Posts Tagged ‘active learning’

“Cooperative and Active Learning.” – Rob Plevin

 HARMIN, Merrill (1995), Inspiring Active Learning 
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Today I am full of  gratitude for the high impact that cooperative and active learning have for students. I am also grateful for my cyber colleague, Rob Plevin, and my dear friend Merrill Harmin, who encourage all students to be more active in their own learning processes and in overcoming their own learning difficulties.  – Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, Fri, Aug 16, 2013 

P.S. Nice to get your great newsletter below, Rob!



Dear Doc,

Our summer sale bonanza is coming to an end very soon.

We only have one more product to run at discount plus another ‘secret’ product which I may announce very soon (you don’t want to miss that one if we do decide to run it).

For now, the product we have at HALF OFF is…

Cooperative and Active Learning in Lessons

…and it’s on sale for just THREE MORE DAYS – until Monday 19th August.

This is actually one of my favourite resources – I loved putting this together because it contains a lot of the activities that my students enjoyed when I used to teach. In fact, the activities are so good, I now use them in our live courses and workshops.

The activities are suitable for practically any age group and any subject – with minimal adaptation – and you’ll find them PERFECT if you’re looking for ways to…

  • Get students working together cooperatively (Hint: this is one of the EASIEST ways to reduce behaviour problems and improve participation – even bored, switched off students get a huge kick from working like this).
  • Put more ACTIVITY in your lessons – you’ve no-doubt heard that a large proportion of ‘troublesome’ students tend to be kinesthetic learners. If you try and teach these students using didactic, lecture-style methods they will HATE it! The way to make subjects accessible and appealing to these students is to include some activity in the learning tasks – get them on their feet and ‘doing’ stuff. These activities will enable you to make any subject more ‘hands-on’.
  • Make subject content STICK – It’s obvious, when students are truly engaged in the learning process there is much more chance that the information you give them will actually be remembered. The activities in this resource will give you countless ways to INVOLVE all your students in fun, interactive ways they will LOVE.

The pack includes:

  • Cooperative and active learning templates and activities
  • Fun grouping tips
  • Instructions for managing super-enjoyable and successful group work sessions
  • Active teaching strategies
  • Editable print-ready resource templates
  • Novel ideas for getting ALL your students involved
  • And much much more…

Click here to get your copy for HALF OFF (three more days only)

Best wishes,

Rob Plevin

PS remember, our sale is coming to an end very, very soon so this is your last chance to take advantage of the other products on sale here.
Behaviour Needs LTD

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“Teaching can get in the way of learning.” – Doc Meek

Saturday, October 27, 2012: Today I am grateful for those who jog our minds about how we learn (and teach)! – Doc Meek


Text below was posted in: TENNESSEE TEACHING AND LEARNING CENTER BLOG on June 13, 2012.


What Works in Student Learning, and

What Gets in the Way – Teaching –

The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle reviewed a recent conference on student learning, sponsored by the Teagle Foundation,  What Works in Student Learning, and What Gets in the Way – Teaching – The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Attendants considered the state of student learning in higher education.

Among their suggestions: Students should be active in constructing their own learning, and activities should stimulate not just their intellects but their emotions.

As often happens, the comments are as interesting as the article.  Among the comments are questions serving students with disabilities as well as a bit of debate about “learning” versus “teaching.”  A large amount of comments point out that what was said at the conference has been well-established and said before.

This is true.  However, we who are currently teaching in higher education are at different stages–and with different training to support our skills at teaching.  New assistant professors may or may not have had graduate training in teaching and learning theories and in pedagogical practice.  There is some interesting research (and hopefully there will be more) that shows the more professors know teaching and learning principles and understand student learning, the more successful they are at evaluating and improving their courses (Milton & Lyons, 2003).

