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The cognitive challenges of effective teaching

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Abstract

The authors describe a research-based conceptual framework of how students learn that can guide the design, implementation, and troubleshooting of teaching practice. The framework consists of nine interacting cognitive challenges that teachers need to address to enhance student learning. These challenges include student mental mindset, metacognition and self-regulation, student fear and mistrust, prior knowledge, misconceptions, ineffective learning strategies, transfer of learning, constraints of selective attention, and the constraints of mental effort and working memory. The challenges are described with recommendations on how to address each one. What is effective for one situation may not be effective in others, and no single teaching method will always be optimal for all teachers, students, topics, and educational contexts. The teacher’s task is to manage this complex interaction successfully.

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... This leads to a situation where there is little linkage between what teachers do in their classes and what cognitive science research tells us about the mental processes (e.g., memory, attention) that influence how well students learn. In their paper, Chew and Cerbin (2020) frame teaching and learning in the context of cognitive challenges derived from research on what the human cognitive system does well and does poorly. Their hope is that a cognitive challenges approach can help teachers diagnose teaching and learning problems, select optimal teaching practices, and conduct and translate research on effective pedagogy. ...
... The assertion by Chew and Cerbin (2020) that students underperform and learn less when they use ineffective learning strategies, is no surprise. It is not a unique experience for economics faculty to meet with undergraduate students who do not understand why they did poorly on a test, even though they read the book, highlighted important points, and memorized terms new to them. ...
Article
What do we know about how well graduate teaching in economics addresses cognitive challenges to learning? In short, very little. There is a dearth of research that investigates how graduate student, program and professor characteristics, and choices impact graduate student learning and other outcomes. Some of the broader literature on graduate education in economics includes findings that can be linked to Chew and Cerbin’s cognitive challenges to provide suggestive evidence, but many open research questions remain. Research is needed to understand whether improvements like clear communication, clear requirements and expectations, better advising, and adopting a learning-driven approach to graduate courses would mitigate cognitive challenges to learning and improve graduate education in economics.
... And while we can debate the best approaches to teach students and the varied ways of assessing learning, the primary objective for instructors is basic-teach so that students learn. Chew and Cerbin (2021) offer a conceptual framework of how students learn to help instructors achieve this basic objective. Their framework is based on the need to address nine interacting cognitive challenges. ...
... It is vital that advances in economic pedagogy and the academic/societal trends that form the reality of the teaching economist mesh with broader movements in the academy and education in general. Chew and Cerbin (2021) (henceforth, C&C) represent one such movement. They design a conceptual framework for effective teaching by piecing together a compelling array of findings from a variety of disciplines looking at advances in learning theory and cognitive science. ...
Article
Learning-focused teaching must take into account students’ cognitive processes. Chew and Cerbin (2021) offer a conceptual framework based on nine interacting cognitive challenges faced by students to guide instructors toward teaching practices that provide the best opportunities for students to learn. The goal of this guideline article is to identify fruitful areas for writing and analysis that stem from the work of Chew and Cerbin and are suitable for the Features and Information section of the Journal of Economic Education. We consider these fertile areas by identifying the intersection of nine cognitive challenges and the five main categories of articles appropriate for the F&I section.
... There is no universal best method of learning. Rather the best approach depends on the interaction of a myriad of factors including cognitive processes such as attention, working memory, and executive function; the prior knowledge of the student; the concept to be learned and how it is being presented; the learning strategies employed by the student; and the method used to assess the level of learning (Chew & Cerbin, 2021). Learning can go awry in multiple places and in multiple ways. ...
... Clearly, both teachers and students benefit when they possess a valid schema of how people learn, and helping both groups develop such a schema should be a priority. Unfortunately, much of the advice offered to these groups comes in the form of decontextualized, stand alone "tips" that often focus more on behavior than cognitive principle (Chew, 2020a;Chew & Cerbin, 2021) Teachers get teaching tips such as "provide feedback to students" without being told how to formulate feedback to help student learning. Students get study tips such as "don't cram" without knowing why that is bad for long-term learning. ...
