Our Wednesday blog posts are a smattering of ideas from a wider variety of sources than we cover on the other days of the week. Today, the question which comes up in context after context, “Where are we going?” Whether in a series of lectures, a topical study, a course, or a game plan, the goals need to be present and clear, at least to the leader. Let’s see how Allitt explores the idea.
The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator. Performed by Patrick N. Allitt. U.S.A.: The Teaching Company, 2010. DVD. Lecture 5, "Planning the Work”
Allitt reminds the audience that the overall goal of the course needs to be kept in mind throughout. There may be various surprising interruptions, but after time most of them make sense to the teacher. The teacher moves to the goal in a steady and purposeful manner. Known objectives will generally result in a positive outcome.
Teachers report that building on what students already know, tying ideas together, and teaching a concept deeply is very important. Review, repetition, and structure help the students put information into meaningful structures.
Allitt recommends each session introducing some new issue to capture student interest. Yet in the structure, always leave some room for variation. Teachers Allitt interviews speak of how they change their methods and goals based on variables which arise in class. To accomplish this, we must have enough space for our material. Covering less material better is a good thing.
Since students find some areas of learning difficult, a good teacher needs to be ready for these troubles. A teacher normally benefits from taking courses and facing such challenges. This helps the teacher know how a student feels when material is difficult.
Course evaluation should be well planned out, including assignments due and how they will be evaluated. The teacher needs to be able to identify mastery and sort students by level of accomplishment.
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