ASCD Faculty Bio
Betty K. Garner challenges educators to take a fresh look at learning as a creative act of the learner. While teaching art in a K–8 public school, she saw creative, intelligent students who were often unsuccessful in school and sometimes driving their teachers crazy because of their inability or unwillingness to do assigned class work. In her quest to identify how to help these students achieve in school, she did her doctoral research on learning and instruction and initiated an innovative approach for assessing and mediating development of students’ cognitive structures, which are the basic psychological tools for processing information for meaning.
While doing hundreds of in-depth case studies with struggling students and cross-case analysis to identify patterns, Garner learned from students how they learn. She also did extensive professional development with educators to help them gain insights into using everyday curriculum as a means of mediating development of cognitive structures so that students are equipped to “figure out how to figure out” on their own when confronted with unfamiliar information.
Garner is author of ASCD’s Getting to ”Got It!”: Helping Struggling Students Learn How to Learn. During her more than 40 years as an educator, she has served as a classroom teacher, art teacher, psychological examiner, professional learning coach, university instructor, researcher, and international consultant. Her continued research focuses on developing metability, which is the dynamic process of learning, creating, and changing.