KONSTRUKTIVISME: Strategi Belajar-Mengajar

Tatang M. Amirin; 21 Mei 2010

Ini tulisan awal untuk disempurnakan di masa dekat.

Konstruktivisme itu salah satu aliran (mazhab, “school”) dalam psikologi pendidikan (dan juga filsafat). Inti dari pandangan mazhab ini adalah bahwa:

(1) Orang yang belajar (pelajar, murid, mahasiswa) itu akan membuat konstruksi “bangunan pengetahuannya” sendiri ketika mendapatkan stimulus berupa informasi dari guru atau dosen. Artinya apa yang kemudian tersusun (terkonstruk) dalam “kepala” murid/mahasiswa itu bisa berbeda satu sama lain walau materi yang diajarkan guru/dosen sama. Lebih-lebih jika stimulus (rangsangan–sesuatu yang dilihat, didengar, diraba, diinformasikan dsb) itu bukan pelajaran, semisal  melihat gambar pedang. Ada yang mungkin membayangkan pandai besi di dekat rumahnya yang biasa membuat pisau, ada yang membayangkan perang tanding pakai pedang yang pernah ditontonnya di televisi, ada pula yang membayangkan betapa mahal harga emas dan pernak-pernik yang ada di hulu pedang. Ini terjadi karena dalam “kepala” orang itu ada pengetahuan yang sudah dimiliki yang berasosiasi (terkait dengan, mencampuri, mengolah) stimulus baru tersebut, seperti contoh bayangan di kepala tentang pedang tadi. Mau baca lanjut, klik di sini!

CONTEXTUAL TEACHING AND LEARNING

Tatang M. Amirin; 7 Maret 2010

Istilah “contextual teaching and learning” (“contextual teaching-learning”) yang kerap disingkat menjadi CTL, sudah banyak dikenal guru. Akan tetapi, mengenai apa dan bagaimana CTL itu, kerap kali para guru masih kebingungan, atau belum paham benar. Di bawah ini dipaparkan uraian Susan Jones Sears dari The Ohio State University, yang diunduh-tampilkan di internet 23 Februari 2010. Paparannya berbentuk “power point.”

Sebelum itu, agar lebih mempermudah pemahaman, perlu diperjelas dulu secara kebahasaan apa pengertian kontekstual (yang sesuai dengan konteks) itu. Mari kita berajar ke pelajaran bahasa. Sering kita dengar ucapan semisal, “Agar tidak salah paham, maka kita harus lihat kata-kata yang ia ucapkan itu dalam konteks apa.” Ambil contoh ada orang mengatakan begini, “Gila, ia benar-benar bisa melakukannya!” Tentu kata “gila” di situ tidak untuk menyatakan bahwa orang yang dijadikan pokok tuturan itu orang yang gila. “Konteksnya” kekaguman (ada orang yang benar-benar bisa melakukan sesuatu yang tampak mustahil).

Contoh yang “suka salah” adalah “Fitnah itu lebih keji dari pembunuhan.” Kata fitnah di situ konteksnya kerap dikaitkan dengan “tuduhan berbuat salah” (yang berbau “tanpa bukti yang pasti atau jelas-tegas”). Mau baca lebih lanjut, klik di sini!

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING – LEARNING THROUGH EXPERIENCE

Tatang M. Amirin;  5 Maret 2010

Judul di atas “meminjam” judul artikel Meetu yang diedit dan dipublikasikan jen2008 pada 24 Februari 2010 (online). Tulisan Meetu, berbanding berbagai tulisan tentang experiential learning lainnya, lebih mudah untuk dipahami dan dipraktekkan oleh banyak orang (para guru, terutama). Paparannya jauh lebih mudah dipahami dibandingkan ide tokoh paling populer tentang experiential learning, Kolb.

Apa itu “experiential learning”? Seperti dipertegas oleh judul di atas “experiential learning” itu merupakan belajar melalui pengalaman (lebih tepatnya BELAJAR DENGAN MENGALAMI SENDIRI).

Hati-hati: Learning dalam bahasa Inggeris itu bisa mengandung arti proses atau kegiatan belajar (mempelajari sesuatu), bisa pula mengandung arti “telah mempelajari” sesuatu (tahu, paham, bisa melakukan dan sebagainya). Jadi “learning through experience” itu bisa mengandung arti menjadi tahu, paham, atau bisa melakukan sesuatu (“berpengetahuan”) dengan atau melalui pengalaman (mengalami sesuatu).

Apa sih yang dimaksud dengan “pengalaman” itu? Mau baca lanjut, klik di sini!

JIGSAW LEARNING – Apa itu?

Tatang M. Amirin; 6 Februari 2010

Tahu permainan jigsaw? Nah, ini contohnya.

Ada sesuatu benda (gambar) yang dipotong-potong tidak beraturan menjadi beberapa potongan. Potongan-potongan itu dilepas-lepas, sehingga tidak membentuk suatu struktur. Tugas pemain adalah menyatukan potongan-potongan tersebut menjadi satu kesatuan gambar (membentuk gambar) yang utuh dan benar (tepat), tampak ujud gambarnya, misalnya jika gambar burung, ya menjadi gambar burung yang benar.

