Nudging: Shifting Our Focus to Process

There’s something intrinsically American about the desire to “make stuff.” Whether it is motivated by the need to show off at parent-teacher conferences or to meet a technology objective, there is a tendency to move quickly past interpreting or synthesizing information to focusing instead on creating a product. But when Kathleen McBroom spoke to the Michigan Association for Media in Education’s Summer Institute in July, she suggested that one thing that the Common Core Standards would encourage principals to look for is a focus on process. As the school library has traditionally been a place that showcases products from posters to clay pots to dioramas, how can we move from a focus on product to a focus on showcasing the thinking and efforts that lead to a product?

How can instructional time be rebalance so that the importance of the learning process is modeled for students? How can the emphasis be shifted to works-in-progress, not just completed works? How would we need to adjust our physical space to make room for process? And how do we respond to the nagging sense that our own work isn’t “good enough” when we allow messy process artifacts in lieu of polished products?

We hope you’ll share your ideas on process below.


One Response to “Nudging: Shifting Our Focus to Process”

  1. Cathy Evans says:

    Our school has taken steps to turn the traditional term paper into more of a process than product. The English teacher, history teacher and librarian collaborate to teach researching and writing a paper. A month of the curriculum in both classes is dedicated to the process. We emphasize paraphrasing skills, developing a good thesis, taking meaningful notes, outlining, researching, writing, properly attributing sources, formatting a Chicago style paper and even the basics of staying organized. Each step along the way is evaluated separately with many formative assessments built in. Students start with online graded tutorials on paraphrasing, summarizing, quoting, and common knowledge. A background essay is the next step where emphasis is placed on using the information found to create a roadmap for further research, and forming a working thesis. Students use Noodeletools to create citations, note cards and an outline all three teachers evaluate note cards for meaningfulness, support of thesis, and evidence that the students are properly interpreting the text. Since noodle ties sources, notes, and outline, the outline is evaluated no only for its logical development and support of thesis but also the extent of the integration and use of sources. Research is part of the formation and summative assessments. Students are evaluated on the quality, variety, and scholarliness of their sources and well as how well they are integrated in the paper. Sources must be turned in with assignments so the students are evaluated on proper attribution of sources and interpretation of information. We use Turn-it-in as a tool for students to self-assess paraphrasing. Process evaluation is a great part of both the formation and summative assessment of the paper.
    Sources turned in so can check for proper attribution, proper interpretation of text meaning,

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