What Are the Observable Correlates of the Aha! Moment, and How Does This Moment Relate to Moving from Surface to Deep Thinking?

Date

2018-12

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Abstract

Title: What are the observable correlates of the Aha! moment, and how does this moment relate to moving from surface to deep thinking? Background: The purpose of this study is to provide reliable evidence of the observable correlates of the Aha! moment and what this means for moving from surface to deep thinking. This research can lead to the development of a framework for teachers, for teaching practice, and for enhancing learning outcomes. Evidence will be sought such that Aha! moments can be experienced and used by teachers in every class, whether intentionally by design or via serendipitous occurrences during lessons. Research Questions: What are the observable correlates of the Aha! moment for adolescents in a secondary school environment? How does this moment relate to moving from surface to deep thinking, and what are its subsequent effects on learners’ experiences? How do teachers in a secondary school environment identify and describe Aha! moments they have observed, and what effect do these experiences have on their practice? Methods: This is a mixed methods study, documenting both quantitative and qualitative data. Video recordings will be analyzed numerically and through imagery, both with data outputs that provide quantitative data. This study will also provide data surrounding learning preconditions and resultant changes in thinking based on insight experiences. A survey will be given; informal conversational interviews will be used; general observations will be collected by the researcher; and teachers will submit narrative reports and participate in semi-structured focus groups. Findings: Observable correlates of Aha! moments, their implications for surface and deep thinking, and the effects these experiences have on teachers are described in vivid detail in this study. The identifiable preconditions, visible cues, and positive outcomes were discerned through a number of modalities employed by the researcher. The differences in facial expressions and body language leading up to and during Aha! moments reflect two distinct variations: very focused, extremely quiet, almost still; lots of movement, laughter, hands clapping, expansion of facial features, and loud utterances. Aha! moments have a noticeable impact on how teachers approach their craft and also on the connection they report with their students. Findings show clear connections between heightened states of awareness surrounding Aha! experiences, how positive and supportive emotional settings foster greater occurrences of these moments, and how students express great enthusiasm as they better understand the processes that led them towards moments of insight. Data confirms that these experiences are accompanied by changes in thinking, supporting the hypothesis that Aha! moments in learning provide benefits for engagement, improved outcomes, and also for the transfer from surface to deep processing. Conclusions: This study provides reliable evidence of the observable correlates of the Aha! moment, implications for moving from surface to deep thinking, and effects these moments have with teachers and their practice. Aha! moments can be experienced and developed by teachers in every situation, whether intentionally or via serendipitous occurrences. These data should lead to the development of improved frameworks for teachers, for teaching practice, and for enhancing learning outcomes with students.

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Keywords

Education, Leadership, Administration

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