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  • Powerful Instructional

    Practices

    A Resource for Teachers and

    Administrators

    September 2011

  • Powerful Instructional

    Practices

    A Resource for Teachers and

    Administrators

    September 2011

  • Powerful instructional practices: a resource for teachers and administrators

    [electronic resource]

    Includes bibliographical references.

    ISBN: 978-1-926841-97-7

    371.3 – dc23 1. Teaching – Saskatchewan. 2. Instructional systems – Saskatchewan. 3. School management and organization - Saskatchewan.

    I. Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Ministry of Education. II. Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit.

  • Table of Contents Overview Powerful Instructional Practices v Moving from Tacit to Explicit vi Attending to Context through Equitable Instruction vii Five Lenses on Instructional Practice viii A Conceptualization of Pedagogical Decisions or Moves ix

    Section I: Inquiry Inquiry: A Philosophical Stance Information for Teachers 1 Information for Administrators 8

    Section II: Knowledge Acquisition Questioning Information for Teachers 11 Information for Administrators 19 Advance Organizers Information for Teachers 21 Information for Administrators 26 Note-Making Information for Teachers 28 Information for Administrators 34 Concept Attainment Information for Teachers 36 Information for Administrators 43 Activating Prior Knowledge Information for Teachers 45 Information for Administrators 50

    Section III: Cognitive Processes Synectics Information for Teachers 52 Information for Administrators 58 Graphic Organizers Information for Teachers 60 Information for Administrators 65 Manipulatives in Mathematics Information for Teachers 67 Information for Administrators 72

  • Mnemonic Devices Information for Teachers 74 Information for Administrators 80 Concept Formation Information for Teachers 82 Information for Administrators 87 Complex Organizers: Concept Mapping and Mind Mapping Information for Teachers 89 Information for Administrators 95

    Section IV: Metacognitive Processes Metacognition Information for Teachers 98 Information for Administrators 103

    Section V: The Self-System (Dispositions) Efficacy Information for Teachers 106 Information for Administrators 112 Cooperative Learning Information for Teachers 114 Information for Administrators 119 Structured Academic Controversy Information for Teachers 121 Information for Administrators 126

    Reference List 128

  • v

    Overview

    Powerful Instructional Practices Instructional Approaches: A Framework for Professional Practice (1991) outlines four foundations of effective instruction that still resonate today: effective instruction can be defined and described, teaching is an art as well as a science, teachers are instructional decision makers, and students should be viewed as autonomous learners.

    While the 1991 document indicates that much research regarding instructional strategies had been and was being conducted, significantly more research of this type has been undertaken, especially in the areas of cognitive psychology, learning theory, teaching strategies, and multicultural education.

    Given the expanding research base in teaching and learning, it is appropriate that educators reflect on their use of instructional strategies within their teaching practice. Current research organizes instructional practice by the types of thinking it supports. In a complete cycle of instruction, student thinking should involve knowledge acquisition, engagement of cognitive processes, engagement of metacognitive processes, and attention to one’s disposition when learning. Research-proven practices that support each of these types of thinking are presented in the following chart:

    The instructional cycle should engage all four of the types of thinking represented below. Students may be engaged in more than one type of thinking at a time as teachers use instructional practices in sequence or in tandem. Inquiry overarches all practices.

    Knowledge Acquisition Cognitive Processes Metacognitive Processes

    The Self-System (Dispositions)

    Questioning Designing and using effective questions to

    deepen understanding

    Synectics Making the strange

    familiar and the familiar strange

    Planning for Learning

    Analyzing the task and clarifying the learning

    goals

    Monitoring Thinking and Learning Choosing and

    monitoring thinking strategies while learning

    Reflecting on Thinking and

    Learning Reflecting on thought

    processes and how one best learns

    Efficacy Increasing students’

    perceptions of self-efficacy

    Advance Organizers Creating organizational

    frameworks for new learning

    Graphic Representation

    (Venn diagrams, etc.) Supporting student

    thinking using graphic representation

    Cooperative Learning Working together in small groups to solve a problem

    or to complete a task

    Note-Making Teaching students skills of

    effective note-making

    Manipulatives in Mathematics

    Mediating students’ thinking as they learn

    abstract concepts

    Structured Academic Controversy

    Developing students’ dialectical thinking

    Concept Attainment Supporting students as

    they construct conceptual knowledge

    Mnemonic Devices Using systematic

    procedures for enhancing memory

    Activating Prior Knowledge

    Building upon what students already know

    Concept Formation Collecting, examining, and organizing data to

    form concepts

    Complex Organizers Concept mapping and

    mind mapping

  • Overview: Sixteen Powerful Instructional Practices Teacher and Administrator Resource

    vi

    For teachers, this document provides a definition and explanation of each practice, what context might best support each practice, examples of the practice in action, planning and reflection questions, and indicators of effective implementation. For administrators, the basic information that is provided for teachers has been repeated. Also, guidance for coaching is provided to enable administrators to better support their teachers as they work to incorporate these practices into their instructional repertoire. The reference list offers professional resources that are valuable for further study of instructional practices. These resources may be available from school/school division libraries or from Stewart Resources Centre (www.stf.sk.ca, or phone 1-800-667-7762 or 306-374-1122). A series of videos has been produced to accompany this resource. This series entitled Powerful Instructional Practices is available on Recommended Online Video Education Resources (ROVER) at http://rover.edonline.sk.ca/index.htm. ROVER offers video programs that have been purchased by the Ministry of Education for use in Prek-12 schools in Saskatchewan.

    Moving from Tacit to Explicit

    Think of something that you can do automatically without thinking. In the space below, write a description of that process for someone who has never done what you can do. How difficult was it to write out the entire process? What did this reveal to you? All of us have a portion of our practice that contains tacit knowledge (i.e., effective things we do that have workings we are unable to explain because they are second nature to us). Many of us entered the teaching profession for this reason. Bennett & Rolheiser (2001) argue that teachers must have a working knowledge of instructional strategies and be able to apply them in an informed manner to meet the needs of their students. Teachers are to be informed practitioners who have the ability to explain why the instructional strategy they are using is the best one for a particular purpose, at that moment, and in that specific context.

    http://www.stf.sk.ca/� http://rover.edonline.sk.ca/index.htm�

  • Overview: Sixteen Powerful Instructional Practices Teacher and Administrator Resource

    vii

    Attending to Context through Equitable Instruction A teacher is preparing to teach a unit on justice and fairness in English Language Arts B10. Traditionally, the teacher chose selections that portrayed the horror and injustice of war to the class. This year, the teacher has a student in class who witnessed and fled the genocide in Rwanda. Why might the teacher be thinking that the traditional way of teaching this unit is now inappropriate? The predominant modes of instruction in a classroom are reading, note-making, and writing. Which students might be advantaged in this setting? Which students might be disadvantaged? Western scientific knowledge has traditionally been presented as factual, and we assume that this is the way things are. Some cultures and faiths accept scientific knowledge on different criteria. Facts for some cultures and faiths come from other sources we might tend to discount. In what ways can we honour various ways of knowing? The instructional strategies that teachers choos