Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

2.2 Answers pertaining to relevant questions are synthesised and contextualised.

ryanrori December 29, 2020

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Questioning is an important learning strategy. By asking relevant questions we can

•   check that we understand something

•   clear up anything we do not understand

•   get more information

•   make sure that we have accurate information

Sometimes we are not willing to ask questions because we do not want to look ignorant or foolish. But we need to ask ourselves which is more foolish: to stay in ignorance or to show our willingness to learn?

  1. Checking understanding
  2. How we monitor whether we are understanding and learning in a given situation or task. As we apply learning strategies to tasks, we should continuously check the effectiveness of the process by evaluating our progress in completing the task; and the outcome or understanding by asking ourselves the following questions:
    1. What is this about? (Can I put this information in my own words? Explain it to someone else?)
    1. Does the answer (or outcome) make sense?
    1. How am I doing?

When I am unable to answer the questions above, I might ask:

  • What could I do to make this process more effective?
    • What other strategies might work more effectively?
  • When we know that we do not understand, recognising the problem and identifying a different strategy that will be more appropriate to the learning situation. If we are unable to explain our new learning, or complete a practice problem applying this learning, we may need to find another strategy that will work more effectively.
  • Clarifying meaning

Clarification of unfamiliar words should therefore happen after reading the text as a whole. Particularly difficult concepts that assume prior knowledge can be introduced as part of the pre-reading activities.

Words are the building blocks of language and extending your vocabulary aids your ability to comprehend a variety of topics. There are a number of strategies for dealing with unfamiliar words and the two most obvious ones are:

  • Using the dictionary
  • Asking someone else

Yet when using the dictionary, you have to learn to consider the context of the word as the explanations in dictionaries can be confusing, you should therefore learn strategies to guess the meaning of a word before referring to the dictionary. This will also encourage you to use their thinking and linking skills and making a good guess builds up their confidence.

The following steps can be used to work out the meaning of a word.

What does what in a sentence? (Subject/Verb/Object)
Look for any context clues.
Consider what the word sounds like.
Use your knowledge of word parts.
Look for punctuation clues.
•    Check your guess in the dictionary
  1. The place of the word in a sentence helps you to work out if it is
    • a noun or naming word;
    • an adjective or describing word;
    • a verb or action word.
  2. Context refers to the sentence, paragraph and the wider passage in which the word occurs. In deciding the meaning of a word you look for clues, before and after the sentence in which it is used, to give you an idea of the possible meaning.
  3. Compare the sound of the word to words you know. If you see a word like “pretentious”, saying it out loud may help you link it to the word “pretend”. Using this, together with any useful context clues, you might guess what it means.

I thought that girl was rather pretentious. She seemed to think she knew it all.

  1. Using your knowledge of how a word is built up.
  1. Punctuation can indicate that a word is explained within the sentence itself.

For example, in an article on safety in the city:

WELLINGTON: The most vulnerable people in the community – the very young – are not receiving the protection they deserve.

The dashes indicate that the young and the vulnerable are one and the same and that they do not get protection.

  1. Getting information

Do a search

While you will often be told what books, articles and reports you should read for assignments, you will also often be expected to find at least some of the relevant resources yourself. To be able to find them successfully and quickly, you need to know where and how to search for them. This involves learning about types of publications (e.g. journals, conference proceedings, reviews, annual reports), forms of publication (e.g. hard-copy, electronic, on-line), and systems and tools that can help you search efficiently (e.g. catalogues, indexes, databases and search engines).

  • Confirm accuracy of information

Information quality is a slippery subject. Although many might disagree, there is rarely a single absolute truth. In many cases, what is truth to me, may be nonsense to you. The best resources for a medical researcher are useless to the elementary school student and vice versa. However, there are hallmarks of what is consistently “good” information. The most basic requirements of good information are:

  • Objectivity: That the information is presented in a manner free from propaganda or disinformation.
  • Completeness: That the information is a complete, not a partial picture of the subject
  • Pluralism: That all aspects of the information are given and are not restricted to present a particular viewpoint, as in the case of censorship.