Over the course of this quarter, I have learned that effective teachers use content area knowledge, learning standards, appropriate pedagogy, and resources to design and deliver curricula and instruction to impact student learning. This course has deepened my knowledge about coherent instruction in the area of Lesson and Unit Structure. I have learned that lessons or units are most effective when they have clearly defined structure around which activities are organized and the progression of activities is even, with reasonable time allocations. I am excited to implement my learning into a classroom setting.
Content area knowledge is essential for teachers in order to promote and inspire learning in students. According to the handbook, competence is the mastery in the ability to plan and deliver instruction, use technology to support learning for all students, and address the diverse needs of all students and their communities. Content area knowledge does not only refer to academic subjects, it also refers to the lesson quality based on the delivery of a lesson, including technology into lessons and activities, catering to the needs of each individual student, and incorporating and respecting all cultures in the lessons, especially ones in the local community. Content area knowledge connects and personalizes instruction for students. It also creates enduring knowledge, engagement in the subject matter, and inspiration to learn more.
Effective teachers use learning standards as a guide for their lessons. It is essential that instruction is aligned to the learning standards while also making students needs the most important priority. Learning standards should be used as a guide for instruction just like learning targets guide student learning. When students are aware of the learning targets it will make them aware of what they need to learn, will give them purpose during their learning activities, and will provide them with feedback on whether or not they are achieving that learning target. This will help guide teaching to align with standards while also giving purpose for student learning and useable information for them.
Incorporating appropriate pedagogy into every lesson will cater the learning needs of each student while also creating space for students to experience different forms of learning. Different pedagogical approaches will also maintain engagement and curiosity in learning. Appropriate pedagogical approaches are essential in the classroom because some strategies are more fitting for certain student cultures, backgrounds, upbringings, and experiences. Lastly, appropriate pedagogy will create a safe classroom environment where students feel comfortable and free to express their feelings and beliefs.
Finally, lessons and units are most effective when activities are organized and the progression of activities is even, with reasonable time allocations. Progression is very important in student learning. When lesson and units build on each other, the beginning should introduce broad, simple concepts and then slowly move toward more complex, detailed information. Along with progression, appropriate time allocations should be paired with specific information and concepts. Time allocations may vary depending on a concept’s depth of detail and how familiar students are with the concept being presented. Much of the time allocation will depend on the group of students and a teacher’s knowledge about her students and their learning strengths and weaknesses. Student learning is enhanced when progression and time allocations are present in lessons and units.