Archive for the ‘Meta-Reflection’ Category

Class curriculums are effective or ineffective depending on the specific instructional strategies that are selected to enhance it.  Course content can be stale and boring or it can be fun and inspiring depending on what the teacher does to make the topic engaging and relevant.  The use of one instructional strategy or a few can make education and learning laborious and uninteresting.  Teachers should use as many instructional strategies as possible and should use those strategies when it fits the information and task to inspire learning and comprehension.

The most successful curriculum includes as many various instructional strategies as possible.  The effective teacher understands the multiple intelligences theory of Howard Gardiner and its applications and seeks to instruct students about the topic at hand in as many ways as possible.  Not only do they pursue including many different mediums of communicating content, but they also are informed on multiple strategies of organizing lessons.  Effective teachers vary direct instruction with cooperative learning in group activities, positive self-instruction and self analysis with nondirective teaching, discussing distinct facts that illuminate larger concepts with Inductive learning, analyzing subjects and topics for relevance and importance with Identifying Similarities and Differences, allowing student directed analysis and problem solving with Generating and Testing Hypotheses, etc.  Variable teaching strategies allow students to understand and know information in different ways and the information storage process is enhanced and solidified.

Instructional strategies should be used to fit the educational needs of students. Student understanding of content is dependent on how the information should be processed and comprehended.  Specific understandings require specific intellectual tasks that are brought about through specific instructional strategies.  Instructional strategies should fit the information that needs to be learned.  For example, Direct Instruction can be effective if the information to be processed requires that the students see and comprehend the task to be completed first, to be followed by individual and group practice.  The best example of Direct Instruction used effectively is in math, where how to solve a problem is modeled first by the teacher and then practiced by the students to establish their own ability.  Other examples of instructional strategies that fit the information to be processed is dividing historical periods into sections and concepts for processing and retention in history class, using a process of scientific analysis and inquiry to understand a compound’s chemical makeup in a science class, or using synthetics to encourage creative thought in art class.  Other instructional strategies are developed to address student emotional and behavioral development as well as the most productive class and group interaction and discussion.  Each teacher should understand the purpose and goal of each instructional strategy so that they can be used to the greatest effect.

The ultimate goal of teaching should be to inspire students with a desire to engage the learning process that will take place throughout the rest of their lives.  Unfortunately, today’s students are not often motivated to take ownership of their education.  Varying instructional strategies have the power to make information understandable, dynamic, and relevant, and to make learning fun and exciting.  The knowledge gained through various instructional strategies in class will lay the foundation for future understanding when the knowledge gained through education will become necessary for quality of life.  Teachers should use as many different instructional strategies in their class as possible and should only use instructional strategies when they fit the needs of students for understanding content.

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., Polluck, J. E. (2001).  Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement.  Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Joyce, B., Weil, M., Calhoun, E. (2009).  Models of Teaching. (8th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Scheuerman, R. (2011).  EDU 6526: Survey of Instructional Strategies.  Seattle Pacific University Graduate Program, Seattle, WA.  Lectures 1-9.

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