Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teaching and Learning

This past year I have been part of a work group attempting to develop learning options for our college. The state of Iowa no longer requires certification, so each college / university is expected to have teaching improvement as part of their offerings to keep the faculty effective with learning. Goal: continued learning in how best to teach students.

My background in education courses is zilch -- nada -- no credits whatsoever in education. My frustration at this teaching and learning committee has been high at times, because I do NOT understand the theory or recognize names to learning models.

So... after the last meeting, I had heard enough names of authors to order some books to help me better understand the talk around the table. It is that exploration of learning theory that I bring to my blog -- research shows that the best way to learn is through activity with information. Therefore, here starts my journey in teaching and learning theory.

My first resource is The Art and Science of Teaching by Marzano. All quotations and thoughts from this book are under copyright and must be recognized as such.

My summary of the Introduction pages 1-7.
The title of book comes from the understanding that teaching is an art -- a teacher must learn the students as individuals such that the theories can be applied scientifically. The science part comes from the understanding that the educational theories or practices applied have a probability of working -- not a guarantee.

Studies indicate findings of practices that work and those that do not. One study (Nye and colleagues (2004)) indicates that "effective teachers make a significant difference in student achievement." (p. 2) That thought alone stimulates me to find out what practices help a teacher to be more effective.

Marzano found that effective teaching has three general characteristics:
1) Use of effective instructional strategies
2) Use of effective classroom management strategies
3) Effective classroom curriculum design
(p. 5)

Note: These general characteristics were given the word "pedagogy." (p. 6)

Resources to check out:
* What Works in Schools (Marzano, 2003)
* Classroom Instruction That Works (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001)
* Classroom Management That Works (Marzano, 2003)