What Works in Teaching

Below are some tips for teachers on what works in the classroom. This list can save new teachers a lot of trial-and-error.

  • Brainstorming, composing, revising, and editing is an effective way to teach writing
  • When the words students study are related to familiar experiences and the knowledge they already possess, children learn vocabulary better
  • For young math students, physical objects are used in their lessons helps them learn more effectively
  • Teachers who ask questions that require students to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information in addition to simply recalling facts increase student understanding and achievement

Read the complete list here: Quickies on What Works in Teaching

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[Teach the Teacher] Visual Instruction Plans

Visual Instruction Plans

VIPs are a way to present new information to students who don’t seem to understand what to do after you have just finished explaining the material.

VIPs present instructions to a student in “picture” format one step at a time.

The purpose of a VIP is to reduce the amount of time you (the teacher) spends in one-on-one “tutoring” mode. It also helps students to become more independent workers.

First read Weaning the Helpless Handraisers, Part 1 . This will prepare you for the Visual Instruction piece Weaning the Helpless Handraisers, Part 2

And finally, read A More Detailed Article on VIPs with Sample Lesson Plans.

Then, work on creating Visual Instruction Plans for your students.

[Teach the Teacher] A Model of Successful Instruction: Overcoming Negative Transfer

The model of ineffective skill building (input, input, input) is extremely common in current American educational systems. While the most effective model (input-output, input-output) is extremely rare.

Why is this? Going through elementary school (5 years), junior high (3 years), high school (4 years), and college (another 4 years) “has deeply affected your teaching style regardless of your philosophy. It will be your dominant habit whether you know it or not . . . ”

A clear example is the teacher who tries to make lessons interactive.
She talks for 25 minutes and saves 15 minutes for discussion after her lecture. And this 15 minutes is the interactive part.

This is ineffective. Student’s won’t remember what was said at the beginning of the talk. They will suffer from cognitive overload from the 25-minute lecture.

The teacher is acting on the model of teaching that she herself experienced. And althought she tries hard to do the correct thing, she needs to change her framework.

The solution? Tools for Teaching. You (the teacher) will work less while the students work more. Tools for Teaching keeps students involved thereby spending less time goofing around.

Up Next, inshaAllah, Tools for Teaching

Previously, A Model of Successful Instruction: Building Scale

Source:
Instruction Meets Discipline
by Dr. Fred Jones

[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

Benefits
–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

Benefits
–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

Source:
Instruction Meets Discipline
by Dr. Fred Jones

[Teach the Teacher] A Model of Successful Instruction, Problems of Scale

Previously, we discussed a successful model of instruction. It’s based on coaching and looks like this:

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

This model of instruction (coaching) is easy to implement in a sports or tutoring setting. But teachers and home-school moms ask, How do I do this for my students?

Unless an educator can expand the scale of coaching to an entire class, she will be forced into coaching an individual student while losing control of the rest of the class.

Up Next inshaAllah, Building Scale (of  the Successful Model of Instruction)

Previously, [Teach the Teacher] A Model of Successful Instruction

Source:
Instruction Meets Discipline
by Dr. Fred Jones

[Teach the Teacher] A Model of Successful Instruction

The successful model of instruction looks like this

  1. break larger unit into smaller steps
  2. give input (one step only)
  3. watch performance
  4. check for understanding
  5. give corrective feedback immediately before moving on
  6. additional practice

This model is best explained with an example from sports. Coaches don’t expect one-trial learning (and neither should teachers). Instead, coaches build skill in the following way:
Coach: input
Player: slowly repeats skill increasing speed with practice
Coach: “watches like a hawk” to correct any mistakes right then and there to ensure that the correct actions are repeated

The results of this model is that the more the player practices correctly, the better and quicker he becomes. However, speed is not more important than correct performance.

Up Next bi’ithnillah, Problems of Scale: Replicating this inside the classroom

Previously,

Source:
Instruction Meets Discipline
by Dr. Fred Jones

[Teach the Teacher] + Free nature reader eBook

The ebook is an scanned copy of actual material written by the St. Paul Teacher’s Training school. It’s from way back when, but it’s an excellent resource! It begins with plan for teaching this particular material. This plan would be such a great help for new teachers/homeschoolers. It can be adapted to fit any material.

Some of the stories –such as myths– are not appropriate for our Muslim children. But the rest seem okay.

Method of instruction
Materials. — The teacher goes out with her pupils to collect enough material referred to in the lessons, gathering enough to allow each pupil one specimen. Animals and plants are kept alive in the schoolroom to enable all to study their growth and habits.

Lesson
After the material is at hand, the development of a specific lesson is divided (though not formally and rigidly) into five parts.

I. Morning Talk
II. Drawing
III. Spelling
IV. Reading
V. Language

There is an explanation of what the teacher can do for each of these five parts.

The method of instruction is designed to stimulate thought, enlarge vocabulary, and open the eyes of children to the wonders of the world around them.

This book is for second graders but it can also be used for third and fourth graders as well.

FREE: All the Year Round: Autumn Nature Reader (PDF ebook)
Here’s a classic nature reader compiled by Frances L. Strong way back in 1895, filled with engaging stories and poetry about plants, animals and insects as they go through the fall season, preparing for wintertime. Lovely illustrations, gentle text, great for read-alouds & nature study! Highly recommended!

Click here for today’s resource!

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