Archive for June, 2011

Gary Borich’s analysis of successful teaching practices and perspectives in his book Effective Teaching Methods: Researched Based Practice is extremely detailed, informative, and lengthy. His analysis about what it takes to be a successful and influential teacher is extremely helpful in the process of constructing an accurate perspective of student needs and what makes instruction successful. There is an unfortunate tendency, however, that arises in the attempt to define constructive and effective teaching, that is the defining and cataloging of individuals by the social, environmental, and personal factors that surround them. If we, as teachers, attempt to define students by their environments and by certain observable traits, we do them a great disservice.
Borich’s analysis of the different factors affecting students and instruction is incredible and exemplary. His explanation of the five key factors proven to contribute to effective teaching (Lesson Clarity, Instructional Variety, Teacher Task Orientation, Engagement in the Learning Process, and Student Success Rate) and of the behaviors accompanying effective instruction (Using Student Ideas and Contributions, Structuring, Questioning, Probing, and Teacher Affect) are incredibly informative, accurate, and helpful (pgs. 7- 22). His description of the environmental, social, family, and personality factors that affect student perspectives is accurate and expansive in its breadth. The most helpful part of the chapter is the description of the multiple intelligences of Howard Gardiner and Sternberg’s definition of intelligence (pgs. 48 – 52). Chapter three’s description of objectives and the foundations for objectives is an essential understanding for the creation of lesson plans. Chapter four’s description of vertical (discipline centered) and horizontal (cross discipline) lesson planning is helpful for developing a perspective about how your lessons will fit into a greater curriculum.
Borich in the introduction in chapter one talks about how instruction is more than mastering an understanding of all of the different aspects that can affect the atmosphere and individuals in a classroom. He writes about the key behaviors mentioned above, “…you might think an effective teacher simply is one who has mastered all of the key behaviors and helping behaviors. But teaching involves more than knowledge of how to perform individual behaviors. Much like an artist, who blends color and texture into a painting to produce a coherent impression, so must an effective teacher blend individual behaviors into teaching practices that promote students achievement” (pg. 27). I would take Borich’s assertion one step farther. I would say that effective teaching is more than understanding all of the different factors that may affect or seek to define an individual or classroom. In attempting to understand all of the different ways how students can be different in their needs, abilities, and personalities, my natural tendency (at least) is to start thinking about individuals in terms of their traits, dependencies, and environmental factors, leaving very little room for students to assert their individuality and personality because of or in spite of factors affecting them. My arguments are that 1. it is important and essential to understand how students will have needs and abilities that differ in the classroom so that the teacher can adequately provide resources for them, but 2. that cataloging and defining individuals by visible factors has the effect of creating distance between students and teachers, because students are being analyzed as subjects not as individuals in the learning atmosphere of the classroom.
References:
Borich, G. (2011). Effective Teaching Methods: Research-Based Practice (7th Ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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These two articles highlight current issues in education.  The first article is a summary of several articles about advances in education technology and its effect on education.  The second article is an observation of a classroom that I did at a local high school and a comparison of their curriculum with what Jeannie Oakes and Martin Lipton (2007) suggest in their book Teaching to Change the World.  

EDu 6989- Final Issues

EDU 6989- Final Observations

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