... Most of a student's effort is to transfer information from working memory to long-term memory to acquire and memorize key concepts. Two strategies can be used: dual coding and chunking [10]. In cognitive psychology, a chunck is nothing more than a unit of information, and chunking is the operating mode in which this unit of data is recovered. ...
... These resources were most often developed to improve student engagement with the material so that learning the material would become easier. While not specifically mentioned in the majority of the papers, most educators appear to focus on overcoming particular cognitive challenges present in the classroom (Chew and Cerbin, 2021). If students are afraid of the subject, or afraid of failing the subject, they may actually be less motivated to learn. ...
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Abstract: Economic educators have been teaching with pop culture for decades, but until recently the focus was on English-based media. In this paper, we build on the work of Wooten al. (2021b), who showed how K-pop can be integrated into the principles-level curriculum. We develop three teaching guides that can be used to teach aspects of behavioral economics, game theory and indifference curve analysis – topics which are taught at the end of most principles-level courses but are also standalone upper level courses. The three artists chosen – BTS, BLACKPINK and TWICE – have huge global followings. We hope this paper will contribute to the library of diverse and inclusive teaching resources while helping to address the deficit of resources available to instructors of upper level courses.
... As students are free and flexible to choose how they will use learning technologies (e.g., synchronous or asynchronous e-learning), learning in technology-rich settings requires students to apply a diverse set of skills and self-directed learning strategies to successfully assimilate a learning content (Santhanam et al., 2008). However, the different level of skills development, and the various cultural and pragmatic constraints, can cause some students to experience various cognitive challenges (Chew & Cerbin, 2021) and feelings of frustration, boredom, or confusion with the learning content and the tasks, a behaviour that cannot be easily noticed by the instructors in digital settings. Moreover, even if the students care to communicate the challenges and the obstacles they face when learning with technology, the communication is often not in real time (e.g., in a form of a submission, an email). ...
Article
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Background Problem-solving is a multidimensional and dynamic process that requires and interlinks cognitive, metacognitive, and affective dimensions of learning. However, current approaches practiced in computing education research (CER) are not sufficient to capture information beyond the basic programming process data (i.e., IDE-log data). Therefore, how cognition and affect intertwine and unfold over time in programming problem-solving activities are rarely investigated. Objectives In this study, we examined how the theory-informed measures from multimodal data that we have selected as proxies for cognitive and affective dimensions of learning, are associated with student performance, and in comparison, to prior-knowledge. Methods A high-frequency temporal data was collected with a camera, an electroencephalogram, and an eye-tracker from 40 computer science students (bachelor and master studies) in the context of a code-debugging activity. To study the cognitive processes associated with learning we focused on cognitive load theory (CLT) and the human information processing model. In addition, we complemented CLT with the model of affective dynamics in learning to avoid the machine reductionism perspective. Results Our findings demonstrated that attention, convergent thinking, and frustration were positively correlated with students' successful code-debugging (i.e., performance), and frequently manifested by high performing participants. Cognitive load, memory load, and boredom were negatively correlated with students' performance, and typically manifested by low performing participants. Implications Extending the context of analysis in reference to student cognitive processes and affective states, affords educators not just to identify lower performers, but also to understand the potential reasons behind their performance, making our method an important contribution in the confluence of CER and the learning technology communities. In addition, the insights extracted from our analyses allow us to discuss potential avenues for improving learning design and the design of interactive learning systems to support the development of students' problem-solving skills. Lay Description What is currently known about the subject matter ● Problem-solving interlinks cognitive, affective and metacognitive dimensions of learning. ● In digital settings instructors struggle to distinguish cognitive-affective states of students. ● Learning technologies require interventions based on cognitive-affective states of students. What the paper adds ● When and what cognitive-affective states are triggered during solving a programming problem. ● What and how measures as proxies for cognitive-affective states are associated with performance. ● Emphasizes the benefits of augmenting IDE-log data with sensor data in the context of learning design. Implications of study findings for practitioners ● Methodology guidelines to identify and model variability in humans' natural behaviours. ● Importance of content and instructions personalization for student engagement and learning. ● Identification of multimodal data proxies for flexible and adaptive multimodal interfaces.