For new professors, the amount of teacher preparation is changing as more universities establish graduate teaching certification programs.  These programs allow those students who are not in departments that traditionally provide a lot of support (graduate students in Language and English programs, for instance, teach a lot and usually are provided with a lot of training by their home departments).  For others, though, they may start their first job with no training or experience in teaching! For the rest of us, most midsize and large institutions have teaching and learning centers to provide ongoing support.

We in academia are slow to change (are you shocked by this statement?)  We honor traditions, yet the traditional lecture is slowly being replaced by “active lecturing” in which students get involved or by active learning in the classroom, in which the lecture is minimized or moved out of the in-class session entirely (as in the flipped classroom).   This movement to change our pedagogical practice is slow but follows decades of research on promoting student learning, as the conference participants noted.

Finally, our students have changed (again, not a shock to point this out).  They have changed in response to our culture and cultural priorities, our uses of technology, our economy, and other changes in the West (I want to be careful to distinguish between a U.S. university and those in developing countries).

Much of our professional lives have remained the same–we balance research and teaching and service, in proportions dependent on our type of school.  For some of us, our teaching in and of itself has not changed.  However, job security has lessened, demands on our time have increased, student expectations have changed, and public expectations have increased.  However we address these issues, we must remind our stakeholders that we are teaching always the new generation.  What will our culture do to support our mission in higher ed?


Thank you, TENNESSEE TEACHING AND LEARNING CENTER at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for teaching us how to teach better!

Doc Meek, Sat, Oct 27, 2012, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“What if you are smarter than you think?”

J. Collins Meek, Ph.D. (Doc Meek)
Trusted Learning/Teaching Guide
[“Everyone” says: “Fun to work with.”]


CANADA: Dr. Meek (587) 400-4707, Edmonton, AB

TONGA: Mele Taumoepeau, P.O. Box 81, Nuku’alofa

USA: Dr. Meek (801) 738-3763, South Jordan, Utah

For optimum brain health, ensure your heart health:  

More on heart health:

USA: Jeannette (801) 971-1812; South Jordan, Utah

CANADA: Jeannette (587) 333-6923, Calgary, Alberta

CANADA: P.O. Box 3105, Sherwood Park, AB T8H 2T1


Can Moms teach kids how to run their own brains? – Doc Meek

Friday, October 19, 2012, at Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“Today I am grateful for the Moms who asked me to share again some secrets about kids learning to run their own brains, to engage active learning skills. I first published these secrets in a series of 7 articles back in 2010 and I am re-posting them here now.” – Doc Meek

“Today I am grateful for mothers and grandmothers!” – Doc Meek

Cheerful Grandmother with cheerful child 

Image from:

This is the seventh (7th) article in a series of seven (7) articles designed to help us run our own brain, and to help our children and students do the same, more easily and have more fun doing it. If you missed the Introduction or any of the previous six (6) articles, just click on the titles below:

(Intro) Learning to run our brain: 10 minutes daily

(1) Learning to run our own brain: Fear of failure

(2) Learning to run our brain: Vital need for HOPE . . . always

(3) Learning to run our brain: What are qualifications for the daily “brain coach?”

(4a) Learning to run our brain: Simple easy examples of how to proceed

(4b) Learning to run our brain: Remembering names

(5) Learning to run our brain: The eyes don’t see–the brain sees

(6) Learning to run our brain: Tasks of the “back 90″


Separate the Mother role from the Teacher role

When I worked with families in helping children to overcome learning difficulties, often there would be a battle going on at home which one mother described as “the homework wars.”

I would ask what was being taught. The mother would give me the school subjects being “taught.” I would then say:

Those subjects are not actually what is being taught. What is being taught is to hate learning and maybe even to hate your role in that. Is that what you want?

An emphatic “No” from the mother.

Then maybe we should take a larger perspective here.

School is not life.

Life is life.

And school–though important–is only part of life.

As Dr. Levine often says, “These kids are in general OK. We just need to get them safely into adulthood.” :o

When school was taking the child’s whole day–all of it unpleasant or painful–I felt that a better balance should come into play.

