Royan, Jorge. "19th century classroom, Auckland," 2006; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Reading the Room and Knowing Your Content: Instruction Planning Considerations

There are three key factors teachers should consider when they plan instruction: student ability, standards, and methodology. Each one of these key factors interlinks and, through attention to detail, the students will benefit more than just intellectually. In a broad sense, these factors build off of each other. Through scholarly reading, teachers can better understand the significance of these three factors as means of planning productive and effective instruction.

First, teachers must be aware of their students’ abilities. One aspect of ‘ability’ is knowing the students’ ability to comprehend and interact with the content. Sometimes, this may require an individualized education program (IEP) and other students may have physical needs and disabilities, or students may already know the content and not feel motivated to participate (Powell, 2011). In knowing each student’s ability, the teacher and student need a personal relationship, the teachers must remain aware of their resources, and their classroom must be a safe and encouraging environment. Each student will have unique learning preferences, personal life issues, previous content knowledge, and other reasons that alter their ability to engage. Tomlinson and McTighe specifically addressed that knowing their needs and abilities, then addressing them accordingly was vital to academic growth (2006). Therefore, it is vital a teacher analyzes the needs of each class collectively before moving on to the next key factor, standards.Standards, the second key factor, matter in instructional planning because they are the foundation of each lesson and what administrations, politicians, and parents expect their children to know and do. Moreover, standards are the content and tasks each teacher should hope the student takes away and can perform from each lesson (Estes, Mintz, & Gunter, 2011). They are guides, building blocks that can show both a teacher and a students’ ability to learn and grow. Though a teacher should not consider how well a lesson plan will make them look, they should be striving for effectiveness and diversity. Most importantly, when teachers know their students’ abilities, every teacher can set objectives that are realistic, review and grow the children’s’ knowledge base, and encourage them to engage in the content.

Standards, the second key factor, matter in instructional planning because they are the foundation of each lesson and what administrations, politicians, and parents expect their children to know and do. Moreover, standards are the content and tasks each teacher should hope the student takes away and can perform from each lesson (Estes, Mintz, & Gunter, 2011). They are guides, building blocks that can show both a teacher and a students’ ability to learn and grow. Though a teacher should not consider how well a lesson plan will make them look, they should be striving for effectiveness and diversity. Most importantly, when teachers know their students’ abilities, every teacher can set objectives that are realistic, review and grow the children’s’ knowledge base, and encourage them to engage in the content.

Through knowing students’ abilities, what standards must be met, and responding accordingly, the teacher can choose the correct methodology. The approach is key but with this awareness a teacher can select the correct model for their lesson. A perfect example of this third and final key factor a teacher should consider is the Direct Instruction (DI) model. Teachers can tend to a variety of learning style preferences and in doing so teachers address three of the four elements of an effective classroom (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006). DI addresses students, environment, and the instruction (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006). Theories abound that argue the importance of choosing the right model to meet student needs, each pointing to the effectiveness of the DI model. For example, the social learning theory calls for observance first, then recall and replication, and lastly demonstration of the task or knowledge (Estes, Mintz, & Gunter, 2011).In conclusion, though there are many factors and aspects of each factor for a teacher to consider when they plan instruction, some factors are more vital to the success of a lesson and, ultimately, the students. In my opinion, the three key factors are student ability, standards, and methodology. An awareness of each student’s ability must be taken into account beyond their mental abilities. An analysis of standards after uncovering the class’ knowledge base will allow the teacher to decisively select which standards need emphasis. Lastly, teachers must choose the right instructional method to execute those standards while working within each student’s abilities while being aware of just how far each student can and should be pushed to succeed at the best of their ability.

In conclusion, though there are many factors and aspects of each factor for a teacher to consider when they plan instruction, some factors are more vital to the success of a lesson and, ultimately, the students. In my opinion, the three key factors are student ability, standards, and methodology. An awareness of each student’s ability must be taken into account beyond their mental abilities. An analysis of standards after uncovering the class’ knowledge base will allow the teacher to decisively select which standards need emphasis. Lastly, teachers must choose the right instructional method to execute those standards while working within each student’s abilities while being aware of just how far each student can and should be pushed to succeed at the best of their ability.

References

Estes, T. H., Mintz, S. L., & Gunter, M. A. (2011). Instruction: A models approach (6th Ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Tomlinson, C. A., & McTighe, J. (2006). Integrating differentiated instruction & understanding by design: Connecting content and kids. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Powell, S. D. (2011). Your introduction to education: Explorations in teaching. Boston: Pearson.

Feature Image

Royan, Jorge. “19th century classroom, Auckland,” 2006; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Leave a Reply