... Most of a student's effort is to transfer information from working memory to long-term memory to acquire and memorize key concepts. Two strategies can be used: dual coding and chunking [11]. In cognitive psychology, a chunck is nothing more than a unit of information, and chunking is the operating mode in which this unit of data is recovered. ...
... Kajian-kajian tentang kontribusi pendidikan dalam perspektif ekonomi dalam beberapa dekade masih berfokus pada pembelajaran ekonomi yang berlangsung secara formal di lembaga pendidikan (Picault, 2021;Fernandez et al., 2021;Chew & Cerbin, 2021), maupun secara nonformal dalam bentuk pelatihan-pelatihan yang berlangsung secara mandiri di masyarakat (Gundersen & Kaminaga, 2019;Allgood & McGoldrick, 2021). Sehingga berdasarkan hal tersebut, terdapat kekosongan kajian, khususnya yang terkait dengan kontribusi pendidikan dalam perspektif ekonomi yang berlangsung di dalam keluarga. ...
Article
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This study aims to determine parents' expectations of children's education in the perspective of economic education in Beroanging Village, West Bangkala District, Jeneponto Regency, South Sulawesi Province. This study is a qualitative study with a phenomenological approach. The informants in this study were parents who had school-age children at the elementary, junior high, high school, and university levels which were determined purposively based on the criteria of parents who had a high level of economic status but low education, parents who had a high level of education, and elderly who have a low level of education and social status. The results of this study indicate that parents' expectations of children's education in the perspective of economic education in Beroanging Village are divided into three, namely the expectations of parents who consider education as an investment are parents who have a low level of education but a high level of economic status, expectations of education as an economic good or consumption are parents who have a low level of education and economic status, and the expectation of education as a consumption good as well as an investment is parents with a high level of education.
... According to personal judgments sometimes, and this matter may create confusion in the educational process. Therefore, educators and specialists in teaching methods were very interested in the field of curricula and courses of the faculties of education as well as the practical education program through their research and many proposals and ideas, but we did not see any of them that cares about the students' point of view themselves with the teaching methods prevailing in the faculties of education, which prepare teachers of mathematics, what is the difference between them and other universities and determine the reasons for this difference, if any (Al-Malah & Salim, 2020;Hussein, 2021;Chew & Cerbin, 2021). Many educational studies have revealed the ability of the curricula of colleges of education and their clear teaching methods in developing the basic teaching skills of the student-teacher and providing him with the knowledge necessary to perform his teaching tasks inside and outside the classroom. ...
Article
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The current research aims to evaluate the Mathematics teacher preparation program by identifying the views of the fourth stage students / College of Education-Department of Mathematics at the University of Baghdad towards the accompanying teaching methods and comparing them with the views Education College students-Department of Mathematics at Al-Mustansiriya University. Then identifying the reasons for the different points of view between the students of the two universities and proposing a future vision for the development of Mathematics teacher preparation programs in the faculties of education. The descriptive-analytical approach and the comparative approach were used. To achieve its goals, a scale was built to evaluate the reality of the Mathematics teacher preparation program from the students' point of view. The scale consisted of (24) items, which were applied after completing the period of practical application on a sample of (100) students from the mathematics departments-fourth stage, divided equally between College of Education for pure science / Ibn Al-Haitham, University of Baghdad, and College of Education, Al-Mustansiriya University. The search results were summarized, accordingly, the researchers presented a set of recommendations and suggestions that would benefit from the research and its results.
... Both cognitivist and constructivist approaches were implemented in teaching. This agrees with Chew and Cerbin (2021), who stated that teachers should possess a profound understanding of cognitive principles and apply them in their teaching. ...
