Monday, September 27, 2010

Topic: An Interesting Problem in Teaching

10-second review: If you ever wished as a teacher that you had more clearly explained the answer to a question, the authors offer some suggestions for how to guide students to the right answer.

Title: “Real-time Teaching.” D Fisher, N Frey and D Lapp. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (September 2010), 57-60.

The Problem: “Have you ever thought that you should have said something differently when your students appeared to still not understand after you responded to them? Have you wondered how you could have better explained a complex concept? Realizing that how we respond to an incorrect answer significantly influences students’ eventual understanding, teachers daily ponder the best ways to offer verbal scaffolds that support their students’ understanding. Of course, saying ‘You’re wrong’ isn’t going to result in increased learning, but simply supplying the correct answer isn’t going to do the trick either.”

Quote: “During guided instruction, the teacher poses a question for students to consider. The question should be designed to assess both student’s understanding of the topic and their ability to synthesize and evaluate information. “

The second step provides prompts to the student. For example, a teacher might prompt a student by saying, ‘Consider what you would do in this situation…..’ ”

Third step: Cues to shift attention. Cue the learner in a more direct way by guiding students’ attention to something missed or not noticed.

Finally: Direct explanations and modeling—when prompts and cues fail to resolve the error or misconception, the teacher can provide the student with a direct explanation while modeling his or her thinking.

Comment: All of these steps require thinking on one’s feet. I think the last step is the most interesting. Give the student the answer, but tell them how you arrived at it. RayS.

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