Monday, June 04, 2007

EDCI 602: Blog on Learning Goals & Instructional Decisions in Lesson Planning

When preparing lessons, my primary goal is always to get students excited about what I will be teaching. I realize that this is an obvious goal that should be adhered to by every teacher, but when I am really preparing my best lessons I like to think I am paying closer attention to that aspect than the majority of my peers in this profession. I suppose this ultimate goal is based on my (arrogant?) belief that if I can get a student excited about the topic at hand, I can teach him anything.

The more specific goals - i.e. the lesson's objectives - tend to be very specific at the beginning of the year when we are hitting on basic skills that will be necessary to facilitate learning for the rest of the year. As that school year progresses my objectives become increasingly vague ("The student will read and discuss major literary elements of Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants") because I think the best learning occurs during classroom discussions. I, admittedly and regrettably, did not have enough of those this past year. It is my hope that the history classes I teach next year will become essentially discussion course for all involved, myself included.

I would like to think that nearly all of my higher-level instruction is at least somewhat inductive in that I ask the students to figure things out for themselves. This always happens when we read a piece of literature in class. I first ask for immediate reactions, then I ask students to describe the basic plot for me. After that, I open the floor to an interpretative discussion. While I may nudge this discussion when I deem it necessary, the majority of thoughts are the students' own. I feel that when students are discovering things for themselves is when they are learning the most, which is why I always emphasize to my students the importance of questioning everything they come across in life; in short, they should take nothing for granted, even what comes out of my mouth.


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