Proses belajar-mengajar (PBM) dengan menggunakan teknik jigsaw itu merupakan PBM yang menggunakan pendekatan kerja sama (“cooperative learning”) di antara para siswanya dengan berfalsafahkan permainan jigsaw, bukan bermain-main dengan mainan jigsaw (jigsaw puzzles sebagai alat permainan). Kelas dibagi-bagi menjadi “seperti potongan-potongan jigsaw” (kelompok-kelompok). Dalam hal ini diharapkan kelas merupakan satu kesatuan yang utuh (seperti satu gambar jigsaw, misalnya burung, tadi). Jika kelas dibagi-bagi menjadi kelompok-kelompok itu, maka setiap kelompok ibarat bagian dari jigsaw, satu sama lain harus saling melengkapi. Orang per orang murid (dalam kelompok) pun ibarat potongan jigsaw,  setiap murid harus menjadi (dianggap, diperlakukan sebagai) bagian penting dari kelompok tersebut. Itu intinya; seperti bagian (potongan) gambar burung yang menjadi bagian penting dari keutuhan gambar burung yang harus terbentuk dari potongan jigsaw tadi.

Teknik jigsaw dikembangkan oleh Profesor Aronson di Austin, Teksas, tahun 1971. Pada ketika itu di sekolah-sekolah terjadi percampuran murid dari berbagai etnis, anak kulit putih, anak kulit hitam Afro-Amerika, dan juga hispanik. Sering terjadi benturan dan keributan di antara mereka karena prasangka rasial yang tinggi. Profesor Alonson dan mahasiswa-mahasiswanya dipanggil untuk menangani kasus tersebut. Setelah melakukan berbagai amatan dan wawancara, lalu dikembangkanlah PBM dengan teknik jigsaw. PBM bernuansa jigsaw itu pada dasarnya  merupakan kegiatan belajar murid lewat kerjasama terancang (designed cooperation learning). Tujuan utamanya menumbuhkan kesalingterimaan murid (antar ras, multikulutral), mengembangkan rasa salingpercaya dan salingdukung, serta, tentu, meningkatkan prestasi belajar secara bersama (untuk semua murid).

Kegiatan belajar dengan teknik jigsaw itu tentu harus dirancang dengan memperhatikan materi pelajaran yang akan dipelajari. Tegasnya, tidak setiap materi pelajaran akan cocok atau tepat diajarkan melalui teknik jigsaw. Materi pelajaran (pokok bahasan) harus memuat relatif banyak bagian (subpokok bahasan) yang akan dipelajari oleh setiap anak dari sesuatu kelompok.  Setelah tiap-tiap anak mempelajari bagian materi masing-masing, materi (bagian materi) itu akan “diceriterakan” atau dijelaskan oleh setiap anak pada kelompoknya.

Jadi, setiap anak harus mempelajari sendiri subpokok bahasan tertentu, lalu  “mengajarkannya” pada teman sekelompoknya. Setiap kelompok terdiri atas 4-5 orang anak, dan pada setiap kelompok ditunjuk salah satu anak yang dianggap “matang” dalam belajar, menjadi ketua kelompok. Kelompok harus beragam etnis, budaya, kemampuan (kecerdasan) belajar, jenis kelamin, dan lain-lain.

Oleh karena setiap anak harus mempelajari sendiri materi bagiannya (dan dijaga jangan sampai mempelajari materi bagian anak lain), maka:

(1) Guru (perpustakaan sekolah) harus menyediakan bacaan materi tersebut  secara terpisah-pisah, agar satu orang anak tidak mempelajari materi lain yang bukan bagiannya, karena materi lain ada di situ menjadi gabungan;

(2) Waktu kegiatan dibatasi, dan seketika itu juga akan ada ulangan atau tes. Ini dimaksudkan agar setiap anak fokus pada bagiannya karena waktunya terbatas. Jika banyak waktu luang, apalagi diselingi hari, akan memungkinkan anak mempelajari bagian lain.

Dengan cara itu, maka jika tes meliputi semua materi, jika ada anak yang tidak memperhatikan materi yang “diajarkan” temannya, ia tidak akan tahu (menguasai) materi tersebut, yang dapat berakibat ia tak bisa menjawab tes. Begitu pula jika temannya itu tak bisa menerangkan dengan cukup, maka semua anak di kelompoknya akan mengalami “ketidaktahuan” materi yang akan diteskan secara lengkap.

Seperti telah disebutkan,  di setiap kelompok ada satu anak yang akan mempelajari bagian materi pelajaran tertentu. Sebelum si anak masuk dan mengajari temannya di kelompoknya, anak tersebut berkumpul dengan sesama anak yang punya tugas sama dari kelompok lain. Dalam kelompok bertugas khusus itu, mereka mendiskusikan apa yang harus dipelajari, dan mempelajarinya sampai mereka punya materi yang memadai. Tidak harus hapal, karena waktu mengajari temannya bisa sambil buka catatan. Hapal tentu lebih baik, sehingga lancar saat menerangkan.

