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Inside Teaching : June 2010
Inside Teaching | June 2010 TEACHING TIPS 26 Finally, your assessment tasks must assess only the learning intention or intentions. Your aim, as Robert Marzano explains in What Works in Schools: Translating research into action, is to close the gap between the intended curriculum, the implemented curriculum and the attained curriculum -- the intended curriculum being the curriculum as it's designed and specified in documents, the implemented curriculum being what is actually delivered or taught by the teacher and the attained curriculum being what is actually learned by students. 3 Classroom management As James Stronge, Pamela Tucker and Jennifer Hindman explain in Handbook for Qualities of Effective Teachers, 'In some ways, classroom management is like salt in a recipe; when it is present it is not noticed, but when it is missing, diners will ask for it.' In your first years of teaching, classroom management is often the hardest skill to develop. You need to have clearly communicated, measurable rules for learning. Students need to have access to a visual display of these rules at all times. In a primary classroom they might be on the wall, while for secondary students you might have a copy inside their subject book or folder. Ideally, these rules would have been negotiated democratically with the students and expressed in desired behaviours, rather than being determined autocratically. Reinforcing the desirable behaviour of students is far more constructive than focusing on the students who are misbehaving. Wherever possible, when reprimanding students, avoid doing so in front of other students by, for example, choosing a time to discuss behaviour, one on one. Rather than telling the students what they are doing wrong, pose a question, such as, 'Why do you think l need to talk to you?' This encourages the students to reflect on their own behaviour and it may give you an insight into what issues they may be facing at the time. They may, for example, be misbehaving because they are unclear about the learning task you've set. 4 It's all in the questioning Effective questioning is vital for effective learning. Questioning is undoubtedly a skill that you develop by practising, but there are a few general strategies to remember: • avoid asking a string of questions simultaneously • make your questions clear, not ambiguous • in a class discussion, ask a variety of students; avoid targeting the same students every time or asking only students you think will give the best responses • avoid asking predictable questions, of the same type and order • use a combination of quiz- style, factual questions and more open-ended questions that allow students to think more deeply • allow adequate wait time for students to respond -- try counting to 10 before you talk again or you rephrase the question • when presenting students with a body of knowledge, always give them the questions you intend to ask before they read or view the information to allow them to cue in effectively to the learning you are focussing on. Researchers Steve Dinham, Paul Ayres and Wayne Sawyer, in their investigation of the successful teaching methodologies used by teachers of the New South Wales Higher School Certificate, found that effective teachers use a blend of closed questions and open questions -- using different forms of questioning depending on the stage of the lesson and whether the situation involved the whole-class, small groups or individual learning activities. As Dinham puts it, 'Teachers tended to use closed questions when talking to the whole group and at the beginning and end of lessons to link, revise and test understanding. This also occurred at certain break points in lessons when students were moving from one activity to the next.' 5 Effective feedback I always find it interesting when you ask a group of people to remember a time at school