WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS BROAD GENERALISATIONS ABOUT PRE-SERVICE AND EARLY CAREER TEACHERS. THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS, I HAVE MET THEM, TAUGHT THEM AND TAUGHT BESIDE THEM. I AM TALKING IN GENERAL TERMS.
I have been teaching the pre-service teachers I lecture about ALARM this week. This morning I was reflecting on my lecture and tutorial and I had another one of those light bulb moments. My general constructive criticism of my pre-service teachers was on the teacher-centred nature of their lesson plans and practical lesson demonstrations. “What are the students going to do?” is somehting I have written and said too many times over the last couple of years.
I give these teachers the 5 minute lesson plan by Te@cher Toolkit because it is a clear visual reminder of what students would be doing. I have changed the way in which we have presented information, given feedback and assessed the course in an effort to address this. Unfortunately, “Copy notes from the board” or “answer the questions from the text book” are all too often seen as a student-centred activity focused on the what, how and why. Forgetting the how well, so what or why is this important.
I have found that these early career and pre-service teachers are focused on the presentation of content and make this their priority to the detriment of how students will manipulate, assimilate, practice and present this knowledge.
So as I introduced ALARM and I talked about the higher order thinking and the responding side of the matrix, I realised that this is the perfect vehicle for reminding teachers that responding to content is equally as important as learning it. In fact, I would contend that it is more important, because this is where the real learning happens.