Learning and studying disposition is the interpretative framework students use when they face a learning situation, or while choosing their courses in higher education. These dispositions are at least partially affected by culturally adopted values (this could be either a larger cultural context or just family culture).Learning dispositions regulate our learning interests, efforts and motivation. Growth mindset certainly relates to the dispositions, as well as students' self-efficacy beliefs and their academic self-concept.
How to help students to create deep learning orientations that would then transfer to their learning in higher education?
This is a question often heard in both formal and informal discussions about education. Deep learning is seen more meaningful than reproductive learning (Lonka et al, 2004). One possible answer is to adopt a teaching disposition that emphasizes authenticity (Kreber, 2007)and empowers engagement. Such teaching disposition increases the humanist and constructivist values in the classroom and encompasses all learning dispositions, which helps students to engage in their own personal learning, not just their compulsory schooling.
Being convinced that knowledge is much more than a fixed bunch of facts (information) brings another dimension to the dispositions because it defines the extent of our teaching. We must prepare students for the world that is a complex mixture of cultures and diverse beliefs, and while memorizing disconnected pieces of information may be a nice trick in trivia game, students also need to understand the contexts and connections of that information. Where did it come from, and is it trustworthy? And an especially important question is: how can we use it productively?Unfortunately the discussions about the nature of knowledge are seldom highlighted in professional meetings, but it should be.
Misusing information is easy because it is shallow and has no situationality or contextuality – these are qualities of knowledge, where an individual has constructed an understanding of how given information fits into her/his worldview, beliefs and values. The use of labels falls into the category of misusing information, and it often leads into othering, which is how we define “us” and “others”.
It is easy to sort people, categorize them and label their qualities. But, when we use labels and define the problem in education for example as underachieving students, it locates the solutions to fixing the students. Not education, nor instruction, but students. How scary! This is how something we know from research and experience to be beneficial for students, their learning and their future (e.g. bilingualism) suddenly becomes a problem (e.g. ELL, underachieving). Of course these diverse students score lower in the standardized tests. But their individual learning processes may be incredible.
Kreber, C. (2007). What‘s it really all about? The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as an Authentic Practice. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 1(1), 3.
Lonka, K., Olkinuora, E., & Mäkinen, J. (2004). Aspects and prospects of measuring studying and learning in higher education. Educational Psychology Review, 16(4), 301-323.
Shum, S. B., & Crick, R. D. (2012,April). Learning dispositions and transferable competencies: pedagogy,modelling and learning analytics. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (pp. 92-101). ACM.
Volet, S., Vauras, M., & Salonen, P.(2009). Self-and social regulation in learning contexts: An integrative perspective. Educational psychologist, 44(4),215-226.