Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why the Change?

The fourth key element in The Learning Network’s original Teaching-Learning Cycle was labeled “Teaching.” This was confusing to me and to the pre-service educators that I coach. Based on their experiences on the other side of the desk, they tend to simplify teaching to what happens in front of a classroom full of learners; this is certainly an element of teaching but not the entirety of the craft.

In order to be explicit about what teaching entails I modified the diagram. I changed “Teaching” to “Instruction,” but I continue to use the initial description: “Amount of support needed for new learning to occur.” Sometimes that means a demonstration, and other times it means an activity that allows learners to engage independently in a worthwhile learning task. Sometimes instructions falls somewhere in between.

Instructional decisions depend on the plans the teacher develops as a result of his or her evaluation of assessment data. That was the reason behind the change – to enable pre-service educators to recognize the role of each element in teaching and not just associate teaching with instruction. And so far the change seems to be working.

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