The Effective Teacher
The first chapter is quite general, covering mostly the characteristics and traits which are expected from the good teacher as he or she is perceived through the contemporary perspective: able to organize a successful and performance-oriented teacher-student interaction and demonstrating personality traits contributing to the effect. Despite covering the topics and key strategies that are mostly intuitive and can be found in guidelines for any teaching profession, some of the mentioned behaviors actually enhanced my understanding of the topic and will hopefully benefit my teaching practices.
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For instance, while the lesson’s clarity is a universally applicable and recognized behavior, and teacher’s task orientation is easily suitable for the mathematics lesson, the practice of using process questions is a technique that is used relatively rarely. Admittedly, it requires more preparation compared to asking direct content questions but enhances the cognitive performance of students (Borich, 2016), which is sometimes ignored by the teachers of mathematics.
Similarly, soliciting additional information on the topic is sometimes incorrectly perceived as the introduction of the opportunities for distraction, which leads to decreases in clarity and approachability of the material. These points, in my opinion, were the biggest contribution to my understanding of the teaching process.
Goals, Standards, and Objectives
The work on chapter 5 has helped me to clearly distinguish between standards, goals, and objectives and systematize the procedure of setting behavioral conditions. The former is mostly valuable for theoretical and scholarly use, such as being able to identify standards that are relevant to each lesson and tie them to the specific activities and strategies which will guarantee the highest efficiency of the teaching process.
The latter, however, has a more grounded practical approach in lesson planning. For instance, while assessing the outcome is a necessary and well-established part of teaching, the initial step of determining the expected observable outcome is sometimes ignored, which leads to the discrepancies and inconsistencies in the evaluation process.
Similarly, the outcomes need to be conclusively measurable, and the amount of each behavior needs to be projected before the activity (Borich, 2016). Admittedly, the former is rarely neglected in the teaching of mathematics, but the latter can be overlooked – likely because of the clarity of the produced results which create the false impression that the cognitive domain is secondary in teaching mathematics.
Unit and Lesson Planning
This chapter presented the biggest challenge in terms of the tasks set by it – mostly because it deals with the process on the go rather than provides explanations and tools for categorization for familiar phenomena. While the chapter suggests thorough planning as a way to exclude inappropriate decision-making, I found the instructions to help foresee the likely situations which can occur during the lesson. The disciplinary approach, in my opinion, is the most appropriate for this practice.
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Once the hierarchies are determined for each unit, the teacher then can look into the goals, starting from the least general ones (Borich, 2016). These goals, which are specific enough to fit within a certain lesson or group of lessons, can serve as good indicators of the likely changes and deviations from a determined direction planned by the teacher.
By reviewing them in the context of marginally related themes and neighboring goals (defined and marked by visual cues on the unit plan) the teachers can outline the most likely situations which may occur during the learning process and prepare the generalized supportive strategies which would allow them to either redirect the unusual development into the planned frame or proceed with the alternative path depending on which option presents less disruption and better outcomes for the students.
Borich, G. (2016). Effective Teaching Methods: Research-Based Practice (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.