Reflection of Program Standard 2. Instruction

“The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.”

In a way of summarizing my end of class learning in EDU6150 General Inquiry Teaching Assessment Methods I will reflect on Program Standard 2. Instruction. I was able to impact student learning this quarter by researching instructional practices and applying them in the classroom that I was observing during my field experience.

Some effective instructional practices as summarized by Koetje from Rosenshine that I have been considering when providing classroom instructions:

  1. Review of previous lesson content
  2. Segmenting new material into comprehensible bits
  3. Asking questions to promote student engagement
  4. Teacher modeling the use of strategies or procedures (think aloud)
  5. Frequent check for understanding across a lesson
  6. Scaffolding supports to increase successful outcomes
  7. Independent practice
  8. Frequent review across days, weeks and month

For example I was able to provide hands on help during a cat dissection lab. For the first day I became familiar with the handouts that were provided to the students and walked around the classroom to get an idea for the culture and overhear some of the common struggles that would prepare me for the next day. When I arrived I had come prepared with some additional resources and was able to sit with a few of the groups that had fallen behind and review what they already knew and had been graded on before getting into the next fill in the blanks on the handouts. I was asking them questions about their thoughts on locations of muscle groups and organs to check their familiarity with the terminology as it relates to the human body and comparing them with the cats. During the moments that I was physically performing a task I was thinking out loud so they felt comfortable with their own struggles and to understand how my own thoughts worked in the discovery processes of dissection. I was also checking back in with them on their own understandings before jumping into the next discover-able groups of muscles and then would move to another group and come back and check on them for techniques and progress.

So my next curiosity came from how do people learn? I have recently read some heated debates as to whether or not the fundamentals we were basing our “how do people learn” practices on were still holding true, so I was pleasantly surprised at how universal the instructions were from this 1999 paper by Donovan titled “How Do People Learn?”

In this paper there are 3 core concepts:

1. Students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works. If their initial understanding is not engaged, they may fail to grasp the new concepts and information that are taught, or they may learn them for purposes of a test but revert to
their preconceptions outside the classroom.

2. To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must:
(a) have a deep foundation of factual knowledge, (b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and (c) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application.

3. A “meta-cognitive” approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them.

So within these 3 concepts lies the implications that:

1. Teachers must draw out and work with the preexisting understandings that their students bring with them.

2. Teachers must teach some subject matter in depth, providing many examples in which the same concept is at work and providing a firm foundation of factual knowledge.

3. The teaching of meta-cognitive skills should be integrated into the curriculum in a variety of subject areas

And within the classroom environment it is best that:

1. Schools and classrooms must be learner centered.

2. To provide a knowledge-centered classroom environment, attention must be given to what is taught (information, subject matter), why it is taught (understanding), and what competence or mastery looks like.

3. Formative assessments—ongoing assessments designed to make students’ thinking visible to both teachers and students—are essential. They permit the teacher to grasp the students’ preconceptions, understand where the students are in the “developmental corridor” from informal to formal thinking, and design instruction accordingly. In the assessment-centered classroom environment, formative assessments help both teachers and students monitor progress.

4. Learning is influenced in fundamental ways by the context in which it takes place. A community-centered approach requires the development of norms for the classroom and school, as well as connections to the outside world, that support core learning values

These were straightforward enough to help me consider how I would incorporate them into my teaching and classroom environment. Instructional practices I was not able to incorporate this quarter but am eager to use and have exposure to (as summarized from Koetje PowerPoint):

  1. Identifying similarities and differences
    1. Venn diagrams
    2. graphic organizers
    3. teacher/student lead
  2. Summarizing and note-taking
    1. Information familiarization
    2. Information analysis to make connections and prioritize
    3. note-taking might be better handled with handout- student age in minutes of note taking
  3. Teacher generated cues and questions
    1. necessary for effective follow up
    2. prepare ahead of time
    3. important information
    4. wait time, and pair-share
  4. Non-linguistic representations
    1. Visually
    2. Auditory
    3. Kinesthetic
    4. more planning/resources
  5. Homework
    1. Aligned with lesson goals
    2. matches student ability
    3. independent
    4. involves feedback system
    5. 10 min/night per grade level
  6. Cooperative learning
    1. group note-taking
    2. 3-4 students
    3. organization of group-know your students
  7. Reflection
    1. personalize knowledge
    2. reconcile prior knowledge and experience
    3. application at anytime during lesson
    4. variable media
    5. results used to dictate next step

Resources:

Donovan, S.M. (1999). How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice. Retrived from: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9457.html

Koetje, K. (2016). Selecting Instructional Practices to Deepen Knowledge and Skill [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://spu.techsmithrelay.com/reqT.

Rosenshine, B. (2012). Principles of Instruction Research-Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know. Retrived from:  https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/Rosenshine.pdf

Subcategories of Program Standard 2:

2. Instruction – The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.
2.1 Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques
Most of the teacher’s questions are of high quality. Adequate time is provided for students to respond.
2.2 Engaging Students in Learning
Most activities and assignments are appropriate to students, and almost all students are cognitively engaged in exploring content.
2.3 Reflecting on Teaching
Teacher makes an accurate assessment of a lesson’s effectiveness and the extent to which it achieved its instructional outcomes and can cite general references to support the judgment.
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