Jennifer L. Coffman
Website

Peter A. Ornstein
Website

Kesha Hudson
Website

Instructional Approaches for Promoting Understanding:
Teaching for Transfer


Principal Investigators

Jennifer L. Coffman
Research Assistant Professor in Psychology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Peter A. Ornstein
F. Stuart Chapin Distinguished Professor
and Director of Developmental Psychology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Team Members

Kesha Hudson
PhD Student in Psychology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

This approach to the study of understanding builds on previous findings that suggest gains in children’s performance on mathematics and memory tasks are associated with teachers’ use of cognitive processing language during instruction. Two studies are proposed, the first of which is a pilot exploration to develop new transfer-based measures of children’s understanding, and the second of which is an intervention study during first-grade mathematics lessons. After measurement development is completed, the intervention study will allow for the training of first-grade classroom teachers in the use of instructional language during mathematics lessons that is rich in cognitive processing demands. It is believed that students who are exposed to more cognitive processing language will demonstrate greater understanding of the information being taught – as evidenced by enhanced strategy use and more complete, coherent explanations when solving problems – and will also be able to transfer their understanding so that it can be applied in novel contexts.