Effective Instruction by Morrison, Ross, & Kemp,
you ever wondered about your first day in the classroom? Consider for a
moment, how you might characterize your class of 20, 25, or maybe 30 students
on that first day. Maybe you will have a class of jokesters like you or
your friends during your senior year of high school. Or, you might have
a group of the studious type similar to the valedictorian in your third
period history class. Or more challengingly, you might have a group of unmotivated,
sleepy, bored with school, could care less class of 25 students who decided
to take your course because they heard you never give homework. The characteristics
of your students will determine what and how you teach. You will need to
analyze your learners at least at the start of the year so that you can
plan your instruction. Failing to understand your students can have serious
implications for their successful completion of the instruction.
I can recall one real disaster in high school where the instructor failed to analyze the students. In my first year Latin class, we only completed about two thirds of the book. The teacher, however, explained that we would finish the first year text at the start of Latin II. During the summer, the teacher made a decision not to return to the classroom. The school agreed to hire an exchange teacher from Great Britain. Our new teacher had taught in a private, all-boys school. He had the same expectations for us that we would diligently do many hours of Latin homework each evening and arrive in class fully prepared to discuss the day's translation.
Our new teacher failed to do a learner analysis. He assumed we had completed the text from Latin I, that we remembered all that we learned in Latin I, and that we were ready to start on page 1 of the Latin II text. And, he assumed that we were highly motivated to learn Latin. It only took a few days for him to realize that we had forgotten most of what we had learned in the previous year, and that we were not well prepared to start the translations in the second year's textbook. These realizations, however, seemed to have little bearing on his teaching strategy or plans!
In this lesson, we will consider the learner and how this knowledge of our learners will impact the design of our instruction.
the first reading, we will consider the various characteristics of learners.
As you read this section, think of characteristics that would influence
student performance and your plans for a course. Consider the following
questions as you read this section.
||Select a course that you might teach. List at least five types of information you would want to know about your students. Post your results on the discussion board for this week. Then, review other postings and consider what else you might add.
You can find our answer posted here.
you ever been in a classroom that was, well, not really designed for good
instruction? Maybe it was a third grade classroom that had windows on one
side of the room. In the afternoon when the teacher wanted to show a film
or videotape, the light or glare from the sunlight made it impossible to
see the image. Or, it might have been a classroom on the first floor of
a two-story building and the stomping feet in the second floor music room
made it impossible to concentrate on your math. Worse, the window in your
classroom might have faced the playground or overlooked a busy intersection
that provided interesting distractions.
When designing your instruction, you need to consider the environment. Is it conducive to learning, do I have access to the equipment needed, and are the students available for the time I need? In this next reading, our focus is on how to analyze the environment to determine how to best design the instruction.
As you read, keep the following questions in mind.
||For this exercise, you will do a contextual exercise of an instructional environment where you might either make a presentation or teach. Analyze the orienting and the instructional contexts of the environment. Post your analysis in the discussion board for this exercise.
Next, select two other analyses and review them. Then post a way to either capitalize or work around a factor identified by another student. Include their analysis along with your response.
You can find our analysis posted here.
||This week you should conduct a learner analysis and contextual analysis. There are two types of information to include. First, what information do you need to know about your learners? Second, what knowledge, skills, or attitudes do they need to posses prior to taking this unit of instruction? Similarly, for a contextual analysis you will need to state your needs for the environment and then anticipate any potential problems.|
|Summary||As a teacher you will probably only need to conduct an audience analysis one time since your learners will not change each day. You will use this information about the learners to determine the best strategies to use with your learners. You might need to make variations between your first period and 5th period classes if the two classes have major differences. You may need to do a contextual analysis for each of your lesson plans, or when you attempt a new style or need equipment. For example, if you have been teaching by lecture all semester, then decide to use small group discussions, can you arrange the room to facilitate these discussions? Similarly, you might need special equipment for a demonstration or class projects that must be ordered well in advance. Learner and contextual analyses are two often neglected steps in the design process. Having the proper information on your audience and facilities can help you design a more effective lesson.|