Chapter 3 Teacher Planning EDUC 2300 Introduction to Teaching • Planning is vital to teaching. • Teachers estimate they spend between 10% and 20% of their working time each week on planning activities. • Teacher planning is a major determinant of what is taught in schools. The curriculum as published is transformed and adapted in the planning process by additions, deletions, interpretations, and by teacher decisions about pace, sequence, and emphasis. • The planning process in all fields, including education, has been described and studied by many researchers and theorists. • The dominant perspective that guides most of the thinking and action on this topic has been referred to as the rational- linear-model. This perspective puts the focus on goals and objectives as the first step in a sequential process. Rational-Linear Planning Model Goals Actions Outcomes • The view that organizations and classrooms are goal driven has been challenged. • Many observers have questioned whether the rational-linear-model accurately describes planning in the real world. Nonlinear Planning Model Actions Outcomes Goals Consequences of Planning • Duchastel and Brown (1974) were interested in the effects of instructional objectives on student learning. • After much research, Duchastel and Brown concluded that learning objectives have a focusing effect on students, which leads to the recommendation that teachers make students aware of the objectives they have for the lessons. • On the other hand, the researchers caution teachers to be careful because the study also illustrated how focusing too much on objectives may limit other important student learning. • John Zahorik (1970), working about the same time as Duchastel and Brown, was interested in the effects of planning on teacher behavior, particularly planning behaviors associated with identifying objectives, diagnosing student learning, and choosing instructional strategies. • He wanted to find out if teachers who planned lessons were less sensitive to students in the classroom than teachers who did not plan. • After his study with twelve fourth grade teachers, Dr. Zahorik found significant difference between teachers who had planned and those who had not planned. • Teachers who planned were less sensitive to the student ideas and appeared to pursue their own goals regardless of what the students thought or were saying. • Conversely, teachers who had not planned displayed a higher number of verbal behaviors that encouraged and developed student ideas. • Zahorik concluded that goal-based planning may inhibit teachers from being sensitive to students as they could be. • However, elimination of planning might “also bring about completely random and unproductive learning.” • Both Duchastel and Brown and the Zahorik studies are interesting, because together they show the importance of goal- based planning; but they also warn that the type of planning can lead to unanticipated consequences that are not always desirable. • To resolve this dilemma, Zahorik recommends that teachers establish goals that focus on their own behavior. Consequences of Clear Instructional Goals and Objectives Instructional Goals and Objectives Provide focus Provide Result in Provide and means to smoothly direction for instructional assess running instructional intents to student classrooms process students learning Planning and the Beginning Teacher • Housner and Griffey (1985) were interested in comparing differences in planning and decision making of experienced and inexperienced teachers. They studied sixteen physical education teacher candidates. Eight of the teachers had more than five years of experience. The other eight were pre-service teachers training to be Physical Education teachers. • Housner and Griffey concluded: – Experience teachers planned ahead for more adaptations that might be needed in a lesson as it got underway and were more concerned than inexperienced teachers with establishing rules for activities and means for giving students feedback. – Inexperienced teachers devoted a larger percentage of their planning to verbal instruction. • The experienced teachers were more attentive to student performance, whereas inexperienced teachers attended most often to student interest and were more interested in keeping the class on task. • Unlike other acts of teaching, most teacher planning occurs in private places, such as the teacher’s home or office. • By their very nature, planning and decision making are mental, non observable activities. Planning and the Instructional Cycle • Teacher planning is a multifaceted and ongoing process that covers almost everything teachers do. • Some aspects of planning precede instruction and , in turn, precede assessment of student learning. • The whole planning process is cyclical. Planning and the Instructional Cycle Planning Assessing prior to instruction Instructing • Assessment information influences the teacher’s next set of plans, the instruction that follows, and so on. • For example, choosing content can only be done after careful analysis and inquiry into students’ prior knowledge, the teacher’s understanding of the subject matter, and the nature of the subject itself. The Time Spans of Planning • Robert Yinger (1980) conducted an interesting and important study that provides the most definitive study of one first and second-grade elementary school teacher in Michigan. • Using participant observation methods, he spent forty full days over a five-month period observing and recording the teacher’s activities • From this work, Yinger was able to identify the five time spans that characterized teacher planning: – Daily planning (Level 1) – Weekly planning (Level 2) – Unit planning (Level 3) – Term planning (Level 4) – Yearly planning (Level 5) The Specifics of Planning • Choosing Curriculum Content and Skills – The curriculum in most elementary and secondary schools is currently organized around the academic disciplines—history, biology, mathematics, and so forth—used by scholars to organize information about the social and physical world. • Consequently, an important planning task for teachers will continue to be choosing the most appropriate content from the various subject matter areas for a particular group of students. • This is no small feat, because there is already much more to teach on any topic than time allows, and new knowledge is being produced every day. • Beginning teachers are often bewildered about where content comes from and the role teachers play in selecting it. • In today’s schools, deciding what to teach is no longer done by teachers independently. Instead, what to teach decisions are influenced by many factors, some of which are described in the next figure. Learned society standards State Community curriculum values frameworks and standards What is taught in Schools Local Schoolwide curriculum curriculum frameworks agreements and guides The Role of Standards • Until the past and two decades, the terms goals and objectives were used to specify what students were to learn. However, over the past two decades, the term standards has been more commonly accepted to express important learning outcomes. • This change has been in response to the emergence of standards-based education, a response to the same set of beliefs as those that influenced the larger accountability movement, namely… – That student achievement has slipped from earlier times and that only by requiring (or encouraging) teachers to teach toward a required set of standards will the situation improve. • The achievement gap and beliefs that teacher hold low expectations for particular low-income and minority students also have encouraged standards setting in the hopes that the result will be high expectations for all students (Landsman 2004). • A standard is a statement about what students should know and be able to do. Normally they are written at a level of abstraction so they can be delineated more precisely into measurable terms. • Standards come from nay sources, but those developed by learned societies and by state departments of education have been the standards that have been most prevalent and important.
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