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1. Flipped Instruction

Description

Flipped classrooms involve asking students to complete the reading, preparation and introductory work at home. Then, during class time, the students do practice questions that they would traditionally do for homework.

Benefits

  • Flipped instruction enables the teacher to offload the direct instruction elements of education like Introductions to homework. This enables teachers to spend more time on student-centered differentiated support.

Challenges

  • Students may not complete their assigned pre-class homework, which will undermine the lesson.

Theoretical Link

Social Constructivism / Socio-Cultural Theory: The teacher can spend more time supporting students in a student-centered environment.

Example

  1. Assign a video introducing a concept for homework.
  2. Spend the first 10 minutes of the lesson assessing students’ comprehension of the video
  3. Jump straight into student-centered practice tasks
  4. Walk around the class helping students who need additional support for the rest of the lesson

2. Play based learning

Description

Students learn cognitive, social, and physical skills during play tasks. Tasks can be teacher-led with specific goals (e.g. volume transfer in a sandpit) or unstructured student-led play.

Benefits

  • Engagement: students may be more engaged during active play-based learning compared to teacher-centered instruction.
  • Cognition: students get the opportunity to learn through discovery and trial-and-error, helping to build neural pathways
  • Social: students play together, developing communication, groupwork, and negotiation skills.
  • Physical: play engages fine and gross motor functions, helping to improve physical abilities.

Challenges

  • Many traditionalist, including many parents and potentially your head teacher, may consider play to have no educational or academic benefit.
  • Parents may frown upon this method for older students, despite its benefits across age groups.
  • Many people consider that the risks of injury during play-based learning are too high.

Example

  1. Use modelled instruction to show students how to play with developmentally appropriate resource-rich toys and puzzles. Consider puzzles that require mathematical skills that link to current curriculum outcomes.
  2. Provide students with the puzzles and allow free unstructured play time
  3. Mingle with the students, helping them with prompting and guiding questions
  4. End the lesson with a whole group discussion of what they learned during the lesson.

3. Project-based learning (PBL)

Definition

Project-based learning requires students to spend an extended period of time (e.g. a week or more) on a single project to gain in-depth knowledge about the task. The projects should be personally meaningful and give students freedom to go in-depth on areas of interest.

Benefits

  • Students have the opportunity to become ‘experts’ on topics. By going deep on a topic, students may become very knowledgeable and feel empowered.
  • A balance is struck between ensuring students focus on curriculum-linked projects and giving students the freedom to explore the details of a topic that are of personal interest.

Challenges

  • Students tend to have increased freedom using this approach. So, students need to learn self-regulation skills before beginning the task.

Theoretical Link

Constructivism: Students work independently using their own intellect and resources to learn. By doing personal research, students ‘construct’ knowledge in their minds and apply that knowledge to the project to demonstrate their knowledge.

Example

  1. Teacher assigns students a research question, such as “What are the key characteristics of mammals?”
  2. Students work in small groups to come up with an idea for a poster, diagram, or presentation project on the topic.
  3. Teacher approves or asks for amendments of students’ proposed projects.
  4. Students are provided a series of lessons over a 2-week period in computer labs and in resource-rich classrooms to complete their project.
  5. Teacher checks-in intermittently to ensure standards are upheld and to stimulate students to improve upon their projects.
  6. The project concludes with students presenting their project to their parents.

4. Authentic Learning

Definition

Authentic learning involves having students learn about concepts in real-life (or near real-life) environments.

Benefits

  • By learning a task within its context, a student will understand its value for them outside of the classroom.
  • Engagement: students may be more engaged in a task if they understand its practical application rather than just its theoretical purpose.
  • Cognition and Memory: Students may find it easier to recall information if they can reflect on an instance in which they applied the knowledge to a real-life task.

Challenges

  • Authentic learning tasks are difficult to set-up from within a classroom.
  • It is debatable whether so-called ‘authentic’ environments are genuinely authentic. A mock supermarket experience for practicing counting money, for example, lacks the potential for environmental distractions of a real-life situation.
  • Some information is by its very nature academic and theoretical rather than practical, and this information is still of value to students.

Theoretical Link

Constructivism: Authentic learning environments are designed for students to be active learners who ‘construct’ knowledge through personal experience.

Example

  1. An ESL teacher provides students with a set of conversational tasks to complete during a day’s field trip to the city.
  2. Students complete the tasks in the ‘real world’ by walking around the city asking for directions, buying lunch, etc.
  3. Class comes together at the end of the day to discuss and reflect on their experiences of applying their knowledge in the ‘real world’.

5. Discovery Learning

Definition

Discovery learning involves allowing students maximum freedom within a resource-rich environment to ‘discover’ answers to challenges. It requires students to build upon prior knowledge and use resources available in the environment to increase their own knowledge. 

Discovery learning is often held in contrast to teacher-centered approaches, as students are not ‘told’ information; instead, they must discover knowledge for themselves..

Benefits

  • Students generate knowledge for themselves rather than being told what is right and wrong.
  • By discovering truths, students will have a firmer understanding for the reasoning behind why something is true.

Challenges

  • Too much student freedom may distract students from the learning outcomes.
  • This can be a time-consuming technique as students discover information at their own pace. It can therefore be difficult to implement in education systems that are packed with curriculum outcomes that must be met.

Theoretical Link

Construcitivism: Students generate their own knowledge through engagement with their environment rather than having truths ‘told’ to them by an authority figure.

