Need for Lesson Analysis in Effective Lesson Planning
Panasuk, Regina M., Sullivan, Mary M., Education
In the instructional process the lesson is the primary organizing structure. While developing and presenting a lesson, a classroom teacher confronts many pedagogical issues and makes choices directed toward assisting students to acquire knowledge, apply new information to practical activities, and construct beliefs. We view a contemporary lesson as a complex, dynamic system, and its analysis regulates and correlates interconnections and continuously improves the entire educational process. The use of the descriptor "dynamic" indicates our intent that analyses of lessons produce continuous change in the practice of teaching by an individual. By "complex" we intend to convey the idea that the totality of the lesson is greater than the sum of its parts. Achieving quality in lessons depends not only upon the teacher's ability to present material but also to analyze learning outcomes and assess the pedagogical communication.
Since the nature of the lesson is complex, it can be analyzed from different positions. The methodological perspective includes an analysis of approaches, teaching techniques, and methods. The psychological analysis considers the development of the student's cognitive structure and personality. In order to achieve a high degree of professionalism, a teacher must know how to observe lessons and be able to analyze the methodology in light of the developmental level and academic potential of the students. The teacher must be able to identify the factors that determine the success of the pedagogical activity.
The development of preservice teachers' ability to construct, conduct and analyze a lesson is an essential component in their professional training. In order for aspiring teachers to be able to critically evaluate the pedagogical work of others and themselves, they must study lesson observation and analysis and acquire a knowledge base that is systematic and clearly differentiated. To become flexible, dynamic teachers, they must think independently and develop abilities of reflection in order to make decisions about pedagogical situations in future lessons. In this paper, we consider the psychological and methodological aspects of lesson observation and analysis.
Analysis of Psychological Factors
Theoretical knowledge from educational psychology and sociology of the classroom merges into a theory of teaching that is woven together with the discipline content. Current theories of teaching and learning embody (a) cognitive psychology, in acknowledging prior learning, accepting the active nature of learning, and recognizing that learners construct their understanding; (b) philosophy, in the unity of thought and action; (c) developmental psychology, in asserting that the mind develops through activity; (d) educational methodology, through inclusion of exactness and accessibility of the content, systematic presentation approach, and appropriate use of concrete manipulative materials and visual aids; and (e) leading theories related to content. The teacher, aware that the student who is learning content is also engaged in the dynamic process of personal development, cannot allow the content of the lesson to be an end in itself.
The observation and analysis of a lesson from the aspect of students' psychological development must be based on theories related to development. Observers note first, whether the formation of the lesson's objectives exhibits the teacher's understanding of learning in terms of scope and sequence of the material and second, whether the interaction of the teacher and students reflects an understanding of students' personal development, including effects of teacher methods and actions on student development.
Observers look for evidence in the lesson that the teacher reflects on students' activity and evidence that students are provided with an opportunity to look at and analyze their own involvement and learning. Ideally, the teacher's interaction with students, evident to observers through verbal comments, reflects understanding of students' relationship to the learning, their difficulties, their feelings of accomplishment, and even their discontent.
Observers who are interested in supporting the development of the teacher along the path from novice to expert analyze the teacher's self-organization, that is, the degree of mastery in content and pedagogy apparent in the lesson (Hunter, 1994). They look for content structure in the lesson as well as degree of awareness of the readiness level of the students to receive the content. Aware that the psychological climate in a classroom contributes to its being a positive or negative learning environment, observers note whether the teacher's attitude toward the lesson and the students is conducive to learning.
Analysis of Methodological Factors
The schema that observers follow for lesson observation and analysis reflects the dynamism and complexity of the lesson itself. Observers draw from theoretical content of educational psychology in order to determine the educational, pedagogical, and developmental goals that underpin the lesson. They identify the teaching methods that are contained in the lesson and evaluate their contribution to achieving the broader goals. As they attend to student behaviors, observers look for evidence of the teacher's prompting of logical and dialectical thinking at the higher levels through analysis and synthesis, comparison, generalization, and proof They consider teacher's actions that support the formation of cognitive skills and record specific instances that illustrate the teacher's attempts to engage students' cognitive processes. They also review the lesson in its entirety and evaluate its success in achieving its objectives. As observers look holistically at the teacher's methodological competence, they pay attention to specific methods and strategies that contribute to the lesson's success or failure.
Current documents (Mathematical Sciences Education Board, 1990; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1989; National Research Council, 1989) note that students are expected to be effective team contributors in the workplace and suggest that opportunities for team learning be presented in the classroom. Observers note student interaction and cooperative forms of learning.
Generally observers identify the teacher's systems for informal evaluations and methods for eliciting students' understanding, estimate the objectivity of the approaches, and gauge students' motivation to contribute. At the end of the analysis of the numerous methodological factors that contribute to a lesson's execution, observers evaluate the degree to which the teacher's lesson plan agrees with the lesson's delivery.
Lesson Analysis Content
Mr. X began the class by checking the
homework that was given the day before.
While he was checking, he assigned a
student to erase the board. Some various
problems. After the homework was
reviewed, the topic of probability was
discussed. Mr. X discussed a few
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Publication information: Article title: Need for Lesson Analysis in Effective Lesson Planning. Contributors: Panasuk, Regina M. - Author, Sullivan, Mary M. - Author. Journal title: Education. Volume: 118. Issue: 3 Publication date: Spring 1998. Page number: 330+. © 1999 Project Innovation. COPYRIGHT 1998 Gale Group.
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