Jelas dengan demikian bahwa setiap anak akan dua kali “bersosialisasi” dalam keberagaman etnis dll.  Pertama, dalam gabungan anggota kelompok dengan tugas sejenis, dan kedua, dengan kelompok bentukan semula tempat ia akan menerangkan materi pelajaran kepada teman-temannya.

Dalam kasus di Austin, ada satu anak yang bernama Carol yang sangat tertekan karena ia kulit hitam, terbiasa berada di lingkungan kulit hitam di desanya, tiba-tiba harus bercampur dalam kelas di kota yang banyak anak kulit putihnya. Ia minder, karena juga bahasa Inggrisnya, walau lancar, tapi banyak dialek yang aneh di telinga anak kulit putih.

Di sisi lain, anak-anak itu, agak beda mungkin dengan di Indonesia, sangat kompetitif, masing-masing ingin menunjukkan kepintarannya. Jadi, ketika guru bertanyakan sesuatu, banyak anak yang tinggi-tinggian mengacungkan jari, bahkan sampai naik ke atas kursi, agar ditanya oleh guru. Mereka kecewa jika tidak ditunjuk. Sebaliknya, yang “tak tahu jawaban” duduk diam, pucat pasi, ketakutan, kuatir ditunjuk juga.

Dalam kegiatan di kelompoknya, pada mulanya Carol sering jadi ejekan dan cemoohan, selain karena kulit hitamnya, juga karena bahasanya. Anak-anak suka bilang “Kamu bodoh, bahasa Inggris saja tak bisa.” Anggota kelompoknya kerap tak peduli dengan yang diomongkan Carol, sehingga Carol tambah grogi dan frustrasi. Gurunya (yang sudah dilatih baik), memberi peringatan dengan mengatakan bahwa tesnya akan diadakan lima belas menit lagi. Jika anak-anak tidak mendengarkan penjelasan Carol, maka bisa jadi tidak bisa menjawab soal tes, karena tak tahu apa yang diterangkan Carol.

Sejak saat itu mulailah anak-anak yang lain (karena ingin berhasil tes dengan baik) memperhatikan “pelajaran” dari Carol. Bahkan, jika Carol ada kesulitan dalam bahasa dan penguasaan materi, mereka membantu menuntunnya agar benar menguasainya dan mampu menyampaikannya dengan bai9k dan benar. Sejak saat itu pulalah Carol merasa anak-anak lain benar-benar teman, dan anak yang lain pun merasa Carol benar-benar teman yang dibutuhkan (sebagai bagian dari jigshaw kelompok).

Nah, ingin tahu lebih lanjut tentang PBM berjigsaw itu? Baca naskah aslinya berikut.

History of the Jigsaw
An Account from Professor Aronson

The jigsaw classroom was first used in 1971 in Austin, Texas. My graduate students and I had invented the jigsaw strategy that year, as a matter of absolute necessity to help defuse an explosive situation. The city’s schools had recently been desegregated, and because Austin had always been racially segregated, white youngsters, African-American youngsters, and Hispanic youngsters found themselves in the same classrooms for the first time.

Within a few weeks, long-standing suspicion, fear, and distrust between groups produced an atmosphere of turmoil and hostility. Fist-fights erupted in corridors and schoolyards across the city. The school superintendent called me in to see if we could do anything to help students get along with one another. After observing what was going on in classrooms for a few days, my students and I concluded that inter-group hostility was being fueled by the competitive environment of the classroom.

Let me explain. In every classroom we observed, the students worked individually and competed against each other for grades. Here is a description of a typical fifth grade classroom that we observed:

The teacher stands in front of the class, asks a question, and waits for the children to signal that they know the answer. Most often, six to ten youngsters raise their hands, lifting themselves off their chairs and stretching their arms as high as they can in an effort to attract the teacher’s attention. Several other students sit quietly with their eyes averted, hoping the teacher does not call on them.

When the teacher calls on one of the eager students, there are looks of disappointment on the faces of the other students who had tried to get the teacher’s attention. If the selected student comes up with the right answer, the teacher smiles, nods approvingly, and goes on to the next question. In the meantime, the students who didn’t know the answer breathe a sigh of relief. They have escaped being humiliated this time

It took only a few days of observation and interviews for us to see what was going on in these classrooms. We realized that we needed to shift the emphasis from a relentlessly competitive atmosphere to a more cooperative one. It was in this context that we invented the jigsaw strategy. Our first intervention was with fifth graders. First we helped several teachers devise a cooperative jigsaw structure for the students to learn about the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. We divided the students into small groups, diversified in terms of race, ethnicity and gender, making each student responsible for a specific part of Roosevelt’s biography. Needless to say, at least one or two of the students in each group were already viewed as “losers” by their classmates.

Carlos was one such student. Carlos was very shy and insecure in his new surroundings. English was his second language. He spoke it quite well, but with a slight accent. Try to imagine his experience: After attending an inadequately funded, substandard neighborhood school consisting entirely of Hispanic students like himself, he was suddenly bussed across town to the middle class area of the city and catapulted into a class with Anglo students who spoke English fluently, seemed to know much more than he did, and who were not reluctant to let him know it.

