Reflection is a part of teaching. As the new calendar year begins, I find myself rethinking, reworking, and reorganizing for my students. In response to Margaret Regan’s Edutopia posting Six Steps to Master Teaching: Becoming a Reflective Practitioner, I am dedicating the next several blog entries to these six steps.
Step 5: Perfect Instructional Practices and Assessment Skills
How does a teacher assess mastery of skills? When does the student receive feedback on his performance? How is what we are doing today relevant to me?
These are the three questions that project what activities I choose to assign on any given school day. The objectives need to be determined in order to create assessment. Assessment needs to be created before the assignment, lesson or mini-lesson is introduced. Why?
Assessment should drive the curriculum. The teacher should know from the beginning of a unit what objectives she wants her students to master. One can only prepare for this instruction if the assessment is created before the instruction is given. Instruction is more meaningful and relevant to the students if it is delivered with a destination and/or goal to be reached.
Instruction and activities lose their meaning and relevance if the student is simply completing an assignment for a grade. Purpose drives assessment. Purposeful instruction promotes and maintains motivation.
“Why are we doing this, Miss?” and “How is this going to help me in my ‘real’ life?” are questions we can avoid as teachers if we are prepared to guide our students with better instructional practices.
How can we instill the significance of sharing this better practice with other teachers on our hallway, in our department, or on our campus? How can we better mentor our new and/or young teachers in this better instructional practice?