Posts Tagged ‘teaching style’

EDCI 506 Curriculum and Instruction Week #13

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Curriculum and Instruction

What do students learn in schools?

Students learn many things at school including the many different core subjects as well as imperative skills like communication, social, and problem solving.  I am an advocate for the core curriculum subject-centered approach, which involves students studying “subject matter in an integrated fashion” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 437).  That means that students connect what they are learning in one core subject area to other core subject areas.  The basic core subjects being taught are mathematics, science, history, and English; however, today many other subjects/classes are being offered such as technology because of the demand for knowledge in that specific area.  Students also learn a great deal of social skills while attending school, which is why I am a promoter for public school, compared to home school.  Students engage in a significant amount of social learning on an everyday basis in the school setting, which leads to them replicating those behaviors and learning from them.  Such behaviors can include trying something new on the playground, or mimicking what another student does in order to be successful in the classroom.  Overall, there is a lot of learning that goes on in a school, mainly learning in relation to core academics and social skills.


How do teachers plan and deliver instruction?

The manner in how a teacher plans and delivers instruction varies depending on the teacher’s specific teaching style.  Dewey would say that the best way to plan and deliver instruction would be to know your students well enough so that you can have appropriate lessons accordingly; these lessons would always “balance subject matter with student interests and needs” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 439).  Others, however, would claim that the best way to plan and deliver instruction is to simply not plan any lessons ahead of time and to let the students direct their own instruction.  People who are advocates of this type of planning and delivering of lessons may have beliefs rooted in Montessori schools, where children have control over their own education (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  Personally, I believe in a structured teaching style that still does balance students’ interests and needs, an idea similar to Dewey, but one that may be a bit more structured.  The main reason why I like structure is because I like to feel prepared and one of the main ways for me to feel prepared is to have structure and in many cases routine.

What are some models of direct instruction?

To describe direct instruction, the textbook says it best.  It “emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments and clearly defined and prescribed teaching tasks” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 452).  There are many models of direct instruction, but the one that I believe to be most common involves scripted lessons.  Scripted lessons are where the teacher is essentially reading a script from a pre-prepared lesson (not made by themselves), and they are to respond to students’ responses in a very systematic manner (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  Proponents of scripted lessons say that it is a way to heavily scaffold students and is an extremely explicit form of instruction, while critics say that it is hurting students’ comprehension abilities (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  Other forms of direct instruction involve working in very small groups, sometimes even one-on-one, and breaking down the lesson into small units that are put into some sort of sequential order.


How do teachers help students learn thinking and problem solving skills?

Teachers help students learn to think and develop problem-solving skills in many ways.  One way in which those skills can be acquired in through cooperative learning; a technique that involves students working together in small groups to solve problems or to work on a common goal (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  These types of activities help students get engaged in the lessons, which ultimately promote their thinking abilities and their abilities to work well with others.  Other ways to help foster problem solving skills is to have students work on problem based projects.  This is where students are working in teams to solve a problem that is based around real world applications; for example, students may try to make a functional robot that serves an everyday purpose.  Another way that I think teachers can help students learn thinking and problem-solving skills is to incorporate group work with projects where students work with students from another part of the country or world.  I think that these types of projects get students excited about school and help them learn vital thinking and problem solving skills.


Brainstorm ideas of authentic assessments that you may use that are appropriate for a content area that you might teach as well as developmentally appropriate for your future students.

Many of the ideas that I have for authentic assessments for my future elementary students involve them having to actually do what ever they are learning about.  For example, when students learn how to measure objects with a ruler, I plan on having my students measuring objects around the classroom.  Another idea that involves teaching reading, is to have every student actually read to me individually at least once a week and hopefully more.  It seems like an obvious thing to state, but I think that many teachers do not listen to each of their students reading individually very often.


Here is a link to a video from the eduopia website that discusses authentic assessment.  I really liked the video because it says what authentic assessment is and the steps to take in order to make your assessments authentic as a teacher.



Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Touchstone.

Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U., & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.