Any course first starts with a curriculum – what needs to be taught in the course and with how much time and score weightages need to be structured into the curriculum. The curriculum is then becomes a guideline for teachers. (What I write in this blog is specifically using my experience in teaching-learning of science using 21st century tools and technology.)
Curriculum is all about what we are going to teach. Pedagogy is about how we teach it.
When implementing some curriculum content, it is important to use a range of pedagogical strategies depending on the learners’ abilities, the type of content to be taught, and the time allotted.
Instructional strategies are a subset of pedagogical strategies. Instructional strategies include all approaches that a teacher may take to actively engage students in learning. These strategies drive a teacher’s instruction as they work to meet specific learning objectives and goals. Effective instructional strategies meet all the development needs of the learners in the class – it is closely associated with the leaning experience, and can be measured by assessments of students.
Some of the instructional strategies can be as follows:
- Presentation – direct talks and lectures
- Exhibits and demonstration
- Drill and Practice, tutorials (problem based)
- Games and simulations
- Discussions and debates (Socratic method)
- Hands-on (inquiry based)
- Field Trips
- Case Studies
Each of these instructional methods or teaching solutions falls into 4 types: direct, indirect, interactive and experimental. It is important to note that instructional methods or teaching solutions will also depend on the types of content to be delivered (facts, concepts, principles, etc.)
In terms of the ed-tech environment of the 21st century, these 4 methods of instructions can be said to be
- Receptive instructionis characterized by a lecture or an Internet site where the student is merely provided with information. (indirect method)
- Directive instructionis characterized by a computer-based tutorial where information is presented, the student responds, feedback is provided and this tutorial learning cycle is repeated. (direct method)
- Guided Discoveryis characterized by a computer simulation that allows the student to manipulate some device or environment. (interactive method)
- Exploratory instructionis characterized by an open learning environment in which the student is provided a rich, networked database of information, examples, demonstrations, and exercises from which the student can select whatever is appropriate to their current needs and mental models. (experimental method)
Effective implementation of any of these teaching methods will depend on assessment strategies as well. When planning, it is advisable to use a ‘backward design’ since method curriculum, pedagogy (teaching and instruction) and assessment are all interlinked.
There are four steps that need to be followed:
- Begin with the curriculum in order to determine the desired outcomes from the learning objectives.
- Create formative assessments that can indicate to you if learners are learning or otherwise!
- Then create summative assessments to map the learning objectives.
- Lastly create a pedagogical instruction that is required in order for the learners to meet the desired outcomes. If not change your instructional approach.
The backward design is very useful for a flipped classroom!
The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.
The value of a flipped class is in the repurposing of class time into a workshop-style interaction where students can inquire about lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and do hands-on activities. During class sessions, instructors function as coaches or facilitators, encouraging students in individual inquiry and collaborative effort.
Although the idea of a flipped classroom is straightforward, an effective flip requires careful recording of lectures, , and out-of-class and in-class elements must be carefully integrated for students to understand the teaching/pedagogical model and be self-motivated to carry on to learn.