Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Getting Beyond the Lecture

Research suggests that the “I talk – You listen” instructional format is not effective, but it remains extremely popular.  Admittedly, there’s no better way to control the content.  We can say what we need to say without interruption. But from the student’s perspective, it’s the perfect format for disengagement and it is often hard to stay interested and attentive.
Teachers in the primary grades do a lot of lecturing too, sprinkled with a few questions that require one-word response.  But the times, they are a-changin’.  Teachers are continually looking for new tools for their instructional toolboxes.  Cooperative learning, literature circles, jigsaws, think-pair-share are all examples of ways to students to become engaged with the content.  Message boards, online forums, and other social networking media provide a place for teachers to share what works for them.
In a structured online professional development community, educators can read the latest research, try out a new idea or two, and report back to their professional colleagues.  Teachers learn to actively reflect upon their own pedagogy, something that most teachers have little time for.  Within this sort of collaborative culture, where a shared culture, shared students, and a shared mission are all factors, we can come much closer to offer support to a teacher who says, “I’ve got this kid who….” 
Take a look at how an online PLC can support the development of engaging, creative instructional strategies that address the unique learning needs of all students in inclusive environments.

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