Lecturing is a direct instruction method on which I rely when students need to acquire basic concepts and ideas. I implement these strategies to ensure that lectures are interactive and participatory to retain student attention and promote meaningful and enduring learning by:
1. Breaking the lecture down to 10-15 minute increments
2. Incorporating class activities (e.g., peer reviews, group work)
3. Embedding instructional technologies (e.g., text-polls, videos)
4. Using classroom assessment techniques (CAT)
Below you can access two examples of lectures that I have used in the general education and the senior teacher education courses that I have taught.
Example 1: This is an example of a power-point presentation that focuses on how teachers measure learning using various grading tools, which I used during two of the lessons in the assessment unit. The learning objectives for students were to:
1. Select the appropriate assessment tool to use for scoring and feedback
2. Discriminate between task specific and general rubrics
3. Design effective analytic and holistic rubrics
The lecture includes examples of rubrics, modeling the process for designing different rubrics, practice opportunities for students through 2 group class activities, a student presentation in which peers used rubrics they designed to evaluate the presentation.
Example 2: This is an example of a Prezi that I used for a lesson on Designing Effective Tests. The lecture includes examples of tests that students used as case studies across two group class activities in which students examined the format and type of the items and used a Test Quality Checklist to judge the quality of a test. The learning objectives for students were to:
1. Design a test blueprint
2. Select the appropriate item format based on the knowledge & skills to be assessed
3. Write effective multiple choice items
Case studies are another type of structure support, which function as representations of experiences that learners have not had. Cases are stories that represent potential real world problems in a domain (Jonassen, 1997, p. 84). Cases can help students understand and organize abstract and disparate concepts by requiring students to interpret scenarios and make decisions for real or constructed events.
I use case studies both for in-class and out of class activities. I embed case studies in:
1. Group activities during lecturing as a basis for student discussion. I select the cases from the textbook or I develop or modify cases based on the learning goals and their quality.
2. Homework assignments for which students identify a case for analysis and evaluation.
Below I provide to examples of case-based learning that I implemented in the general education course (EDPSY10).
Example 1: Looking into toddlers’ minds
The goal of this group activity was for students to identify the information processing abilities of toddlers and describe how these abilities enable toddlers to complete specific cognitive and social tasks. Students worked in small groups to provide explanations to the situation described in each of the four case scenarios.
Example 2: School Interventions: A Program Evaluation Project
Students in the general education class on “Individual Difference and Education” completed a project for the unit pertaining to the Physical, Cognitive, and Emotional Development in Middle Childhood. The purpose of the project was for students to identify and evaluate a school intervention/program that is implemented to support healthy development (physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional).
Specifically students identified and evaluated programs that prevent or overcome obesity problems, programs that improve students’ academic achievement, or programs that prevent or overcome student aggression or bullying. Students were asked to:
Identify the goals of a program
Explain which stakeholders were involved in its implementation and how
Evaluate the effectiveness of the program
Propose suggestions to the school board about a potential implementation of the program.
PROJECT BASED LEARNING
In the senior teacher certification class I provided students the opportunity to work with a partner or a small group for a project which was tied to a specific unit. This project became the curriculum through which students learned key concepts, ideas and principles abut indirect teaching methods which was the unit of instruction. The project was student-driven but there were specific end products (Wiki page and presentation) that students needed to complete, which were described in the assignment directions. The project was authentic and it engaged students in problem solving, argumentation, explanation, investigation, and modeling.
Indirect Teaching Methods: A Wiki project Students in the fundamentals of instruction course selected to closely examine one method of teaching for which they created a project page in WikiSpaces and gave a 20-minute presentation to the class about important aspects of the teaching method they studied. In each Wiki Space Project page students:
Described the teaching method.
Explained when the method would be effective and potential barriers to its implementation.
Provided information on how a teacher needs to prepare for effective implementation.
Identified lesson plans and videos in which the teaching method was effectively implemented.
The students commented on their classmate’s project pages and provided peer review comments to the presentation. Click on the Wiki Space icon to access the front Wiki page that provides a description of the project assignment. If you would like to access the students’ project pages you will need to create a Wiki Space account.
STUDENT CENTERED DISCUSSION
In Spring 2011 I took a professional development course on a discussion approach called Student Centered Discussion.I wanted to try this discussion approach with the small group of pre-service teachers in the fundamentals of instruction class to break out of the instructor-led discussions and to model a student-centered approach to class discussion to future teachers.
Because it was the first time that I would implement the approach, I used 10-15 minutes mini discussions instead of longer discussions. This is a lesson plan that I prepared of the topic of instructional planning in a standard-based educational system in which I embedded mini discussions.
The two mini discussions were based on small texts:
An excerpt from the comic book To teach: The journey in comics
Small opinion excerpts from the article National Education Standards: To Be or Not to Be (Paul E. Barton, Educational Leadership, April 2010)