When we restructured the classroom so that students were now working together in small groups, this was initially terrifying to Carlos. Now he could no longer slink down in his chair and hide in the back of the room. The jigsaw structure made it necessary for him to speak up when it was his turn to recite. Although he had gained a little confidence by rehearsing together with others who were also studying Eleanor Roosevelt’s work with the United Nations, he was still reluctant to speak when it was his turn to teach the students in his jigsaw group. He blushed, stammered, and had difficulty covering the material he had learned. Skilled in the ways of the competitive classroom, the other students were quick to ridicule him.

One of my research assistants heard some members of Carlos’s group make comments such as, “You’re stupid. You don’t know what you’re doing. You can’t even speak English.” Instead of admonishing them to “be nice” or “try to cooperate,” she made one simple but powerful statement. It went something like this: “Talking like that to Carlos might be fun for you to do, but it’s not going to help you learn anything about what Eleanor Roosevelt accomplished at the United Nations–and the exam will be given in about 15 minutes.” In other words, she reminded the students that the situation had changed. The same behavior that might have been useful to them in the past, when they were competing against each other, was now going to cost them something very important: a chance to do well on the exam.

Needless to say, old, dysfunctional habits do not die easily. But they do die. Within a few days of working with jigsaw, Carlos’s group-mates gradually realized that they needed to change their tactics. It was no longer in their own best interest to rattle Carlos; they needed him to perform well in order to do well themselves. In effect, they had to put themselves in Carlos’s shoes in order to find a way to ask questions that didn’t undermine his performance.

After a week or two, most of Carlos’s group-mates developed into skillful interviewers, asking him relevant questions and helping him articulate clear answers. And as Carlos succeeded, his group-mates began to see him in a more positive light. Moreover, Carlos saw himself in a new light, as a competent member of the class who could work with others from different ethnic groups. His self-esteem grew, and as it grew, his performance improved even more. In addition, Carlos began to see his group-mates as friendly and supportive. The ethnic stereotypes that the Anglo kids held about Carlos and that Carlos held about the Anglo kids were in the process of changing dramatically. School became a more humane, exciting place, and absenteeism declined.

Within a few weeks, the success of the jigsaw was obvious. Teachers told us how pleased they were at the change in atmosphere. Visitors expressed amazement at the transformation. Needless to say, this was exciting to my graduate students and me. But as scientists, we needed more objective evidence–and we got it. Because we had randomly introduced the jigsaw intervention into some classrooms and not others, we were able to compare the progress of the jigsaw students with that of students in traditional classrooms. After only eight weeks there were clear differences, even though students spent only a small portion of their time in jigsaw groups. When tested objectively, jigsaw students expressed less prejudice and negative stereotyping, were more self-confident, and reported liking school better than children in traditional classrooms. Moreover, children in jigsaw classes were absent less often than were other students, and they showed greater academic improvement; poorer students in the jigsaw classroom scored significantly higher on objective exams than comparable students in traditional classes, while the good students continued to do as well as the good students in traditional classes.

Jigsaw in 10 Easy Steps

The jigsaw classroom is very simple to use. If you’re a teacher, just follow these steps:

1.    Divide students into 5- or 6-person jigsaw groups. The groups should be diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, and ability.

2.    Appoint one student from each group as the leader. Initially, this person should be the most mature student in the group.

3.    Divide the day’s lesson into 5-6 segments. For example, if you want history students to learn about Eleanor Roosevelt, you might divide a short biography of her into stand-alone segments on: (1) Her childhood, (2) Her family life with Franklin and their children, (3) Her life after Franklin contracted polio, (4) Her work in the White House as First Lady, and (5) Her life and work after Franklin’s death.

4.    Assign each student to learn one segment, making sure students have direct access only to their own segment.

5.    Give students time to read over their segment at least twice and become familiar with it. There is no need for them to memorize it.

6.    Form temporary “expert groups” by having one student from each jigsaw group join other students assigned to the same segment. Give students in these expert groups time to discuss the main points of their segment and to rehearse the presentations they will make to their jigsaw group.

7.    Bring the students back into their jigsaw groups.

8.    Ask each student to present her or his segment to the group. Encourage others in the group to ask questions for clarification.

9.    Float from group to group, observing the process. If any group is having trouble (e.g., a member is dominating or disruptive), make an appropriate intervention. Eventually, it’s best for the group leader to handle this task. Leaders can be trained by whispering an instruction on how to intervene, until the leader gets the hang of it.

10.     At the end of the session, give a quiz on the material so that students quickly come to realize that these sessions are not just fun and games but really count.