The child would go to school all day and then do homework all evening until bedtime. Not good.

No more homework until further notice!

I would ask the mothers to stop trying to be the school teacher, since the child had had enough of school teachers at school, without finding one at home every day until bedtime.

I asked the mothers to do what mothers generally do singularly well: just love them! Learn to have fun with them. So at least a part of the child’s day is pleasant and enjoyable and, in particular, human and humane. :o

Sometimes I would write an official letter to the school, requesting: “No more homework until further notice.”

Then the mother and the child could get on with life, while I and an external-to-the-home “brain coach” could help the child overcome his or her learning difficulties.

Grandmothers are great too

Sometimes the mothers were too busy to simply enjoy recreational time with the child and so we would bring grandma into play. If the child had no grandma near, we would borrow one from the neighborhood or even from a nearby “old folks home.”

The Grandmas loved it!

Here’s to Moms and Grandmas!

Doc Meek, Thurs, Oct 19,  2012, at Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“What if you are smarter than you think?”

J. Collins Meek, Ph.D. (Doc Meek)
Neurological Learning Specialist/Facilitator
[“Everyone” says: “He’s fun to work with.”]


CANADA: Dr. Meek (587) 400-4707, Edmonton, AB

TONGA: Mele Taumoepeau, P.O. Box 81, Nuku’alofa

USA: Dr. Meek (801) 738-3763, South Jordan, Utah

For optimum brain health, ensure your heart health:

More on heart health:

USA: Jeannette (801) 971-1812; South Jordan, Utah

CANADA: Jeannette (587) 333-6923, Calgary, Alberta

CANADA: P.O. Box 3105, Sherwood Park, AB T8H 2T1



“Learn to solve problems by expanding your definition of thinking.” ~ Doc Meek

Sunday, October 23, 1939. Today I was born, and I am so grateful for my mother, who suffered much and long to bring me into the world today.  ~ James Collins Meek III 😮

Sunday, October 23, 2011. Today (my Natal Anniversary!) I am so grateful to be an active learning participant in Paul Scheele’s transformational learning workshop. I wish with all my heart that my wife Jeannette were able to be here with me! ~ Doc Meek

Image from:

Or access Paul Scheele’s latest book, Drop Into Genius, at:

Order Now

Or watch Paul discuss his book, Drop Into Genius, on YouTube:

Paul Scheele introduces his new book, Drop Into Genius. – YouTube 2, 2010 – 3 min – Uploaded by ReclaimYourGenius
Paul Scheele, CEO of Scheele Learning Systems, shares an overview of his new book, Drop Into Genius. He explains how 

More videos for drop into genius by paul scheele »

Thank you, Paul Scheele, for bringing to all of us greater awareness of the genius within!

Doc Meek, Sunday, October 23, 2011 (my Natal Anniversary), Oakridge Hotel, Chaska, Minnesota, USA, and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen, MN, USA


Pond adjacent to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Iris Garden, Chaska, Minnesota.

Image from:

P.S. For more information on Paul Scheele’s “Ultimate U Retreat”:

“I was in Tonga as a Learning Specialist.” – Doc Meek

Tuesday, September 13, 2011. Today I am so happy and grateful for my good connections with Tongans and the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific Islands. ~ Doc Meek, Neurological Learning Specialist

Beautiful Tongan sunset

Tonga Sunset

Tongan sunset image from:

Watch a gentle Tongan sunset-time video at this link below:

Lucky me! I got to see the Tongan culture and lifestyle first-hand, and for more than two years, thank heaven!

I was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Education out of BYU-H (Brigham Young University-Hawaii) in 1999,  and sent to the Kingdom of Tonga with my beloved wife Jeannette. Both of us were appointed to participate in the ITEP (International Teacher Education Program) sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The teachers and students and the administrators all worked together to raise the student achievement dramatically.

Way to go Tonga educators!

They helped the students get higher marks and they also helped them change attitudes, behaviors, and cooperation with other students and teachers.

