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Getting the Most Out of Instructional Time

Posted by k conway on December 9, 2012 at 3:50 PM

You have to admit that some teachers follow the same routine virtually every class period, as they review homework, introduce a new concept, use the new skill in an activity, and, if there is time, have independent practice. Studies reveal that effective teachers exercise varying techniques and strategies to ensure maximum learning time. The practices suggested below support the effective teacher's overall emphasis on instruction. Additionally, they provide the framework for maximizing not only instructional time, but also students' time on task. Effective teachers do the following:

Follow a consistent schedule and maintain the procedures and routines established at the beginning of the year (Berendt & Koski, 1999; Brophy & Good, 1986).

Handle administrative tasks quickly and efficiently (Zahorik et al., 2003).

Prepare materials in advance (Bain & Jacobs, 1990; Walls, Nardi, von Minden, & Hoffman, 2002).

Make clear and smooth transitions (Brophy & Good, 1986; Wang et al., 1993b; Zahorik et al., 2003).

Maintain momentum within and across lessons (Brophy & Good, 1986; Cotton, 2000).

Limit disruptions and interruptions through appropriate behavioral management techniques (Cotton, 2000; Education USA Special Report, n.d.; Wang et al., 1993b).

Research also indicates that instructional planning for effective teaching includes the following elements:

Identifying clear lesson and learning objectives while carefully linking activities to them, which is essential for effectiveness (Cotton, 2000; Wang et al., 1993b; Wharton-McDonald et al., 1998).

Creating quality assignments, which is positively associated with quality instruction and quality student work (Clare, 2000).

Planning lessons that have clear goals, are logically structured, and progress through the content step-by-step (Rosenshine, 1986; Zahorik et al., 2003).

Planning the instructional strategies to be deployed in the classroom and the timing of these strategies (Cotton, 2000; Johnson, 1997).

Using advance organizers, graphic organizers, and outlines to plan for effective instructional delivery (Marzano, Norford, Paynter, Pickering, & Gaddy, 2001; Wang et al., 1993b).

Considering student attention spans and learning styles when designing lessons (Bain & Jacobs, 1990).

Systematically developing objectives, questions, and activities that reflect higher-level and lower-level cognitive skills as appropriate for the content and the students (Brophy & Good, 1986; Porter & Brophy, 1988).

Categories: Planning for Instruction

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