Tips on Implementation

Compared with traditional teaching methods, the jigsaw classroom has several advantages:

  • Most teachers find jigsaw easy to learn
  • Most teachers enjoy working with it
  • It can be used with other teaching strategies
  • It works even if only used for an hour per day
  • It is free for the taking

Too good to be true? Well, yes and no. It would be misleading to suggest that the jigsaw sessions always go smoothly. Occasionally, a dominant student will talk too much or try to control the group. How can we prevent that? Some students are poor readers or slow thinkers and have trouble creating a good report for their group. How can we help them? At the other end of the talent continuum, some students are so gifted that they get bored working with slower students. Is the jigsaw technique effective with them? In some cases, students may never have experienced cooperative learning before. Will the jigsaw technique work with older students who have been trained to compete with one another? All of these problems are real but not fatal.

The Problem of the Dominant Student

Many jigsaw teachers find it useful to appoint one of the students to be the discussion leader for each session, on a rotating basis. It is the leader’s job to call on students in a fair manner and try to spread participation evenly. In addition, students quickly realize that the group runs more effectively if each student is allowed to present her or his material before question and comments are taken. Thus, the self interest of the group eventually reduces the problem of dominance.

The Problem of the Slow Student

Teachers must make sure that students with poor study skills do not present an inferior report to the jigsaw group. If this were to happen, the jigsaw experience might backfire (the situation would be akin to the untalented baseball player dropping a routine fly ball with the bases loaded, earning the wrath of teammates). To deal with this problem, the jigsaw technique relies on “expert” groups. Before presenting a report to their jigsaw groups, each student enters an expert group consisting of other students who have prepared a report on the same topic. In the expert group, students have a chance to discuss their report and modify it based on the suggestions of other members of their expert group. This system works very well. In the early stages, teachers may want to monitor the expert groups carefully, just to make sure that each student ends with an accurate report to bring to her or his jigsaw group. Most teachers find that once the expert groups get the hang of it, close monitoring becomes unnecessary.

The Problem of Bright Students Becoming Bored

Boredom can be a problem in any classroom, regardless of the learning technique being used. Research suggests, however, that there is less boredom in jigsaw classrooms than in traditional classrooms. Youngsters in jigsaw classes report liking school better, and this is true for the bright students as well as the slower students. After all, being in the position of a teacher can be an exciting change of pace for all students. If bright students are encouraged to develop the mind set of “teacher,” the learning experience can be transformed from a boring task into an exciting challenge. Not only does such a challenge produce psychological benefits, but the learning is frequently more thorough.

The Problem of Students Who Have Been Trained to Compete

Research suggests that jigsaw has its strongest effect if introduced in elementary school. When children have been exposed to jigsaw in their early years, little more than a “booster shot” (one hour per day) of jigsaw in middle school and high school is required to maintain the benefits of cooperative learning. But what if jigsaw has not been used in elementary school? Admittedly, it is an uphill battle to introduce cooperative learning to 16-year olds who have never before experienced it. Old habits are not easy to break. But they can be broken, and it is never too late to begin. Experience has shown that although it generally takes a bit longer, most high school students participating in jigsaw for the first time display a remarkable ability to benefit from the cooperative structure.

PENDEKATAN KETERAMPILAN PROSES (PKP): Apa itu?

Tatang M. Amirin; 5 Februari 2010

Tidak sedikit guru yang “salah masuk” pemahaman antara menggunakan pendekatan keterampilan proses (PKP) dengan “peragaan” atau “pembuktian.” Yang dimaksudkan dengan peragaan atau pembuktian yaitu setelah konsep (istilah) diketahui murid, misalnya konsep benda tenggelam, melayang, dan mengapung dalam air, guru meragakan telur dimasukkan ke dalam gelas berisi air tawar, air agak masin (bercampur garam), dan air jenuh garam. Murid lalu mengamati ragaan bahwa jika telur dimasukkan ke dalam air tawar maka akan tenggelam, dan seterusnya.

Contoh lain, setelah guru menerangkan bahwa tumbuhan (biji) akan tumbuh jika ada media tanam, air, udara, dan sinar matahari, lalu murid diminta membawa gelas plastik bekas air minum kemasan, kapas, dan biji kacang kedele atau kacang hijau. Kapas dimasukkan ke dalam gelas, lalu disiram air. Selanjutnya biji kacang diletakkan di atas kapas basah. Gelas itu kemudian diletakkan di tempat terbuka, tapi teduh. Murid lalu mengamati proses pertumbuhan kacang tersebut.

Pendekatan keterampilan proses–yang lebih tepat disebut keterampilan proses penelitian (inquiry process skills)–tidak seperti itu, melainkan benar-benar melakukan penelitian atau menyelidiki sesuatu. Misalnya anak melakukan percobaan menanam ubi kayu dengan menanam ubiny, menanam batangnya tapi terbalik, yang ditanam ujungnya, menanam batangnya yang pangkalnya rata, menanam batangnya yang pangkalnya lancip, menanamnya dengan menggeletakkan begitu saja batangnya, tidak ditancapkan, dan sebagainya. Lalu, para siswa mengamati pertumbuhannya seperti apa.

Nah ini penjelasan tentang PKP  tersebut, langsung dinukilkan dalam bahasa aslinya.

The Process Skills of Inquiry
by Doris Ash

By being aware of the parts that make up the whole, a teacher can help children learn the skills necessary to plan and carry out successful inquiry investigations. While the inquiry process can be represented in many different ways, this chapter gives one interpretation that can help teachers identify and use the valuable “process skills” of inquiry.

