TWT Assignment 4
Teaching and Learning Strategies & Planning for Improved Student Products

Key Questions:

1.

What teaching and learning strategies support transformational learning environments?

2.

How do these teaching and learning strategies encourage student learning?

3.

What do these teaching and learning strategies look like in the classroom?

4.

How does technology support these teaching and learning strategies?

5.

Which teaching and learning strategies will I employ in my classroom?

Study Notes

Regardless of the grade level or discipline, teachers often ask the question: “How can I get my students to think?”

Research indicates that critical thinking is not typically addressed in the classroom. A number of studies show that in the typical classroom, the vast majority of teacher questions are at the recall or simple comprehension level.

Do we teachers spend too much time directing our students to memorize facts and information? Is it even an important skill in today’s world? Perhaps not! New information is discovered and advancements are made each day – what is needed is an understanding of how to access, make sense of, and assimilate the mass of data.

Learning is complex. Specific learning strategies can nurture students’ higher order thinking skills and multiple intelligences. This assignment focuses on project-based learning, problem-based learning, and inquiry-based learning - three successful teaching and learning strategies that engage students. Using these learning strategies promotes higher-order thinking and encourages students to be self-directed learners.

When used appropriately with these teaching and learning strategies, technology is a positive vehicle for promoting transformational learning. It allows students to work on authentic tasks and challenging problems. These types of activities often provide connection with peers, community members, or experts in the field. Students are able to build knowledge collaboratively and to promote the development of higher-order thinking. Technology becomes a tool for locating and organizing information, a means for presenting a solution, and communicating the results.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Project-based, inquiry-based, and problem-based learning, have some similarities. Each strategy supports student-centered classrooms. Students learn and enjoy more when they are actively involved, rather than passive listeners. All strategies focus on problems and solutions that mimic the real world, (authentic learning). There is an emphasis on process. The students are more self-directed and usually more than one approach or answer is involved in the learning. The teacher acts as a facilitator or coach. Cooperative groups are utilized to seek multiple sources of information and to strengthen teamwork and group skills (cooperative learning). As the students see connections between the learning and the real world, they are more motivated to understand and solve the problem at hand.

The following chart summarizes the basic principles and role of the teachers and students when implementing project-based, inquiry-based, and problem-based learning.


COMPARING STRATEGIES

BASIC PRINCIPLES

Traditional

Inquiry-based

Problem-based

Project-based

The teacher is focused on dispensing information about “what is known.” The teacher disseminates content and knowledge, which requires recall or simple comprehension. Students learn not to ask too many questions, instead to listen and repeat the expected answers.
Mastery of the content is emphasized.

Students seek knowledge by questioning and investigating a phenomenon through hands-on experiences. They critically examine the best evidence and report their findings, often leading to new questions and a repeat of the process.

Students are placed in the active role of problem-solvers confronted with a “fuzzy” (ill-structured) problem, which mirrors the real world. As the students are provided with insufficient information, they determine the best solution possible.

An end product is generally the driving force and often dictates how the project is organized. The production of the product requires specific content and skills and the entire process is authentic, mirroring the real world.

TEACHER ROLE

Traditional

Inquiry-based

Problem-based

Project-based

Lessons include teacher-directed content. Teacher lesson plans are used to organize the various steps in the learning process utilizing the whole-class approach.

Teachers guide students by asking open-ended questions to help them direct their own investigations. Helping students develop good questioning skills is critical. The teacher discovers more about the students through the process of inquiry learning.

Teachers guide students as they work in groups to define the problem, helping students to learn how to locate resources and find solutions.

Part of the teacher’s role is to implement positive feedback strategies, stimulate group interaction skills, foster cooperation, and downplay competition during the learning process.

STUDENT ROLE

Traditional

Inquiry-based

Problem-based

Project-based

Students have little ownership in their learning. They often respond with the answers that were earlier given in lecture format.

Students participate in active learning experiences by investigating questions in a scientific manner. The results are recorded and shared with others.

Students gain the feeling of empowerment by having an impact on solving the ”fuzzy” problem. Students do not feel compelled to find the “correct” answer.

Students practice and develop their ability to function in complex thinking environments that reflect work environments they will encounter. Generally they produce a product or artifact and that drives the process.

Additional information on project-based learning, problem-based learning, and inquiry-based learning is available via the links below. The additional information explains more on each strategy, how each specific strategy encourages student learning, and what each strategy looks like in the classroom. At the completion of this assignment, you will be asked to reflect on which strategy(s) best match your educational goal, objectives, and standards.

Inquiry-based Learning | Problem-based Learning | Project-based Learning

 

Planning for Improved Student Products
In Assignment 5 you will begin to plan for the student learning activities that will take place in the classroom. Student-learning activities and the resulting end products play a vital role toward increasing student achievement. An end product is generally the driving force and often dictates how the project is organized in an engaged learning activity. The production of the product requires specific content skills and the entire process is authentic, mirroring the real world. The process and the end product are both of critical importance. One cannot happen successfully without the other.


As you plan for your student learning activities, think profoundly about the student products that they will produce and identify the types of instructional practices, learning uses, and student performances that are in greatest need of improvement in order to meet your unit of instruction learning goal(s) and objectives. Remember, one of your TWT course requirements is the electronic submission of at least two student products. The chosen products should illustrate student achievement toward one or more unit objectives.

 

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