EDU 6526: Final Thoughts

This course has not only been an enjoyable experience but has been very though provoking in the realm of pedagogical styles that have widely influenced the educational practices we see in schools today. For the most part I was unfamiliar with many of the instructional strategies introduced in EDU 6526. This course has given me a deeper knowledge base and has equipped me with various teaching models that will help me become a more efficient educator. Some of the instructional strategies that I found particularly influential were induction, cooperative learning, Bloom’s taxonomy, learner-centered approaches, and direct instruction. I particularly value the concept of inductive learning. This strategy requires the process of learning by example where a teacher will establish an instructional focus, develop conceptual control, and where skill or concept understanding is developed (Scheuerman, 2013). Intellectually, I am beginning to apply these strategies and think about how I would use them in my future classroom.

More importantly this class has taught be the importance of using a variety of strategies in the classroom. Students are becoming more and more individualized and not one method best suites the entire class of students. Teachers need to be equipped with a variety of instructional strategies that can be applied to the classroom. These strategies not only have their strengths but they too have weaknesses. For example, many times teachers will only use the strategy of cooperative learning. The overuse of this strategy can cause students to become “bored” where in reality students also need time in individual activities. Just because a method is effective, does not mean it should be used during every learning experience.

I know that path to becoming a teacher will not be easy or as direct as one intends, but it is that journey that really helps the development of practical ideas and strategies. Additionally, becoming a teacher as well as being a teacher is an active process. One can never state the importance of professional development so that we can continue to develop as an educator.

Scheuerman, R. (2013). EDU 6526 Course Lecture Notes.

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EDU 6526: Student Self-Esteem

It is very important as a teacher to foster each individual student’s self-esteem especially in their classroom work because “one of the best predictors of student academic achievement is student perceptions of their own academic abilities” (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007). To simply put it, if students lack confidence in a particular subject or lesson – students will begin to lose motivation because they feel inadequate to complete the task.

One strategy commonly used to foster student self-esteem is by simply providing recognition. One method which makes effective use of recognition is referred to as “pause, prompt, and praise” (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001). This method is best used when a student is facing a particularly demanding task and is having difficulty comprehending. The pause phase requires the students to stop and discuss with the teacher on the difficulties the student is undergoing and why he/she may be experiencing these difficulties. This then will progress to the prompt phase where the teacher will provide specific examples on how the student can improve his/her performance. Finally, the praise is given when the student’s performance improves based upon the suggested prompts (pp. 55-56). The success of finishing a difficult task will not only keep students motivated but will improve their self-esteem because students will realize that they can achieve anything as long as they put effort into it.

Using strategies of the “pause, prompt, and praise” will help maintain student’s self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the beliefs student has about their competence or ability to perform a task (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007). By helping students work through difficult tasks and recognizing their success, teachers can foster student self-esteem. There are always going to be instances where students get disappointed or frustrated by an assignment, but it is our responsibility to keep them motivated and by doing so, students will want to continue trying regardless of their previous failures of success.

Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instructions that works: research based instruction for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Pressley, N., & McCormick, C.B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York, NY: Guildford Press.

EDU 6526: Student Personalities and Emotions

One approach based upon the work of Carl Rogers is the nondirective teaching model. This model focuses on positive relationships which enable people to grow and because of this; instruction should be based on concepts of human relations rather than concepts of subject matter (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2009). The teacher’s role in the nondirective stance is one who guides student’s growth and development (p. 327). Furthermore, this model focuses on nurturing students rather than controlling the sequence of learning (p. 327). The nondirective approach has four qualities for its atmosphere. First, the teacher portrays warmth and responsiveness, showing genuine interest and accepting the students regardless of anything. Second, the teacher does not judge or moralize any of the students. Third, students are free to express their emotions and feelings – this does not mean they have control over the teacher and can act upon these emotions and feelings. Fourth, the teacher to student relationship is free from any type of pressure or coercion (p. 328).

I believe using these four approaches to produce a quality atmosphere can benefit each and every student. The classroom should not only feel safe and secure, but should foster the unique personalities and emotions of all students. In the nondirective approach, the teacher views every learning task as an opportunity to help the student grow as a person (p. 328). The nondirective model’s four qualities can help solve problems in personal, social, and academic situations. Each situation students would feel safe to not only express their feelings but to explore them as well. The overall theme of this model is that being a teacher is not implying a generic teacher to student relation, which is of an authoritative figure to help students learn academically. The social and emotional things students are exposed to are immense, where teachers now are becoming more and more of a counselor type role. Teachers need to address and help student’s personalities as well as their emotions.

 

Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2009). Models of teaching. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

EDU 6526: Role Playing Strategies

What is it that makes one a “good citizen” and how are the fundamental goals of citizenship being promoted in classrooms? When I think of citizenship, I believe that it strongly relates with the character of an individual. The Roman Philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “within the character of the citizen, lies the welfare of the nation”. What this means is it is important to possess and promote qualities of honesty, responsibility, kindness, and determination in the face of difficulty (Lickona, 2004).

One great strategy that can be used especially in an elementary classroom setting is the method of role playing. Role playing begins with problem situations, specifically in the lives of the students and explores how values drive the behavior. This results in the students raising their consciousness about values (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2009). A couple of direct effects of role playing activities are: a greater understanding about and empathy with differences in values as students interact, and strategies for resolving conflicts in fashions that respect different points of view (p. 288). Role playing used as a teaching model can help facilitate personal as well as social dimensions of education. Through role playing students can increase their ability to recognize their own as well as other student’s feelings, they can learn new behaviors for handling difficult situations, and they can improve their problems solving skills (p. 300). Using role playing activities within the curriculum, students will be able to grow and develop skills that will make them a better part of not only their classroom but society. All these are skills for building fundamentally “good” citizens of society.

Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2009). Models of teaching. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Lickona, T. (2004). Character matters: How to help our children develop good judgment, integrity, and other essential virtues. New York, NY: Touchstone.

EDU 6526: Cooperative Learning

One of the most popular instructional strategies in education is cooperative learning. So what exactly is cooperative learning? Cooperative learning is a form of active learning where students work together to perform specific tasks in small group settings. Additionally, there are five defining elements of cooperative learning: positive interdependence, face-to-face promotive interactions, individual and group accountability, interpersonal and small group skills, and group processing (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001).

One key component of cooperative learning is how groups are to be assembled. Research has shown that in general, homogenous groupings seem to have an positive effect on achievement in comparison with no grouping at all (Marzano, et al., 2001). Is using homogeneous groupings the more effective method? Research indicates that when low ability students are placed in homogeneous groups they will perform worse than in heterogeneous groups (-23 percentile gain). Research additionally shows high performing students only gaining marginally of 3 percentile and the medium ability students show a 19 percentile gain (Marzano, et al., 2001). The benefits of grouping students based on their abilities can show some achievement but it is not as effective as grouping students. Cooperative learning will allow for group members to learn from each other and for this reason it is important to organize groups with members of varying skills and abilities. By organizing based on ability we are limiting the learning and understandings in which students would be exposed to.

Cooperative learning is such a popular instructional strategy because it produces better learning and more motivated learners than competitive and individual learning. Furthermore, cooperative learning has demonstrated to facilitate learning at all grade levels regardless of the subject and for all achievement levels (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007). I love the idea of using cooperative learning as I feel beyond facilitating better learning; it also provides opportunities for other life skills to be developed. Through cooperative learning students will build positive feelings towards others and affirm the values of other people. In general, cooperation will increase students’ self-esteem as they become more valued within groups. Finally, as students work together they will begin to improve their small group skills of communication, trust, leadership, decision making, and conflict resolution (Marzano, et al., 2001). Cooperative learning is something that I hope to effectively use and implement in my classroom.

 

Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instructions that works: research based instruction for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Pressley, N., & McCormick, C.B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York, NY: Guildford Press.

EDU 6526: Illustrated Advance Organizers

Similar to effective cueing and questioning, advance organizers relies on a focal point of what is important rather than unusual. Also, higher levels of advance organizers will produce deeper learning than lower level forms (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001). There are four general types of advance organizers: expository, narrative, skimming, and illustrated. The focus of this will be on the practical use of illustrated advance organizers within the classroom.

Using illustrated advance organizers is an effective method in providing visual representations of the information students are about to learn. From these representations, students will be able to better understand the confusing topics presented in the subject. One type of illustrated advance organizer is a KWL chart which is an effective way to guide students thought process through a classroom activity. The letters represent K for what students know about the topic, W for what they wish to find out, and L for what they have learned (Hill, & Flynn, 2007). This is a simple chart that can help students organize their previous knowledge with the new knowledge presented.

Here is an example for a KWL chart:

KWL Chart

Concept maps are illustrated tools for organizing and representing knowledge. Concept maps often use various shapes and colors to differentiate between concepts. Similarly, they use connecting lines to link two like concepts. Concept maps can be an effective method for students to use in clarifying, organizing, relating, and grouping new or old ideas and information about the topic. Concept maps can also require students to figure out on their own the best representation of what they know and what they have learned.

The main purpose for using any sort of advance organizer is to “bridge the gap between what the learners already knows and what he needs to know before he can successfully lean the task at hand” (p. 117). Just like using cues and questions, the goal is for students to obtain a deeper understanding by making the topic relevant and meaningful. Ultimately, KWL charts and concept maps are great visual organizers to use in a classroom to help harness that deeper learning.

Hill, J.D., & Flynn, K.M., Classroom instruction that works with English language learners. (2006.). Retrieved February 1, 2013, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/106009/chapters/Cues,-Questions,-and-Advance-Organizers.aspx

Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instructions that works: research based instruction for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

EDU 6526: Comparing and Classifying

The instructional strategy of identifying similarities and differences is considered by many to be the “core” of all learning (Marzano, Pickering, Pollock, 2001). The identification of similarities and differences can be accomplished in many different ways but research has indicated four which are highly effective. These four methods are comparing, classifying, creating metaphors, and creating analogies (Marzano et al., 2001). For this entry, I will focus on the first two methods of comparing and classifying as I feel that both aspects are effective and common methods used in an elementary classroom setting.

Comparing is the process of identifying the similarities and differences between things or even among ideas. The key to this method is the student’s ability to identify the important characteristics. Ultimately these characteristics will be used as the basis for their comparisons. From this students will be able to classify the things or ideas by grouping the items that are alike into categories based on their characteristics. When students begin to classify objects, they must first have a firm grasp of the rules that govern class or category membership (Marzano et al., 2001). The combination of using both comparing and classifying is an effective method to engage and teach students to use their own knowledge.

A simple fourth grade lesson plan on comparing and classifying could be about animals – specifically vertebrates and invertebrates. The key comparison characteristic of the two categories is whether or not they have a backbone. Students will figure out from prior knowledge or research that vertebrates are animals with backbones and invertebrates have no backbones. From this understanding, students will then be able to classify animals from their own knowledge into categories of vertebrates and invertebrates. Furthermore, students can classify the main category into subgroups. For example vertebrates can be classified into fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. Similarly, invertebrates can be classified into mollusks, worms, arthropods, and cnidarians. This activity will require students to compare and classify through using their own prior knowledge while making even more detailed distinctions.

Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instructions that works: research based instruction for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD