[Teach the Teacher] A Model of Successful Instruction: Building Scale

This is a continuation of series Two Models of Teaching and Only One Works.

We’ve discussed that the model that works is input-output; input-output; input-output. It is the coaching model and it looks like this:

Coach: input
Player: slowly repeats skill increasing speed with practice (output)
Coach: “watches like a hawk” to correct any mistakes right then and there to ensure that the correct actions are repeated

The problem is how to do this on a large scale, with many students at the same time, and keep order.

Building Scale
Two things are required for the coaching model to work in the classroom: a discipline plan, and instruction tools. More on discipline plans later.

Instruction tools leave the teacher free to walk the classroom, constantly checking for understanding.  We will focus on the Say, See, Do “coaching” model.

There are two main Say, See, Do coaching formats:
–partners coaching,
–and old-fashioned coaching

I. Partners Coaching
This is simple and easy to put to use.

Step 1 — Divide the class into partners. Pair a weak student with a strong one. Avoid matching best friends, enemies, etc.

Step 2 — The teacher teaches step one of the skill. Then says, “Teach you partner.”

Step 3 — Partner A teaches Partner B exactly as the teacher taught complete with verbalization and demonstration.

Step 4 — Partner B teacher Partner A exactly as the teacher taught complete with verbalization and demonstration.

Step 5 — Teacher and Students repeat steps 1 thru 4 for each of the remainder skills.

Print a copy
Print Partner Coaching

–acts as a pre-writing activity
–structures step-by-step performance
–works well for any subject
–well suited for conceptual lessons

II. Old Fashioned Coaching
This is another easy-to-implement format. It’s the way teachers used to teach. It requires enough chalkboard or dry erase board and chalk/markers for every student.

Step 1 — The teacher says, “Let’s go to the board class.” Students stand at the board next to their partners (see Partner Coaching).

Step 2 — The teacher writes the problem on the board. Every student copies it.

Step 3 — The teacher gives a brief explanation of Step One of the skill she wants her students to master.

Step 4 — Student slowly perform Step One of the skill.

Step 5 — The teacher engages in Corrective Feedback
She checks on student work herself on the spot
She directs partners to check each other’s work on the spot

Step 6 — Repeat Steps 3 thru 5 for three or four additional practice problems, picking up the pace with each one.

On the last practice problem, the teacher says “This one is for speed” and students work quickly then return to their desks.

Step 7 — Students then engage in Guided Practice. That is, they sit and work another five or six problems. The teacher checks each student’s work as they finish.

Print a copy
Print Old Fashioned Coaching

–a walk through of the steps of the problem
–teacher monitors students work continuously
–on the spot corrective feedback
–little worry for students about getting things wrong
–kids love to write on chalk boards
–teacher coaches the class through the new skill
–students get enough practice that they can work independently at their desks

Up Next, inshaAllah, Overcoming Negative Transfer

Previously, A Model of Successful Instruction, Problems of Scale

Instruction Meets Discipline
by Dr. Fred Jones


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