Way points Vol3 #4


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Way points Vol3 #4

  1. 1.   Volume 1, Issue #4Lesson Presentation TechniquesCOMO Tom Venezio, DVC-EDIn this issue of WAYPOINTS, I’d like to discuss classroom lesson presentationtechniques that have become the “tried and true” delivery methods in quality classroomsacross the country. There is no one definitive list,but many authors have written extensively on thetopic. Among the most notable was Madeline Hunter1 . Hunter developed the ITIP Model (InstructionalTheory into Practice.) We’ll visit several of herstrategies in this issue. Another notable piece ofresearch, Characteristics of Extraordinary Teachers,Differences that Make a Difference, was published bythe International Center for Leadership in Educationwith the research conducted by Drs. Dottie & CusterQuick.2 This is a great, easy to understand work thatcan really help guide our work. The Characteristicsof Extraordinary Teachers helped inform this issuebut will be a larger focal point in an upcoming issue of WAYPOINTS. With this as abackdrop, let’s explore some of the critical elements. 1 – Introduction – First and foremost, we need to introduce our lesson in a thoughtful, engaging manner. When we start our class, have we “set the stage” by getting everyone’s attention and explaining to the students what we plan to teach? Have we activated their prior knowledge of the topic by asking what they know about the topic and having a brief discussion? Hunter refers to this as the Anticipatory Set. We’re helping our students to create an image in their minds about the subject and what will be covered in the class. We know concretely, that this makes a difference in understanding and retention! Moreover, this discussion                                                                                                                 This link provides a brief overview of what is often referred to as the Hunter Model.1  http://www.hope.edu/academic/education/wessman/2block/unit4/hunter2.htm.2 This is a link to an excerpt from a resource published by the International Center for Leadership inEducation. There are additional samples of the Characteristics of Extraordinary Teachers available byconducting a simple web search. See e.g.,http://www.leadered.com/pdf/Extraordinary%20Teachers%20Order%20Form.pdf. 1    
  2. 2.   helps you get to know and build rapport with your students. A recent article3 on teaching techniques in American Law Schools quotes Professor Louis Schmier: “The more I know about my students, the more I know about myself, the more wisely I will teach.” 2- Class Interaction/Motivation Strategies – Students must be engaged to understand and retain the information. Most of us probably remember sitting in a classroom, looking out the window, daydreaming and thinking about all of the other places we would rather have been. Clearly, we were NOT engaged. So, what are you doing to engage your students? Are you asking thought-provoking questions throughout the lesson? Are you allowing all students the opportunity to respond to your questions? Do you provide very brief opportunities for students to interact with each other? For instance, “During this brief break, please discuss what you know about personal flotation devices with the person sitting next to you.” Use a mix of questions, some open to anyone to answer and others directed to specific individuals. Questions directed to specific individuals help to define your expectation that all students should be paying attention at all times. 3- Non-verbal Communications Our students often express and communicate what their thinking through non-verbal cues. Our last issue of WAYPOINTS did a great job of addressing this issue. Check it out for a more in-depth discussion. 4- Selected Appropriate and Effective Presentation Methods – When you present your lesson, are you well prepared and organized? You can’t dash into the room at the last minute, toss your materials down and jump into what looks like a haphazard lesson. Moreover, as discussed in the first issue of WAYPOINTS, you need to arrive early to ensure that the AV equipment works. When you are organized and present content in a logical, sequential manner, students can easily follow along. Also, if you appear to be excited about the content, the students sense your enthusiasm and tend to more engaged! 5- Monitor and Adjust – Have you ever taught a lesson, thought it went really well and then asked the students questions about the material only to find that they really “didn’t get it?” Disheartening, isn’t it? I recently had the opportunity to use an electronic student response system. 4 Students are given “clickers” that allow them to electronically respond to questions. As an instructor, you can bring up a graph of the student responses (anonymously) after each question. It’s humbling to realize that not every student understood the topic. The good news                                                                                                                3  See http://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1489&context=sulr&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dinstructional%2520techniques%2520in%2520law%2520school%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D10%26ved%3D0CGYQFjAJ%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fdigitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1489%2526context%253Dsulr%26ei%3DoSlcUZqbLbLJ4AP33YHYDA%26usg%3DAFQjCNGSoHQ4l9gDWJlp_n3AoymiCtUynQ#search=%22instructional%20techniques%20law%20school%22.4  This article provides brief overview of the use of student response systems, often called “clickers”.http://karenmahon.com/2012/04/05/top-12-best-practices-for-clickers-in-the-classroom/ 2    
  3. 3.   with this system is that you can immediately re-teach any content that was confusing. Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford systems like this. So what can you do? Simply, be sure that you ask focused and specific5 questions throughout the lesson. Do your best to monitor student understanding through good questions. Provide ample “wait” time for students to respond and be sure to attempt to call on all students in the class. When you find a topic that needs clarification, address it immediately. Some teachers will say that we don’t have time to cover that. Remember, our job is not solely to cover information; it is to help our students uncover and discover new information. 6- Retention Techniques – The challenge for us as instructors is to not only teach students new information, but to also help them retain the information over time. So, what can you do? Everything from providing specific handouts that reinforce content, demonstrations that help clarify and reinforce content to using simple mnemonics like, “red right returning” to help students retain the content. We need to consciously focus on effective retention techniques. 7- Presentation Software & Technology – PowerPoint or other presentation software have become pretty commonplace in our classes, but the key is to use it effectively. If you prepare any of your own slides, are they consistent with accepted good practice. One “rule of thumb” suggests that there should be no more that seven lines of information with seven words per line. That leaves the text large enough to be easily read. In addition, be sure that you are comfortable with the technology and can use it without fumbling and having it become a distraction. Practice, practice, practice! Finally, the information on the slide should just highlight the information that you are presenting. Be sure not to just stand in front of the class and read the slide. Students can read faster than you can speak and you lose synchronization and ultimately their attention. Your expertise becomes evident when you explain the content and just use the slide to provide visual cues. Please reread the WAYPOINTS issue on PowerPoint for more tips. 8- Summary/Review – Just as we started the lesson by providing an introduction to “wind things up” we need to take the time at the end of the lesson to “wind things down”. This is the time to clarify any lingering questions, briefly summarize the lesson, and “set the stage” for the next class. A logical conclusion is critical to an effective lesson and helps the student in retaining the content. 9- Speech Mechanics – It’s always difficult to critique ourselves, but did you ever record your presentation either with an audio or video recording? These recordings can often help us be our own best critic. Can you be easily heard in the back of the room? Is your speech clear and easy to understand? Do you have any distracting habits such as “uh”, “uhm”?                                                                                                                5 Avoid questions such as “do you understand?” 3    
  4. 4.   10- Professionalism – Our physical presentation sets a tone for the class and also reflects on our professionalism. When we wear the uniform, do we wear it properly and proudly? Is it time to replace a well-worn shirt? Is it time to shine our shoes? Your bearing and presence plays a critical role as the class begins!These ten points are critically important to the presentation of an effective lesson. Each,individually, is fairly simple. Putting it all together takes time and a commitment tocontinuous improvement. Let’s commit to being the best instructors that we possibly canbe! 4