Example

  1. Teacher places the appropriate resources in the classroom to allow students to discover truths themselves. These resources may include science experiment stations, newspaper articles, etc.
  2. Teacher transparently presents the lesson objectives to the students, i.e. “What is heavier – sand or water?”
  3. Students are given minimal guidance, but sent to the learning stations to try to answer the prompt themselves.
  4. Teacher provides minimal guidance, recognizing that making mistakes and trying the ‘wrong thing’ is also a part of the discovery experience.
  5. Students get together at the end of the class to discuss what they ‘discovered’.

6. High Expectations

Definition

Setting high expectation involves requiring students to put in maximum effort during their lessons. HIgh expectations does not mean expecting all students to meet a certain standard. Rather, it means expecting each student to try to beat their own personal best.

Benefits

  • High expectations are necessary to ensure students continue to strive for improvement. Without high expectations in the classroom, students can become lazy and lose respect for education.

Challenges

  • Teachers need to be aware that sometimes students have ‘off days’ where they cannot succeed at their normal level. This may be due to health, hunger, or environmental factors. 
  • Teachers need to balance high expectations with compassion for their students. Try not to let burnout occur due to strenuous demands.

Example

  1. Measure students’ prior knowledge to ascertain their current developmental level.
  2. Have students aim to achieve at or above their current ability in a given task.
  3. If students underperform, provide formative feedback and insist they readdress their work to make edits and improvements.
  4. Allow students to progress to subsequent tasks only when their work has met or exceeded the minimum standard you set for that individual.

7. Parent and Community Engagement

Definition

Parent and community engagement involves bringing students together with their community. It can involve bringing parents and community members into the classroom, or bringing students out into the community on field trips.

Benefits

  • By engaging with the community, students come to see themselves as a member of their community. 
  • It can help students to get to know important members of their community to give them a sense of belonging, and help them see (and, in the future, seek) support networks.
  • By bringing role models into the classroom (especially minority and female role models), students can come to see that they could potentially become female firefighters, politicians of color, etc.
  • Students can learn from more than just one teacher to get a variety of perspectives.

Challenges

  • Safety concerns often require teachers and community members to fill-in forms and complete background checks before community engagement can occur.
  • Finding members of the community willing to work with teachers can be difficult.

Theoretical Link

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory: Students learn within family and community contexts (children’s ‘first teachers’) in order to respect and carry-on culturally engaged learning.

Example

  1. Teacher does networking to find community members willing to come into the classroom.
  2. Teacher finds relevant curriculum links that community members can help them teach about.
  3. Teacher and community members meet to discuss a lesson idea.
  4. Community members and teachers team-teach in the classroom.
  5. Students are given the opportunity for one-on-one time with community members.
  6. Students present the results of their lesson to community members before community members leave.

8. Unconditional Positive Regard

Definition

Unconditional positive regard involves teachers to consistently and unconditionally view students as capable and competent. When students make mistakes, fail, or misbehave, it is the teacher’s role to continue to let students know that they believe in the student and their abilities.

Benefits

  • Empowering: when students are given unconditional positive regard, they know that their teacher believes in their ability to constantly do better.
  • Shows Empathy and builds Trust: children come to learn to respect and trust their teacher when they know their teacher is always on ‘their side’.

Challenges

  • Teachers need to ensure that they still let students know that inappropriate behavior or lack of effort is unacceptable. The teacher should follow-up their discipline with comments about positive regard.

Theoretical Link

Humanist theory of Education: Humanist Carl Rogers invented this approach. He believed unconditional positive regard was necessary for building students’ self-confidence.

Example

  1. “Even though you did not do well today, I expect that you will come to school doing better tomorrow.”
  2. “The quality of your work does not match your potential. Let’s talk about some strategies for improvement before you go away and do it again.”

9. Modelled Teaching 

Definition

Modelled teaching is an instructional strategy that involves the teacher ‘showing’ students how to do a task. The teacher shows the task while also breaking it down into small steps. This helps students to see how to complete the task.

Benefits

  • A very effective way to introduce new topics.
  • The teacher maintains control when introducing a new idea to ensure students have appropriate understanding and safety knowledge before tying for themselves.
  • Shows that learning can occur passively – students can learn simply by watching.

Challenges

  • Not appropriate as a standalone strategy. Students need to eventually try things alone to show competency. Therefore, consider matching modelled teaching up with the I Do, We Do, You Do method

Theoretical Link

Bandura’s Behaviorism: Bandura blends behaviorism with constructivism by showing that learning can occur through observation only.

10. I Do We Do You Do Method

Definition

The I Do, We Do, You Do method is a scaffolding strategy that provides gradual release of responsibility from the teacher to the student. It involves three steps: (1) I Do: Teacher models the task; (2) We Do: Student and teacher do the task together; (3) You Do: Student attempts to complete the task alone.

Benefits

  • Students are provided an appropriate balance of support and freedom.
  • Teacher has ample time to assess students’ abilities to make adjustments to their pedagogy as they move through the 3 steps (particularly in step 2)

Challenges

  • In large groups, students may fall behind at Steps 2 and 3.

Theoretical Link

Sociocultural Theory: Students learn through social interaction with a more knowledgeable other (see: Lev Vygotsky).

Example

  1. Teacher asks all students to sit on a mat at the front of the class.
  2. Teacher models the steps required to complete the day’s task (I Do).
  3. Teacher re-does the task. This time, instead of telling the students the steps, the teacher asks students to raise their hand and tell the teacher what to do next (We Do)
  4. Teacher asks students to complete the task in small groups. Teacher walks around providing support (We Do)
  5. Students complete the lesson by doing the task alone. Teacher only intervenes for the few students who are still struggling (You Do)

 

 


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