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Using Concept Mapping to Foster Adaptive Expertise

Enhancing Teacher Metacognitive Learning to Improve Student Academic Performance


Diane Salmon and Melissa Kelly

Concept mapping is a powerful means to promote metacognitive learning in students and teachers alike. When teachers integrate concept mapping into their instructional planning, they clarify the big ideas, expose new conceptual relationships, and refine learning goals for their students. Salmon and Kelly provide a research-based framework and corresponding strategies to help teachers develop, critique, and revise their concept maps. In using this approach, teachers refine knowledge for teaching in order to expand their adaptive expertise and ultimately improve the academic performances of their students. Teacher candidates at both the undergraduate and graduate level can use this book to support their professional learning and planning for teaching. Teacher educators will find this text appropriate for courses that address learning, cognition, and instructional planning. In-service professionals can use the approach described here to support their own professional development through their practice. Administrators and coaches will find the volume a useful tool in fostering a professional learning community in their schools.


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Concept maps are powerful tools that promote metacognitive learning for both students and teachers. The practice of concept mapping is a long-standing learning strategy with a robust research base showing its impact on student achievement (Hattie, 2009; Novak, 1998). In the same way that concept map- ping benefits students’ learning, it can also benefit teachers’ learning. Specif- ically, concept mapping can function as embedded professional development for teachers in the context of their instructional planning. The underlying thinking processes are timeless in that they are required for realizing virtually any curricular standards. This book is intended to help teachers at all levels integrate concept map- ping into their instructional planning routines in service of building their adaptive expertise. The concept mapping practices described in the book pro- vide a systematic approach to help teachers become more metacognitive and refine their conceptual frameworks for teaching. We argue that as teachers be- come more metacognitive in their instructional planning, they will ultimate- ly improve the academic performances of their students. Aspiring teachers, practicing teachers, and those who support their growth should find value in the principles and practices outlined in this book. viii using concept mapping to foster adaptive expertise The book consists of three main parts. Part I, comprised of chapters 1, 2, and 3, presents the theoretical and empirical foundations for how and why concept mapping is such a powerful tool for teachers in their instructional planning. Part II (chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7) draws upon the foundations in...

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