High Quality Instruction: Findings from Research

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  • High Quality Instruction:Findings from Research

  • The Center on Instruction is operated by RMC Research Corporation in partnership with the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University; RG Research Group; Horizon Research, Inc., the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics at the University of Houston; and the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.

    The contents of this PowerPoint were developed under cooperative agreement S283B050034 withthe U.S. Department of Education. However, these contents do not necessarilyrepresent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should notassume endorsement by the Federal Government.


  • Consider the Lesson VignetteIndividually, read the lesson vignette and respond to the following question on the reflection sheet:

    Is this lesson likely to lead to student learning? Why?

  • Effective Instruction: What does research tell us?There has been, and continues to be, much debate over what constitutes effective instruction.

    Reform Students working in small groupsHands-on activitiesFocusing on topics selected by the studentsTraditional Delivering information through lectures or readingStudents working on practice problems and worksheetsStudents doing confirmatory activities

  • Effective InstructionCurrent learning theory focuses on students conceptual change, and does not imply that one pedagogy is necessarily better than another.

    The National Mathematics Advisory Panel Report states that, High-quality research does not support the contention that instruction should be either entirely student-centered or teacher-directed. Research indicates that some forms of particular instructional practices can have a positive impact under specific conditions.

  • Effective InstructionThe following elements of effective instruction are derived largely from the learning theory described in the National Research Councils volumes How People Learn (2003) and How Students Learn: Science in the Classroom (2005).

  • MotivationHowever well-designed the instruction, students are unlikely to learn if they do not have a desire to do so.

    Instruction needs to hook students by addressing something they have wondered about, or can be induced to wonder about, possibly, but not necessarily, in a real-world context.

  • Eliciting Students Prior KnowledgeResearch has shown convincingly that students do not come to school as empty vessels; rather, they come with ideas they have gleaned from books, TV, movies, and real-life experiences.

    These ideas may either facilitate or impede their learning of important ideas.

    There is considerable evidence that instruction is most effective when it elicits students initial ideas, provides them with opportunities to confront those ideas, helps them formulate new ideas based on the evidence, and encourages them to reflect upon how their ideas have evolved.

  • Intellectual EngagementResearch on learning suggests that the hallmark of effective lessons is that they include meaningful experiences that engage students intellectually with important content.

    Lessons need to engage students in doing the intellectual work, and make sure that the intellectual work is focused on the learning goal.

    When observing classroom instruction, its helpful to ask yourself, If I were a student in this class, what would I be thinking about?

  • Use of Evidence to Make and Critique ClaimsBeing scientifically literate requires understanding both scientific ideas and the nature of the scientific enterprise. Students should be encouraged to view science as a process by which knowledge is constructed, not as a collection of facts.

    An integral part of the scientific process is the collection and interpretation of data, which is then used to critique claims and see if they are supported by the evidence.

    Students are less likely to revert to their prior incorrect ideas if they are familiar with the evidence that confronts those ideas and supports the scientific consensus.

  • Use of Reasoning and Proof (NCTM Process Standard)

    Reasoning and proof are fundamental aspects of mathematics. Being able to reason is essential to understanding mathematics.

    Doing mathematics involves discovery. Making and investigating mathematical conjectures is a major pathway to discovery.

    An integral part of mathematical reasoning is developing and evaluating mathematical arguments and proofs.

  • Sense-Making

    Effective instruction requires opportunities for students to make sense of the ideas with which they have been engaged:Making connections between what they did in a lesson and what they were intended to learn.Connecting the new ideas to knowledge that students already have, placing the lessons learning goals in a larger framework and helping students organize their knowledge.

  • What Does Effective Instruction Look Like in the Classroom?There are multiple ways each critical element can be incorporated into instruction.

    Not all five need to occur in every lesson, but rather they may play out over a series of lessons.

  • MotivationExtrinsic motivators deadlines for research projects, classroom competitions, and tests and quizzes affecting students grades

    Intrinsic motivatorsusually stem from intellectual curiosity and a desire to learn.

  • Eliciting Students Prior KnowledgeKWL charts: What students know about a certain concept (K), what they want to know (W), and finally what they have learned (L) by the end of a lesson or unit

    Demonstration of initial ideas using drawings, concept maps, or cartoons.

    Teacher questions

    Encouraging students to raise questions of their own allows teachers to access their existing ideas

  • Intellectual EngagementStudents have opportunities to engage with appropriate phenomena while investigating meaningful questions.Can be through a hands-on experienceCan be through an interactive lecture (Socratic discussion)

  • Use of Evidence to Make and Critique ClaimsStudents should use evidence to support and critique conclusions (both their own and other peoples).

    Evidence can come from a hands-on activity, examples from their own life, or data they are given and asked to analyze.

  • Use of Reasoning and Proof (from NCTM)Students should use mathematical reasoning and evidence to justify and critique procedures and solutions (both their own and other peoples).

    Students should learn to investigate their conjectures using concrete materials, calculators and other tools, and mathematical representation and symbols.

  • Sense-makingSense-making can occur in a number of ways, for example:Whole class discussion with appropriate teacher questioning;Written student reflection using well-designed, guiding prompts, e.g., considering how, and why, their thinking has changed; orApplication of ideas to other contexts.

  • Analyzing Classroom InstructionVignettes offer an opportunity for participants to analyze instruction with the luxury of having written documentation to analyze multiple times.

    Actual lessons are often more challenging to analyze as the observer must be:attuned to what would count as evidence of effective instruction; andskilled in collecting the appropriate information.

  • Group DiscussionLook at your initial responses to the written vignette:What changes, if any, would you make to your response? Why?How would you improve any elements that you thought were unlikely to be effective?

  • What Have We Learned about the Elements of Effective Instruction?

    MotivationEliciting students prior knowledgeIntellectual engagementUse of Evidence to Make and Critique Claims (Mathematical reasoning and proof)Sense-making

  • ReferencesMoje, E. B., Collazo, T., Carrillo, R., & Marx, R. W. (2001). Maestro, what is quality?: Language, literacy, and discourse in project-based science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 469-498.

    National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.

    National Research Council. (2003). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. J. D. Bransford, A. L. Brown, & R. R. Cocking (Eds.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

  • ReferencesNational Research Council. (2005). How students learn: Science in the classroom. M. S. Donovan & J. D. Bransford, (Eds.) Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

    Nuthall, G. (1999). The way students learn: Acquiring knowledge from an integrated science and social studies unit. The Elementary School Journal, 99(4), 303-341.

    Nuthall, G. (2001). Understanding how classroom experience shapes students minds. Unterrichts Wissenschaft, 29(3), 224-267.

    Weiss, I.R., Pasley, J. D., Smith, P. S., Banilower, E. R., & Heck, D. J. (2003). Looking inside the classroom: A study of K-12 mathematics and science education in the United States. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research, Inc.

  • Professional Development SurveyWhat are your initial impressions of the sample mathematics professional development program just demonstrated?

    Session Notes:

    We recommend seating participants in rounds (or similar arrangement) and not auditorium style to facilitate discussion throughout the session. These materials are based on research and provided by the Center on Instruction for PD in effective science instruction. We have modified the materials for use in math instruction. We are providing only a brief preview of one component of the PD that we are developing for math and science to provide support for the