“When education is viewed as inquiry, important things happen. The focus of education becomes learning and the task of teaching becomes one of supporting the inquiry process.”–Harste (1993)

Imagine kindergarten children exploring how potatoes grow. The children start by carefully looking at potatoes. One of the first things they notice is that the potatoes have sprouts. They wonder about the sprouts and what they might do. The teacher elicits more observations and questions. Among other things, the children suggest that potatoes grow under the ground. They wonder if potatoes have seeds, and what a potato seed might look like.

The teacher helps the children generate a list of their questions:

What is a sprout?
How can you get plants without planting seeds?
Do the sprouts have anything to do with getting new potatoes?
Should we plant all or part of the potato?

In order to answer some of these questions, the teacher suggests that students investigate in more detail. Based on their questions and observations, he organizes the children into similar interest groups so that they can work together in small groups of two or three. The teacher then asks the students to begin by creating a plan that includes a list of the materials they think they will need and drawings of what they will put into the dirt–a whole potato, half a potato, the part with or without a sprout, and so on. The child who wondered about the seeds wants to include seeds in his plan. On his own, he has found a book in the classroom that supports his theory that potatoes have flowers and seeds. The teacher suggests that he research this piece after the initial experiments are underway.

Next, the children plant their potatoes according to their plans. When the plants begin to sprout, the students uproot them to look for evidence of change. They notice that some of the potatoes they planted have rotted, but others have grown. They see roots and the beginnings of new little potatoes attached to these roots under the ground. They hypothesize that the potato pieces that originally had sprouts were the ones that grew into the plants with the little potatoes attached to their roots.

The children have many more questions, and again the teacher lists these for the class.

How long would it take to grow a larger potato?
How many potatoes would grow from each plant?
Can one of the new little potatoes be used to grow another potato plant?
How much of the potato needs to be buried in order to grow a small plant?

It is near the end of the year, so the teacher suggests that the children try some followup experiments at home during the summer.

The Parts of the Process

When learners interact with the world in a scientific way, they find themselves observing, questioning, hypothesizing, predicting, investigating, interpreting, and communicating. These are often called the “process skills” of science. Process skills play a critical role in helping children develop scientific ideas.

A sometimes bewildering variety of interpretations of process skills, including their number, order, and relative importance, exists in local, state, and national science education standards. Here we suggest one possible interpretation of seven of the process skills of science (Harlen and Jelly, 1997):

Observing-watching carefully, taking notes, comparing and contrasting
Questioning-asking questions about observations; asking questions that can lead to investigations
Hypothesizing-providing explanations consistent with available observations
Predicting-suggesting an event in the future, based on observations
Investigating-planning, conducting, measuring, gathering data, controlling variables
Interpreting-synthesizing, drawing conclusions, seeing patterns
Communicating- informing others in a variety of means: oral, written, representational

Observing

Observation of real phenomena begins the inquiry process and continues throughout all its phases. For the kindergartners studying potatoes, observation, the starting point for their endeavors, also led them from one step to the next.

In making observations, the learner gathers evidence and ideas about phenomena and begins to identify similarities and differences. He may also begin to see patterns or understand the order in which events may have taken place. Close observation provides the evidence that allows ideas to be checked, and it therefore needs to be detailed and relevant. The learner must have confidence that her observations are valuable.

Because observation skills can more easily be developed than other process skills, they are often more consciously practiced with younger students. But, as shown above, even kindergartners have the ability to move beyond observation to other areas of investigation.

Questioning

Curiosity drives the inquiry process–it generates questions and a search for answers. In process of asking series is first step finding Questioning therefore basis from which continues. It at heart process. habit mind that can be encouraged any learning setting. An ethos classroom allows learners freedom to move into uncharted territory begin explore what they dont know or need better understand.

The questions the kindergartners asked about the potatoes arose from watching real phenomena in an unhurried fashion. These questions recurred regularly throughout the children’s exploration. As they worked, each question led to an action, which in turn led to the use of other process skills, including asking more questions. This is the nature of inquiry, which is not a linear process.

Equally important to raising good questions is the process of selecting questions that might be followed with fruitful investigations. In the school setting, one of the most important skills we can develop is to understand better which questions can be answered by experimentation, and which cannot. Children become aware of this gradually. Part of the inquiry process is determining how to turn non-investigable questions into investigable ones, and learning how to recognize questions that are generative, long lasting, and interesting enough to foster a rich investigation.

The Eyes Have It: The Growing Science Inquiry Teaching Cycle,” a video by the National Gardening Association, Burlington, Vermont.

Hypothesizing

Our kindergartners, by their actions, suggested that perhaps the sprout itself was associated with the growth of the potato. This is a tentative explanation for the function of the sprout. It is based on available evidence, and it is, essentially, a hypothesis.

Hypothesizing suggests an explanation consistent with available observations, questions, and evidence. When a student makes a hypothesis, he links information from past experiences that may explain both how and why events occur. (See “To Hypothesize or Not to Hypothesize?” on page 61.)

Inquiry starts when something catches our interest and we take time to observe it very carefully. Hypothesizing arrives after we have an opportunity to observe, comment, raise questions, and explore with materials. We raise questions based on experience and observations and continue to gather experiences with the particular phenomenon. Along the way, hypotheses are created, but they may arrive well into the experience and act as a way of pulling together accumulated information.

Predicting

Predictions are central to the process of testing whether or not a hypothesis is on the right track. This process takes away the need for guessing. A prediction goes beyond available evidence to suggest what will happen in the future. A learner who says, “If I do this, then that will happen” has a way of finding out how something works.

There are a variety of ways to use evidence. Young children may make conclusions that are only slightly related to available evidence. Older children may use evidence in more sophisticated ways, including recognizing patterns of data from which to extrapolate or interpolate. The greater the use of evidence to link the original ideas to future behaviors, the more useful and testable the prediction.

Typically, a prediction is based on evidence from past knowledge and/or experience, and upon immediate evidence gained through observation. It is important to know how to gather evidence and how it can be used to best advantage. Predictions invite the orderly gathering of evidence for a specific purpose.

Investigating

Measuring, gathering data, and performing “fair tests” are used to gain the evidence necessary to provide a consistent interpretation. With meaningful evidence, we can answer a question or test a prediction with some certainty that the appropriate variable is being tested and systematically measured. This means the investigator is able to understand which variable will be held constant and which will be undergoing change, a concept that is often difficult for the young or inexperienced investigator.

An investigation typically takes many unanticipated twists and turns. Solving one problem may lead to another, so investigations may take many different paths. Our kindergartners experienced this as they planned their own potato investigations. One group’s investigation led to a rotted potato; another group’s investigation led to a healthy potato plant. In each case, meaningful information was gathered, but along different paths.

Interpreting

Once the kindergartners had done their tests, they needed help in making sense of them. They needed to get beyond the mere gathering of data and begin to interpret what they’d found.

Interpreting includes finding a pattern of effects and synthesizing a variety of information in order to make a statement about their combined meaning. It may include making associations between variables and making sure that the data support the hypothesized connections. It is critical to relate findings to initial questions and observations.
The Eyes Have It: The Growing Science Inquiry Teaching Cycle,” a video by the National Gardening Association, Burlington, Vermont.

Communicating

An inquiry classroom relies on open communication. For the students, that means talking to others, listening to their evidence and explanations, and representing their own results in a clear manner. It includes taking notes in the course of an investigation. It also includes choosing the appropriate way to translate knowledge to others, by making representations such as charts or diagrams, for example, that illustrate data and results.

Communication in the inquiry classroom goes beyond simply exchanging knowledge. It implies that socially gathered and shared information informs individual learning.

“The Eyes Have It: The Growing Science Inquiry Teaching Cycle,” a video by the National Gardening Association, Burlington, Vermont.

Modeling Independent Learning

One of the most important roles of the teacher as facilitator is to gradually allow the learner to take more responsibility for the learning process. In a school setting, the process of inquiry is always guided by the teacher, who gradually transfers responsibility for aspects of the investigation to the student. Ultimately, a student who has effective guidance can learn to ask his or her own questions. The same is true for the rest of the skills that make up inquiry. Step by step, students can take on responsibility for planning, conducting investigations, using evidence, etc. As students master these skills, they can take responsibility for assessing issues for themselves, making judgments based on their assessments, taking action to initiate their own inquiries, and collecting and interpreting evidence on their own.

The gradual shift of responsibility from teacher to learner is a complex one that is at once natural and carefully designed. Over time, the teacher models the kinds of behaviors he or she would like students to learn, such as collaboration, posing questions, careful use of materials, self-reflection, and language skills. At first, the teacher is directive, acting as a guide until students demonstrate their own abilities to work independently. Like a parent modeling the complex living skills a child will need through life, the teacher models the skills and techniques of independent learning. In a process often referred to as “scaffolding,” the teacher gradually fades from control of certain areas as students take on the skills in their own way.

Putting the Pieces Together

There is no one way to use a process skill. Each skill has characteristic, developmentally appropriate abilities for different ages, from novice to advanced. With practice, these abilities can be developed over time. In our potato investigation example, for instance, the kindergartners used all the process skills of science, at a level appropriate to their age.

Research suggests that some process skills are more regularly practiced in the elementary classroom than others. In particular, there may be more observation and questioning than hypothesizing and interpreting. Because all the skills are necessary to full inquiry, and because they all fit together in a coherent fashion, it is important to develop all the process skills early on.

The inquiry process takes advantage of the natural human desire to make sense of the world… This attitude of curiosity permeates the inquiry process and is the fuel that allows it to continue.

Process skills are not used for their own sake. Rather, they are used in order to further the learning process and are an important way to link previous and current knowledge. During their investigations, for instance, the kindergarten children were observing, questioning, gathering information, and performing some initial tests that would propel them in many new directions. As students use these skills, they build up new conceptual understandings. They learn the content of science.

