Drumduan School – “No testing, no grading at all”

Mathematics, Metacognition and Mindfulness

The following link is an interesting article discussing an alternative view of education and specifically assessment and grading of students. In this particular school, co-founded by actress Tilda Swinton, students are never given grades. It takes much of its philosophy from Steiner education and the article quotes Rudolph Steiner, its founder:

‘To be free is to be capable of thinking one’s own thoughts – not the thoughts merely of the body, or of society, but thoughts generated by one’s deepest, most original, most essential and spiritual self, one’s individuality’

Therefore the school is based heavily on the arts and creative expression, and students spend a lot of time making things on their own, such as wooden boats.

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Mindfulness versus metacognition, and critical thinking

Tim van Gelder

I was recently asked “Is mindfulness the same as metacognition?”

It is a reasonable question.  The concepts are closely related.  However I think they should be teased apart.  They are more like cousins than identical twins.

Mindfulness in the everyday sense is something like “having your mind on the job” which I would translate as doing something attentively and carefully.

This is not exactly what Ellen Langer meant by it.  Langer is the academic who brought the concept of mindfulness to prominence in social science, and more widely, with publications like Mindfulness and  The Power of Mindful Learning.  In the former book she says

the key qualities of a mindful state of being [are]: (1) creation of new categories; (2) opennness to new information; and (3) awareness of more than one perspective. (p.62)

Metacognition is basically just thinking about one’s own thinking, though the term generally also has…

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Mindful Maths

In the article Mindfulness Exercises Improve Kids’ Math Scores featured in Time magazine, Mandy Oaklander writes about how using simple mindfulness exercises in a maths classroom over four months had not only beneficial effects on students well-being, but also on their performances in math. Mandy writes: Compared to the kids in the social responsibility program, children with…Read more Mindful Maths

GeoGebra and understanding the derivative

This week I saw for the first time how technology can be used in the maths classroom to engage students and build conceptual understanding. GeoGebra is an open-source,  free-of-charge, software for teaching and learning of mathematics. GeoGebra allows users to develop their own graphical constructions which can have built into them interactive elements, which allows students to…Read more GeoGebra and understanding the derivative