expanded. We offer specific recommendations for helping students understand the habits of mind, helping students identify and develop strategies related to the habits of mind, creating a culture in the classroom and school that encourages the development and use of the habits of mind, and providing positive reinforcement to students who exhibit the habits of mind.A new section provides a brief explanation of each of the 15 habits of mind, as well as examples of situations in which each habit could be important and sample strategies used by people who exemplify the habits.5. Those who use the Dimensions of Learning model have consistently requested additional resources for the reasoning processes in Dimensions 3 and 4. To this end, the new manual includes, for each reasoning process, an expanded explanation, key points to keep in mind when using the process in the classroom, and sample tasks that have been used in K 12 classrooms. 6. At the end of the manual, a chapter entitled "Putting It All Together" (similar to the same section in the first edition) reviews planning questions for each dimension, explains models for different planning sequences, and reviews the entire sample unit. A new assessment section in this chapter walks the reader through the decisions about assessment that must be made during the planning process. Issues related to the use of conventional and performance assessments are discussed, and recommendations for the use of rubrics are provided. A grade book has been filled in with grades for hypothetical students in a classroom implementing the sample unit that is developed throughout the manual. This assessment section should be much more useful to the reader than the forms provided in the first edition. It provides a comprehensive approach to assessment.7. Anyone familiar with the first edition of the Teacher's Manual will notice a number of changes in the format of the second edition. The most notable is the addition of "marginalia." When appropriate, the text of the manual is supplemented with information in the margins, including references for books, articles, additional readings, or classroom materials relevant to the topic; quotes from teachers who have been using Dimensions of Learning in their classrooms; brief descriptions of schoolwide or districtwide efforts to implement various aspects of the model; relevant "quotable quotes" from well known people; and visual representations of important information explained in the text.8. An index makes it easy to find information on particular topics.The second edition of the Dimensions of Learning Teacher's Manual preserves everything that made the first edition useful and provides additional strategies, ideas, and examples that will help the experienced user as well as the novice. As always, we appreciate feedback from educators in the field and look forward to hearing from those who are using this second generation of Dimensions of Learning materials to enhance student learning.
ASCD; May 2011
485 pages; ISBN 9781416613473
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485 pages; ISBN 9781416613473
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