Article
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The current study examines antecedents to teachers' behavioral intentions to use smart technologies in Thailand based on the technology acceptance model. 825 primary school teachers participated in a survey consisting of 11 constructs: perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, attitude towards use, behavioral intention, peer influence, cognitive feedback, cognitive teaching belief, computer self-efficacy, perceived enjoyment, perceived ubiquity value, and personal innovativeness. The results suggested the proposed research model had a good model fit. 67.5% of variance in Thai teachers' behavioral intentions was significantly associated with attitude towards use, perceived ubiquity value, cognitive teaching belief, and personal innovativeness. Attitude towards using mobile technologies was significantly associated with perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived ubiquity value, and personal innovativeness. Perceived usefulness was significantly influenced by perceived ease of use, peer influence, cognitive teaching belief, and cognitive feedback. In addition, computer self-efficacy and perceived enjoyment significantly influenced Thai teachers' perception of ease of use. ARTICLE HISTORY
... Most of a student's effort is to transfer information from working memory to long-term memory to acquire and memorize key concepts. Two strategies can be used: dual coding and chunking [10]. In cognitive psychology, a chunck is nothing more than a unit of information, and chunking is the operating mode in which this unit of data is recovered. ...
Conference Paper
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In this work, we proposed a tool named SENECA that aims to help the students who follow remote lessons to main-tain/capture attention, allowing them to focus on learning led by the context. Among the disadvantages of distance education, especially for subjects who lack awareness, the greatest distractions at home are counted. These distractions cause a movement of the student's attention from the current lesson to disturbing events. For this reason, there is a need to experiment with new solutions also linked to Information Technology (IT) to improve the focused learning during distance education. Our tool's technical idea is to create a real-time summary of the topic treated by the teacher. The system captures the text every five minutes, generates outlines, and scratches them and browses them to eliminate repetitive portions after each survey. On the general generated summary, Natural Language Processing techniques are applied to extract categories and keywords. The latter will show the highlights of the speech.
... To be used by all students, the teaching materials must be designed and arranged according to student characteristics. Teachers must develop effective teaching materials so that the transfer of knowledge to all students can easily occur (Chew & Cerbin, 2021;Akinbobola, 2015). For SNSs, one means of understanding subject matter through teaching materials designed by teachers following the limitations and strengths of SNSs. ...
... A further cognitive challenge from Chew and Cerbin (2021) is "Constraints of Mental Effort and Working Memory." As they describe, humans face severe constraints on how many pieces of information we can manage at one time (such information is held in one's "working memory"). ...
Article
Chew and Cerbin (2021 Chew, S. L. , and W. J.Cerbin . 2021. The cognitive challenges of effective teaching. Journal of Economic Education 52 (1):xxx-xxx. [Article is in this issue; page numbers need to be provided after issue layout is determined.] [Google Scholar]) offer a fruitful way of thinking deeply about teaching economics. In this article, the author offers several ideas on how to offload parts of three of the cognitive challenges they identify to an online module that any instructor could assign to their students. Ideally, this module would be described in an economics education publication.
... Against this, the literature confirms that many classrooms today are laced with a moribund teaching and learning system where students only study to pass and jettison the lifelong actions embedded in knowledge construction and development. The findings of Stephen and William (2021) indicated that students face classroom challenges: student anxiety, distrust in prior knowledge, and misconceptions that hinder an ineffective transfer and construction of knowledge. Research findings also confirm that classrooms are faced with challenges such as lack of teamwork, lack of knowledge retention, and power dynamics among students (Barrett & Feng, 2021;Marasi, 2019;Morrow et al., 2013). ...
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Chew and Cerbin (2021 Chew, S. L. , and W.Cerbin . 2021. The cognitive challenges of effective teaching. Journal of Economic Education 52 (1):xxx–xxx. [Article is in this issue; page numbers need to be provided after issue layout is determined.] [Google Scholar]) outline nine cognitive challenges to student learning with which economic educators are likely familiar, even if the language used to describe them differs. In this article, the authors refrain from summarizing Chew and Cerbin’s framework and instead focus on providing context for how those conducting research and developing pedagogy in economics might incorporate these challenges into their work. In addition, they provide some thoughts on what these challenges mean for two important related issues: improving diversity and inclusion in the economics profession and the training of teachers in economics.
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