Academic journal article Education

Modeling Secondary Instructional Strategies in a Teacher Education Class

Academic journal article Education

Modeling Secondary Instructional Strategies in a Teacher Education Class

Article excerpt

Strategies used prior to instruction:

Several of the instructional/learning strategies we use are based on two important principles of learning. First, new learning is based and built upon prior knowledge and experience (Wadsworth, 1978) and, second, students learn and retain more information from instruction when they are actively involved throughout the process (Albanese & Mitchell, 1993; Allen, 2002). Strategies such as creating Essential Questions, K-W-L (HL), graphic organizers, and problem and case-based study assist in developing student motivation, engagement, and involvement. These strategies can be used for individual instruction as well as collaborative learning processes.

Previewing the text book and highlighting practice:

Good readers make predictions as they read, so before we begin the semester's text reading assignments, we preview the text with students. We go through the steps used when reading for comprehension such as looking at the pictures, graphs, and tables, reading main headings and predicting content, and looking at questions at the end of the chapter to gain insight into the important information. Because some students tend to highlight most of the text and not just critical parts, we also highlight important information in the first few pages of a chapter using the highlighting tape purchased in teacher supply stores. This tape is brightly colored and easily peels away from the page. While the tape is a practical tool, we do encourage students to use actual highlighters in their books, hoping they will keep them as a step in building a professional library.

Essential Questions:

Instead of being provided the Essential Questions at the beginning of a course, students are involved in deciding just what information is critical for them to learn. We discuss the important sections of the course content and students work together to identify those areas of the content they feel are essential for becoming a strong teacher. Students work together in groups to discuss the content and their present levels of knowledge and experience. We contribute to their discussions by suggesting some content they may not have considered.

They then create their list of the most important content which then is displayed around the room on large Post-It sheets we often use in class. Each student is given several smaller post-it notes with directions to walk around the room, placing a note by content most critical in their eyes. They also are instructed to write how that content may translate to a classroom they might teach.

This experience works especially well with courses such as Classroom Management and Survey to Exceptional Learners. Since most students have been successful in their elementary and high school experiences, they may not have seriously considered, how classroom management alleviates behavior and learning problems or how multiple assessment measures lead to more accurate pictures of student performance. More typical is their lack of experience with students who have learning disabilities or behavior disorders.


What do you know? What do you want to know? What did you learn? How did you learn this? This is another method of involving students in their learning. A large chart is displayed with one of the letters K-W-L-HL, each at the top of one of four columns. Students take turns writing their personal level of interest and prior knowledge. As the course evolves, students are encouraged to place comments in any of the columns, especially the HL column. That is helpful for instructors to know what aspects of instruction were particularly helpful or effective. Any "missing" areas are filled in as we proceed and the chart is displayed until the end of the course.

Graphic Organizers are another method for connecting to prior knowledge. These visuals are widely used, but often within the context of instruction, instead of before instruction begins. …

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