Teaching is more than a set of methods. Teaching well means addressing a set of objectives, for a particular group of students, at a certain point in the school year, with certain resources, within a particular time frame, in a particular school and community setting. It means finding a balance between direct instruction and orchestrating the activities of individuals and groups of students. It means developing students' skills and strategies for learning, at the same time they learn the content of the curriculum.
Artful teachers approach the subject matter not as static knowledge or inert ideas, but as ways of knowing. Using ways of knowing—thinking within a discipline—means to command a set of concepts and a set of strategies for asking questions and creating knowledge. To think across disciplines means to identify problems, to ask the right questions, to bring the right knowledge to bear, to find the right solutions, and to apply the right measure of one's success.
Although teaching is more than a set of strategies, there are some teaching methods that should be part of every creative teacher's repertoire. Some of these are comprehensive strategies that can shape a whole lesson. Others can be combined to make a complete lesson plan.
In the pages that follow you will find eight core lessons described in detail. Each of these lessons sets out activities and teaching strategies chosen for each of the three phases—anticipation, building knowledge, and consolidation—that was described in the previous section. These lessons are scripted, almost as if they were plays, to give you an idea what the teacher and students say and do. If you are taking part in a workshop, it is likely that you will have a chance to take part in these lessons as if you were a student.
In the text of the script, each phase of a lesson will be indicated by the following icons:
the anticipation phase of a lesson the building knowledge phase the consolidation phase