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.

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.