The results? Happier students and healthier students (and wealthier students, wealthy of mind). 😮

They took the meaning of active learning beyond expectations.

And they took my “heads-hearts-hands-hope” inclusivity to a new high.

The Tongans taught me more than I taught them.

Tongans are generous of heart and mind, non-judgmental, and they loved and respected me.

And Tongans loved and respected my wife Jeannette even more.

Naturally! She’s better looking than I am! 🙂

And we loved and respected Tongans.


Jeannette was a real hit with the students and their parents. She directed a 150-voice Tongan choir, mostly youth, and learned to appreciate the saying, “When Tongans sing, the angels sing with them.”

Tongans can sing 7-part harmony a capella, with ease and grace.

And they can dance too! Sometimes wildly. 😮 Wow!

Jeannette also taught an English class for young adults who had all failed to pass their “big English Test” in high school. Thus their gateway to higher education was closed to them (at least in their minds, and in the minds of their parents).

Permanent “doom.”  No hope.

Until Jeannette showed up and pointed out (dramatically):

“I don’t care how others have graded you. I am going to grade you up!”

She added (as some of the students thought this palangi [Caucasian] teacher might give them all an easy “pass”):

“We are going to study and write that exam again; then we are going to study and write that exam again; and then we are going to study and write that exam again!”

The students were stunned.

The thought of writing that dreaded exam again and again was not part of the cultural norm at that time.

If you flunked, you flunked. That was it. You were an “educational failure for life.”

Jeannette faithfully taught a class of 32 students (who came from far and wide when they heard about her famous English class).

Twenty-eight (28) went on to higher education. And the rest carried their newly-found self-confidence into other great opportunities.

We are forever grateful to the first student in Jeannette’s class: Uini, whose dear father asked Jeannette if she would help his daughter with English.

Thank you Tongans for the greatest two years in any land!

A special salute to the parents and teachers and students and administrators in all the Tongan Islands.

And a dozen “high fives” for Mele Taumoepeau, who was Principal of Liahona High School on Tongatapu during my time in the Kingdom of Tonga.

Mele made the hard work sing! Thank you, Mele!

Kindness, Doc

Doc Meek, Tues, September 13, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

P.S. My beloved wife Jeannette is now building her new health and wellness business, which is giving new hope and health and wellness to people with heart disease and diabetes:

“Music empowers people with LD.” ~ Pang Hin Yue

Friday, August 26, 2011. Today I am so grateful for those who are inspired to  teach those who don’t learn as easily as others.  Brian John Lim is such a teacher. ~ Doc Meek

Music to empower people with learning

disabilities [Learning Differences]

By PANG HIN YUE, published in The Star Online, Wed, Aug 24, 2011

Former child prodigy Brian John Yim reaches out to the learning disabled and helps autistic teenager Umar Hasfizal realise his potential as a singer with his debut album.

WHEN he was four years old, Brian John Yim’s father left him and his younger brother with their mother and took everything away except an organ. The very object of his sadness became his source of comfort and inspiration. “The organ was the only connection I had with my dad,” says Yim. With no money for piano lessons but an ear for music, he would listen and play the organ as his mother and grandmother sang along.

By the time he turned eight, his mother, Gan Lee Yong, an insurance agent then, had saved enough money for him to take up piano. He was so good that he leapfrogged to fifth grade. Within two years, he completed the final eighth grade. But the child prodigy wanted more – to pursue a course on Electone (electronic organs produced by Yamaha).

Father and son: Hasfizal Mukhtar with Umar. ‘Your child can still be successful even with a disability,’ says Hasfizal.

But staying in Mentakab, a small town in Pahang, did not help. “There was no organ teacher in Mentakab,” recalls the 28-year-old. Undeterred, he decided to learn it at a Yamaha school in Kuala Lumpur. So for one year, every Sunday, he would faithfully take a two-hour bus ride on his own to KL to attend a 45-minute lesson and then hop on the next available bus to go back home.

