Monday, March 2, 2009

52 Teachers, 52 Lessons #7: Do The Same Lesson Over & Over

This week's entry comes from my old stomping grounds of New Jersey, where Keith Schoch teaches 4th grade. He has two blogs worth checking out: Teaching That Sticks and Teach with Picture Books. On with the show!

My best advice is for student teachers and teachers new to the profession. That advice is to teach the same lesson multiple times to different classes whenever possible.

Let me better explain. Student teachers and novice teachers build their skills through actual classroom instruction. Too often, however, immediately following a lesson, the beginning teacher will reflect upon the lesson and say, "If only I had..." and "Next time I should..." with no real plan for putting these remedies to work in the near future.

That is why whenever I serve as a cooperating teacher for a student teacher, I require that teacher to present their lesson not just to my class, but to all four classes on the grade level. This allows the teacher to tweak the lesson and collect feedback from four professionals with diverse experience and perspectives. Similarly, I recommend to new teachers that they "practice teach" a lesson (which they know will be observed by a principal or supervisor) with another class on their grade level before presenting it to their own students. This allows invaluable feedback concerning pacing, difficulty level, participation, and questioning and responding.

Teachers who have tried this report that it has improved not only their lesson planning skills, but their confidence as well. They can more readily plan a lesson with a clear idea of all variables involved, a skill which only repeated classroom exposure can hone. (They also gain a solid reputation among their professional peers).

Read more about this project here or add the 52 teachers 52 lessons tag to your favorites. Email your entries to teachforeverATgmailDOTcom. Week 8 will be posted next Monday, March 9th.