Welcome to Best Teaching Practices – Elementary, the fourth course in the Instruction series.
This course combines several elements of effective teaching and learning in a series of best practices that beginning teachers should work to master as quickly as possible. Lesson topics include setting objectives and providing feedback, nonlinguistic representations, note taking, comparing and classifying, metaphors and analogies, and summarizing.
Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback: Research indicates that when teachers set objectives for a lesson it helps students focus their work and improves their understanding. Providing a rubric for feedback and delivering it in a timely manner enhances student learning. This lesson looks at how educators can improve student learning and achievement by setting specific objectives and providing effective feedback for student work.
Nonlinguistic Representations: This lesson looks at two ways the brain stores information: linguistic (verbal) and nonlinguistic (non-verbal). It discusses the enhanced value of using nonlinguistic activities to improve student learning and achievement. The lesson provides instructions on how to improve student learning through the use of graphic organizers, physical models, generating mental pictures, drawing pictograms, and kinesthetic activities.
Comparing and Classifying: When strategies are used in the classroom to help students organize information, it forces them to think in patterns. Brain research reveals that the human brain retains information by classifying it in a structured fashion. Comparing and classifying are two processes which students benefit from in their learning. A good lesson design is required to implement the instructional strategies of comparing and classifying in the classroom. You will learn to model the strategy, use guiding questions, give examples, and incorporate graphic organizers. After being given the opportunity of guided practice, students can then be provided with independent practice.
Metaphors and Analogies: Creating metaphors is the process of identifying a general or basic pattern in a specific topic and then finding another topic that appears to be quite different but that has the same general pattern. Creating analogies is the process of identifying relationships between pairs of concepts or, in other words, identifying relationships between relationships. Teaching students these two processes has been shown to impact student achievement in significant ways.
Note Taking: Note taking promotes greater comprehension. It requires students to analyze a subject to expose essential information and then put it into their own words. The research results for note taking as a strategy reveal that verbatim note taking is perhaps the least effective way to take notes.
Summarizing: To effectively summarize information, students must be able to delete some information, substitute some information, keep some information, analyze the information at a fairly deep level, and be aware of the basic structure of the information. In this lesson, three different strategies for summarizing are presented including rule-based (including writing a précis), use of summary frames, and reciprocal teaching.
This course requires 20 hours of study time to complete all assignments and the reflection questions as directed. There are five written assignments including the reflection questions at the end of the course.