Throughout my studies in EDU 6150- General Inquiry I have developed as a teacher in my instructional ability. Prior to this class, there were a variety of elements of instruction with which I was unfamiliar. I did not have a clear picture of how teaching strategies could best be implemented to serve students. While I am still learning how to expertly tailor instruction, I now have a variety of instructional tools with which to support my students.
One of the most helpful instructional practices reviewed this quarter is based on the idea that students learn best when new content builds on previous knowledge (Donovan, Bransford & Pellegrino, 1999). This form of instruction allows for deeper understanding as well solidification of information in a student’s mind (Donovan, Bransford & Pellegrino, 1999). Another research-based instructional practice essential to effective instruction is the use of chunking. By chunking information, or breaking content into smaller more manageable parts, larger, denser pieces of information are learned more effectively (Marzano, 2007). Additionally, chunking supports learning for students at every academic level (Koetje, 2015). Finally, and perhaps the most integral part to effective instruction, we discussed the concept of an “Essential Question”. By beginning with an essential question in mind, the learning unit as well as each individual lesson plan can be enhanced to create a lasting impact on students. Using essential questions as an instructional strategy allows student to see the real life application of what they are learning (Wiggens & McTighe, 2005).
There are a variety of ways I hope to implement what I have learned from this class in my own lesson planning. First of all, I will develop lessons based on an essential question I create based on state and national standards. While it may be easier to select a lesson and configure it in such a way that it aligns with a standard, students will miss out on deeper learning. Additionally, I will plan my units and lessons in such a way that information can be chunked. Pre-planning will allow me the opportunity to insure I have adequate time to teach information thoroughly and with enough time for students to understand difficult concepts. Finally, I will ensure I connect new information to the knowledge base my students already have, drawing on their interests as well as what has been taught in my classroom throughout the year (see Figure 2).
Donovan, M. S., Bransford, J. D., & Pellegrino, J. W. (Eds.). (1999). How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice. Washington DC: National Academy Press. doi:http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9457.html
Koetje, K. (2015). Presenting New Information [Podcast]. Seattle: Seattle Pacific University.
Marzano, R. J. (2007). The Art and Science of Teaching: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Wiggens, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD. doi:https://bbweb03.spu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-1134491-dt-content-rid-2474285_1/courses/EDU6150_46328_201563/EDU6150_46328201453_ImportedContent_20150121014720/Understanding by Design Chapter 1.pdf