By 12, he passed his Electone exam, an achievement few can boast of.

To make sure he did not lose out academically, Yim poured his heart into his studies – just as he did with music – scoring straight-As. When he wasn’t studying, the brilliant boy could be found performing at social functions in his hometown.

Image and text above from:


Thank you, Brian John Yim, for inspiring us to help those who need help to be successful learning in their own right! Active teaching and active learning are a winning combination!

Doc Meek, Fri, Aug 26, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“Many paths to learning success.” ~ Doc Meek

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 . Today I am grateful for all the educators who strive to reach youth wherever they are, with active learning approaches. ~ Doc Meek

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

GRACE Nasha Thomas-Schmitt, right, national director of AileyCamp, in Newark.

Image from:

Alvin Ailey’s Mission Inspires Dance


By TAMMY LA GORCE, THE NEW YORK TIMES; Published: August 5, 2011
WHEN Nehprii Amenii of Brooklyn walked into Newark Arts High School for the first time this summer, she was prepared to be hit with what she called “full cannons of attitude.”

Since then, she has been spending weekdays teaching creative communication to 11- to 14-year-olds as part of AileyCamp, a full-day summer program offered by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and financed, in Newark, entirely by the Prudential Foundation.

Two weeks into the camp, Ms. Amenii, 31, recalled, “I used humor” to counteract uncooperative attitudes. “Then all that hardness starts to fall off,” she said, and the camp’s mission, which is not just to teach dance but also to help campers navigate adolescence, can take center stage.

(Read more about AileyCamp in the P.S. to this post, below.)

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

A student reads her poem in creative communications class. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Thank you, Nehprii Amenii and Alvin Ailey, and hundreds of others who bring to youth healing and hope!

Doc Meek, Wed, Aug 10, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

P.S. AileyCamp (continued)

The camp is free to its 96 participants, who were selected after personal interviews this spring from a pool of 250 candidates in Newark public schools. It will end Aug. 12 after a performance on Aug. 10 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, intended mainly for campers’ friends and families.

AileyCamp is new to Newark and to New Jersey. The program was introduced in 1989 in Kansas City, Mo., by the dance company in partnership with the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. By 1999, when Nasha Thomas-Schmitt of Maplewood became director of Ailey’s Arts in Education program as well as national director of AileyCamp, it had spread to Manhattan, Chicago and Bridgeport, Conn. During Ms. Thomas-Schmitt’s tenure, camps have been added in Atlanta; Kansas City, Kan.; Berkeley, Calif.; Boston; Chicago; Miami; and now Newark.

“This program is my baby,” Ms. Thomas-Schmitt, 48, a former Alvin Ailey dancer, said during a news media tour of the camp in mid-July. “When we open a camp, we’re looking for a partner that can sustain us. Hopefully this is staying in Newark for a long time.”

Stops along the way in the bustling high school, which was hosting two other summer programs for children at the time, included classes in ballet, jazz, modern dance, West African dance, percussion and personal development.

Seven instructors — all but one have experience teaching other Ailey Arts in Education programs — lead the classes. In West African dance, children traversed the dance floor flailing their arms and stamping their feet to live accompaniment on a djembe drum; in ballet, a pianist played through a series of ports de bras and leaps.

Not only did AileyCamp Newark get financial support from the Prudential Foundation, but it also received help from the high school, which donated its dance-ready spaces and classrooms, and from the performing arts center, which is providing its 514-seat Victoria Theater for the performance.

Despite the absence of professional dancers, that performance is likely to have plenty of Ailey flavor.

“One of the first things we did here is show the kids Ailey history,” said Felicia Swoope, 42, of Brooklyn, the director of the Newark camp. “We showed them videos of Ailey performing and explained the reason why he created the company.”

Alvin Ailey, who died in 1989, founded his troupe in 1958 to promote African-American cultural expression and American modern dance. AileyCamp welcomes children of all races.

Though dance experience is not a prerequisite for campers, several children applied to the program because of their interest in becoming professional dancers. By the end of camp, as many as a dozen may receive scholarships to dance with Ailey’s Junior Division at the Ailey School this fall.

As for the camp, Ms. Swoope said there were no “real criteria for getting in.”

“What we want them to understand most is that Ailey was a remarkable person, but he was also a person just like them,” she said. “He created work from his own experience, and we encourage them to do that also.”

That may be more of a challenge in Newark than at the other AileyCamp sites, Ms. Thomas-Schmitt said. Though it is the camp closest to her home in Maplewood, and the easiest for her to visit, “I was a little nervous when we started here,” she said.

As Ailey’s Arts in Education director, she has led several residencies in Newark’s public schools. “I knew about the negative hardships a lot of these young people are dealing with on a daily basis,” she said. “We don’t have as many daunting situations in other camps.” Those include incarcerated parents and drug-addicted ones, as well as unsafe neighborhoods, she said.

“When we did our interviews for this camp,” Ms. Thomas-Schmitt said, “one of our questions was, ‘If you could change something in your life, what would it be?’ Ninety percent said, ‘Where I live.’ ”

By the end of camp, they may feel differently about that. As part of Ms. Amenii’s creative communication class, campers are taking pictures of their neighborhoods and writing poems about them; the poems will accompany a show of the photographs as part of the performance.

“When I think about them getting up on that stage, how important it makes them feel, it makes me teary-eyed,” Ms. Amenii said. “It will be one of the biggest moments of their lives.”

By mid-July, some campers were already showing signs that the camp had been an enriching experience. “What they want us to remember is that all kids can dance, and no one is special or more important than anyone else,” said Briana Thomas, an 11-year-old from Newark who will enter Newark Early College High School as a sixth-grader in the fall. “I used to catch an attitude, but not so much anymore. It takes two to argue, and I have to think about being responsible for myself.

“I learned that from AileyCamp,” she said.

“The world breaks . . . ” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, July 12, 2011. Today I am grateful for the knowledge that obstacles and crushing defeats can be a means of greater strength and character. It’s just that I can’t feel that in my heart right now. 😮 Maybe later, eh? ~ Doc Meek

Image from:!

VIDEO: Water breaking on rocks, from YouTube:

“The world breaks everyone

and afterward

many are stronger in the broken places.”

– Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961); novelist, Nobel Prize winner

Quote from:

Thank you Ernest Hemingway for your universal insight for all of us!

Doc Meek, Tues, July 12, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“A gondola and a taste of Italy.” ~ Doc Meek

Wednesday, July 6, 2011.  Today I am happy and grateful that I was able to spend my 17th Wedding Anniversary with my beloved spouse Jeannette. ~ Doc Meek

A gondola and a gondolier

Image from:

I didn’t have the money to take my spouse Jeannette to Italy for our 17 Wedding Anniversary, so I rented the Venice Room in the Anniversary Inn in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

We slept in a gondola in the Venice Room at the Anniversary Inn, and that gave us a nice taste of northern Italy. The gondola was anchored to the floor so we didn’t get seasick! 😮

Image from:

Doc Meek, Wed, July 6, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“Learning we are loved, even when we don’t feel it.” ~ Doc Meek

Wednesday, June 29, 2011. Today I am grateful that somewhere . . . somewhere . . . there is always a heart that beats in unison with our own heart (even, and especially, when we feel that no one loves us!). ~ Doc Meek
I am grateful that I received an emailed quotation from today: - Pass It On
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Today’s Value: caring
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“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it.
For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it.
For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it. ”
– Ivan Panin (1855-1942)
Thank you, Ivan Panin and, for helping us to discover, remember and learn consciously, fundamental truths!
Doc Meek, Wed, June 29, 2011, en route from YEG (Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA) to SLC (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA), to spend my 17th Wedding Anniversary with my beloved, my wife Jeannette!
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