EDU 6526: A Layered Approach to Instruction

O – Offer an organized and challenging curriculum.

O1 – Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes. Teacher candidates align instruction to the learning standards and outcomes so all students know the learning targets and their progress toward meeting them.

If a model of instruction is beneficial to the learner, facilitating that a “vast amount of content can be effectively and meaningfully understood” then an old-fashioned instructional method is beneficial in the classroom (Scheuerman, 2014). In other words, presentations and lectures may have been used in schools for a long time, yet at times receive criticism. It may be useful to consider that these methods have been used for so long because much of the time, they work (Scheuerman, 2014). In addition, if students have interest in what they are learning and practice using the information they receive, this material may also be retained in their long-term memories. Situated and distributed cognition also promote “…more powerful interpretations and understandings…” of content (Pressley & McCormick, 2007). Therefore, classroom instruction should engage learners and ensure that they have a vested interest in the material they’re being taught.

As my own teaching philosophies continue to mature, I am embracing older and newer methods of teaching. As older teaching models have presented evidence that they are effective and still being used in the classroom, it is important to appreciate advances in technology, inductive learning practices, and discovery. For example, advance organizers given prior to a lecture provide an introduction to learning that prepares the students’ thinking for a given lesson. Expository and comparative organizers help students grasp concepts and hierarchies prior to receiving presented material, further enabling them to understand and reference the information they are taught (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2015). While advance organizers and lectures are effective in providing students with content, it is also essential that the teacher allow students to have time to explore new knowledge, practice problem-solving with it, explore different outcomes, and discuss this knowledge working with other students. A layered approach to pedagogy enables many different types of learners to also explore material in ways that works for them. In addition, while one method of instruction may be backed with evidence that it is proven to be effective, it is important to realize that this individual instructional method may not work for every student.

In the past, I observed a third grade class that was introduced to rocks and minerals with an advance organizer called a KWL chart. As the teacher questioned the class about what they already knew about rocks and minerals, they discussed and documented this information (K). They also noted what they wanted to know (W), and left what they learned blank (L) for future discussion during the course of the lesson. This chart was displayed at the front of the classroom for weeks as a reference. As the students read aloud together, listened to lectures, performed labs with rocks and fossils, went outside to find rocks they were learning about, drew the rock cycle in their science journals, created jewelry with rocks, worked in groups to problem-solve the classification of some mystery rocks, and took occasional assessments to test their knowledge, they continued to document new facts that they were learning about these things on the L column of the KWL chart. I see my future classroom following a similar model of instruction and organization, discovery and problem-solving, and group collaborating, working together to fulfill many levels of my students’ education.

As teachers, we are faced with the responsibility to provide meaningful organization in the way that material is to be presented in order to activate the learner’s prior knowledge and experience while we assist learning to organize new material and integrate it with existing knowledge (Scheuerman, 2014). Traditional methods of instruction grouped with many other teaching models helps to further incorporate a learning environment that reaches many different types of learners. I embrace the lecture and presentation (of course time length is dependent on age) but also embrace many other approaches to teaching. While I absolutely do not condone older methods of instruction I also embrace many others to try to reach all of my students.

References:

Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2015). Models of teaching (9th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Pressley, M., & McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York, London: The Guilford Press.

Scheuerman, R. (2014). Session 4: Advance organizers and lesson framing. Personal Collection of (Scheuerman, R.), Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA. Podcast retrieved from https://bbweb-prod.spu.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_84477_1&content_id=_1027789_1

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