Steven Weber

Superintendent or Asst Super

Fayetteville, AR

Interests: Curriculum design and...

  • Posted 7 Years ago
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Lessons Learned From Classroom Observations

One of the most rewarding benefits of my job is the opportunity to observe teaching and learning.  I am the Director of Secondary Instruction and I enjoy seeing teachers interact with students and implement lessons while leading students to key ideas and new understandings.  Often, I am amazed by the lessons that I learn from observing a group of students or watching a master teacher.  I regret that I did not have these same [observation] opportunities as a young teacher.  I believe there is power in observing students and teachers.  Classroom observations reaffirm the statement that teaching is both art and science.

Lessons Learned From Classroom Observations

1.  Activating Prior Knowledge is Critically Important, Regardless of the Student's Current Understanding.

2.  Poor Technology Integration Hinders Quality Learning Experiences (See Ferriter (2011) at Making Good Technology Choices).

3.  Activities Are Fun, But They Do Not Always Transfer to Student Understanding (See Understanding by Design).

4.  Rigor Should Not Be Reserved for the 'Advanced Students.'

5.  Students Value Collaboration.

6.  Today's Students Want To Hear Multiple Perspectives.  They Live in the Age of Google.  They Don't Always Believe It Just Because The Teacher Said So.

7.  Most Students Are Uncomfortable Using a Pencil.  When Will We Have a Computer In Every School for Every Student?

8.  Students Work Harder For Teachers Who Show Them Respect (It's a New Generation).

9.  Students Want To Be Heard (Through Art, Speech, Writing, Drama, YouTube, and other Web 2.0 tools).

10.  Today's Classroom Takes Place Within Four Walls and Globally - There Are No Boundaries!

According to Lorin Anderson (2002), "When examining instructional activities, one must ask, “What is the student supposed to learn from his or her participation in this activity? What knowledge is to be acquired or constructed? What cognitive processes are to be employed?”

Teaching and learning require intentional planning and flexibility.  When professional teachers provide students with multiple avenues for learning key concepts and skills, students will learn and at some point in the unit the students will become the teacher(s). 

What Lessons Have You Learned From Teaching or Observing K-12 Teaching and Learning?  Please share your stories and thoughts on ASCD EDge.

1 Comment

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Sergio Freddson

10 Apr 15, 04:55 PM

I agree: it's foolish to reserve rigor for the honors students. If you separate the school into 'honors' and 'non-honors' students, there will be many that spend their lives viewing themselves as someone incapable of learning. It's a sad truth, but it's important to be careful to challenge all students to improve.

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