>When doing inquiry, we assume that curiosity, respect for evidence, and a willingness to change ideas are attitudes of scientific thinking. These go hand in hand with the idea of a fair test and respect for evidence. Use of evidence involves both the processes, the content, and the attitudes of science, for it is useless to gather evidence if one does not have a willingness to change beliefs if the evidence is contrary to expectations.

For children, the process of asking questions, investigating phenomena, gathering evidence, and solving problems begins when they realize that they can find things out for themselves. The inquiry process takes advantage of the natural human desire to make sense of the world. It relies on a willingness to come up with questions that reflect these interests. This attitude of curiosity permeates the inquiry process and is the fuel that allows it to continue.

In the scenario above, the children learned important scientific ideas about how plants grow and also discovered new information on their own. By linking new ideas to existing ideas, children can change conceptual models and build up a rich array of experiences. With these experiences, they can go further–making hypotheses, posing questions, making inferences, and ultimately coming to a deeper understanding of science.

To Hypothesize or Not to Hypothesize?

by Jerry Pine

As a research scientist who is involved with elementary science education, I often notice teachers recalling from their past education a “scientific method” that usually includes many attributes of scientific inquiry, among them observation, collection of data, analyzing data, drawing inferences, and reaching a conclusion. Very often this method is presented as a linear sequence of activities, which it need not be. Scientists move back and forth among processes to refine their knowledge as the inquiry unfolds. Inquiry is an artistic endeavor, and not the following of a recipe

Frequently, the scientific method as taught by non-scientists requires that a scientific inquiry must stem from a hypothesis, which in fact is not usually true. Did Darwin board the Beagle with the hypothesis of natural selection in hand? Did Galileo experiment with falling bodies with the hypothesis that they would all exhibit the same acceleration? Did Mendeleev invent the periodic table based on a hypothesis that there should be one? In these three cases, as well as a great majority of other crucial scientific inquiries, there was an exploration of the unknown, with not nearly enough previous knowledge to support an initial hypothesis on which to focus the exploration.

If we don’t begin with a hypothesis, then what does initiate a scientific inquiry? A question. Sometimes it can be a very specific question: “Do bean seeds germinate better in the light or the dark?” Sometimes it can be a much more general question: “How do crayfish relate to one another?” If we have a great deal of previous knowledge, we might hypothesize. After some study of electric circuits, we might hypothesize: “Two lengths of resistance wire in parallel will have less resistance than either one.” But we could just as well have asked the question, “How does the resistance of two lengths of resistance wire in parallel compare to that of either one?”

We can begin every scientific inquiry with a question. If we insist on a hypothesis we will often merely force an unscientific guess. If there is a valid hypothesis it can always be stated as a question, for example, “Is it true that (insert the hypothesis here)…?”

So, the answer to our initial inquiry is: To hypothesize or not to hypothesize? Don’t. Pose a question instead.

Reprinted courtesy of Jerry Pine, Caltech Precollege Science Initiative.

References

Scenarios adapted from Windows on the classroom, a four-part video series by the National Gardening Association, Burlington, Vermont.

For more information, see the Web site at http://www.exploratorium.edu/IFI/activities/processcircus/circus.html.

Harlen, W., and Jelly, S. (1989/1997). Developing science in the primary classroom Essex, England: Addison Wesley Longman, Ltd.

Harste, J.C. (1994). Literacy as curricular conversations about knowledge, inquiry, and morality. In R.B. Ruddell, M.R. Ruddell, and H. Singer, Eds. Theoretical model and processes of reading, 4th Ed. Newark, DE: International Reading Association



COOPERATIVE Learning: STAD (Student Teams-Achievement Divisions)

Tatang M. Amirin

Edisi 19 Agustus 2009; 20 Agustus 2009

Cooperative learning; student teams-achievements divisions (STAD); teacher-centered instruction (pengajaran memusat guru); student-centered instruction (pengajaran memusat murid = pembelajaran); text-book centered instruction (pengajaran memusat buku pelajaran); tut wuri handayani; social-skill dan life skills; learning to live together; tutor sebaya; proses STAD: (1) guru menerangkan, (2) murid belajar bersama dalam tim (3) tes-akhir, (4) penilaian dan penghargaan; quiz latihan dan quiz tes akhir


PBM/KBM teacher-centered vs student-centered

Proses atau kegiatan belajar-mengajar (PBM/KBM) itu ada kemungkinan terwujudkan dalam dua kubu ekstrim, teacher-centered atau TC (memusat-guru) atau student-centered atau SC (memusat-murid). PBM/KBM bersifat TC manakala (dalam kebanyakan pelaksanaannya sehari-hari) yang aktif lebih banyak guru. Guru berceramah, guru menerangkan (ekspositori), guru menjelaskan, guru memberi contoh atau meragakan (demonstrasi), dan sebagainya.

PBM/KBM bersifat SC apabila (dalam kebanyakanpelaksanaan kegiatan keseharian) murid yang aktif melakukan kegiatan belajar, guru hanya mengarahkan, membimbing, memberikan kemudahan (fasilitasi), membantu jika ada kesulitan, dan sebagainya. Mau baca lebih lanjut? Klik di sini!