Classes To Take To Be A Teacher – If students come to your class unprepared, without completing their readings and assignments, you will be confused. You can’t do activities or have in-depth discussions that you plan to do during class time because it requires students to complete reading or prepare for class. On the other hand, you don’t want to teach material that you want them to prepare for, because that will just tell students they don’t need to prepare for future classes.
So how can you make sure your students are ready for class? The answer is to hold students accountable for low-stakes “responsibility tasks.” Assigning responsibilities helps ensure that all students participate in and benefit from classroom activities that help them learn course material.
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Some planning is required if strategies for student accountability are to be effective. We introduce this model below.
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What should students know, be able to do, or think about before attending class? Make sure your expectations are reasonable by considering classroom preparation as students engage in low-level cognitive tasks (recognizing, remembering, or comprehending new material) within Bloom’s taxonomy. Then in the classroom, students are prepared to engage in higher level activities.
Asking about responsibilities ensures that students are properly prepared. The task may be short — write a few sentences when prompted, or answer some quiz questions — but it should be worth a point or two. Decide whether students will complete assignments in class or before class. See the task list below for some suggestions.
Consider what level of understanding or competence students expect from their preparation. Begin classes at this level and use class time to deepen students’ understanding and ability to connect with the material.
For example, if students are assigned to read a passage and are assigned to write two sentences describing the author’s main argument, don’t spend class time telling students what the author’s main argument is. Instead, start class with a short activity for students to argue and come to a consensus; then spend class time on more complex activities, such as debating the strengths and weaknesses of an argument or connecting it to other course material.
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If your accountability task requires students to identify what they don’t understand in what they read, spend class time providing additional guidance on points of confusion.
If you’ve tried some of the strategies listed below and still see unready students in your classes, you may need to revisit your overall strategy and consider some difficult options. Here are some options to choose from.
There are many different specific tasks that can be used to hold students accountable; some are done outside of class and some are done in class.
Holding students accountable for being ready for class can be a challenge – and cannot be “fixed” simply by using accountability obligations. This may require a combination of time and strategy: ensure strong alignment between assignments, classwork, and course objectives; be transparent about assignments and expectations; students should not teach material they have not prepared for; and modify your responsibilities to keep students motivated . But tackling this challenge pays off when you see the results: dynamic classroom activities and discussions in which all students can participate and contribute.
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If you would like to meet with an advisor to discuss holding students accountable or any of the other instructional strategies outlined here, please contact us.
Brame, C. J. and Biel, R. (2015). Testing Enhances Learning: Using Remedial Exercises to Help Students Learn Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved July 11, 2022 from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/test-enhanced-learning-using-retrieval-practice-to-help-students-learn/.
Elms, M.R. (2016), They Didn’t Look! How to deal with unprepared students (besides expelling them and canceling classes). Blog post July 11, 2022 from https://melissaridleyelmes.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/they-didnt-read-what-to-do-with-unprepared-students-beside-just-kicking-A Getting them out and canceling the lesson/lesson plan is the teacher’s roadmap of what students need to learn and how to do it effectively in the classroom. You can then design appropriate learning activities and develop strategies to gain feedback on student learning. Having a well-coordinated lesson plan for each 3-hour lesson will allow you to enter the classroom with more confidence and increase your chances of having a meaningful learning experience with your students.
Lesson plans give you an outline of your learning objectives, learning objectives, and methods to achieve them, but are by no means exhaustive. A productive lesson is not where everything goes according to plan, but where students and teachers learn from each other. You can view a sample 3-hour lesson plan here.
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Before planning a course, you first need to determine the learning objectives of the course. Learning objectives describe what learners will know or be able to do after a learning experience, rather than describing what learners will be exposed to during instruction (i.e., topics). Generally, it is written in a language that students can easily understand and has a clear relationship to the learning outcomes of the program. The table below contains the characteristics of specific learning objectives:
Free of jargon and complex vocabulary; describe specific and achievable tasks (such as “describe,” “analyze,” or “evaluate”) rather than vague ones (such as “appreciate,” “understand,” or “explore”).
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (link) is a useful resource for creating demonstrable and measurable learning objectives.
When planning learning activities, you should consider what activities students will need to engage in in order to develop the skills and knowledge needed to demonstrate effective learning throughout the course. Learning activities should be directly related to the learning objectives of the course and should provide experiences that enable students to engage, practice, and receive feedback on specific progress towards these objectives.
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As you plan your study activities, estimate how much time you will spend on each activity. Make time for in-depth explanations or discussions, but also be prepared to quickly tackle different applications or problems and identify strategies for checking understanding. Some questions to consider when designing the learning activities you will use are:
Many activities can be used to engage learners. The following types of activities (i.e., what students are doing) and their examples are by no means an exhaustive list, but can help you think through how best to design and deliver high-impact learning experiences for your students in a typical course.
If students are asked to interact with material in a certain way, they are more likely to remember information presented that way.
Ask students questions/tasks to answer; may be timely or premature
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Exercises to assess students’ understanding and question level can take many forms such as multiple choice questions, essays, essays, etc.
A formal/informal conversation about a given topic/question where the lecturer helps students share answers to questions and builds on those answers.
Presenting students with problems, scenarios, cases, challenges, or design problems and then asking them to solve or solve them provides opportunities for students to think about or use knowledge and information in new and different ways.
Detailed stories (true or fictional) that students can analyze in detail to identify underlying principles, practices, or lessons.
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A planned set of interrelated tasks performed individually or cooperatively within a fixed period of time and within specified cost and other constraints.
The process of reflection begins with students thinking about what they already know and experiences that relate to the topic being explored/learned. Next is an analysis of why students think the way they do about the topic, and what assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs they have that influence learning about the topic.
Regular written recording of students’ intellectual and emotional responses to a given topic (e.g. weekly after each lesson)
It is important that each learning activity in the course (1) aligns with the learning objectives of the course, (2) engages students in a meaningful way that is active, constructive, authentic, and collaborative, and (3) in the following Useful in situations where students are capable. Use what they have learned through participation in other contexts or for other purposes.
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Assessments (e.g., tests, essays, problem sets, performances) provide opportunities for students to demonstrate and practice the knowledge and skills outlined in the learning objectives, and provide teachers with targeted feedback that can guide further learning.
An assessment plan lets you know if your students are learning. It involves making the following decisions:
Robert Gagne proposes a nine-step process called Teaching Events, which is useful for planning course sequences. Using Gagan’s 9 Events with Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (link) helps in designing engaging and meaningful instruction.
Listing ten learning objectives is unrealistic, so narrow your list down to two or three key concepts, ideas, or skills that you want your students to learn in your course. Your list of key learning objectives will help you make on-site decisions and adjust your lesson plan as needed. Here are some strategies to make it happen
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