A great lesson is like a gourmet meal. There are many ingredients that combine to create a wonderful flavor. In order to achieve this masterpiece, however, the chef must be well-prepared. It takes planning and organization before, during, and after the prep work is done. The work may be time-consuming, but the end result is certainly something to savor.
The same can be true of a great lesson. Will you season today's lesson with a lecture, some cooperative learning, or perhaps an open-ended discussion? A teacher, like the gourmet chef, must ask him or herself a number of questions before, during, and after the lesson in order to evaluate and ultimately choose the best teaching strategy for each teaching situation. Below are a number of steps to follow in order to achieve this goal.
Questions to ask before your lesson (during planning):
- Consider your objective. What is your goal in teaching your students this lesson? If you want them to get a straight shot of information easily and quickly, then a lecture may serve your purpose well. If you want them to have a deeper mastery of a skill, something more interactive would be better.
- Consider your audience. Would a lecture be appropriate for a roomful of seven-year-olds? Probably not. Perhaps a hands-on, guided practice would better meet the needs of your audience. Think about who you are teaching and choose a strategy that is appropriate for them.
- Consider your materials and time. Do you have an overhead projector? Do you have a computer lab? In a nutshell, do you have the materials necessary to use your chosen strategy? Another consideration is the time. Choose a strategy that allows you to achieve your goal within your given time.
Questions to ask during your lesson:
- Consider students' behavior. Are students attentive and engaged? If they are, your chosen teaching strategy is working as planned. There are times, however, when things don't go according to plan. If your students are not paying attention, or are not actively involved in the lesson, then perhaps a different strategy may have been more appropriate.
- Consider the flow of the lesson. Are you able to transition smoothly from one part of the lesson to the next? Is this strategy allowing you to use time efficiently?
Questions to ask after your lesson:
- Consider your objectives once again. Did you achieve your goal for this lesson? If so, your strategy was effective. If not, what could you change for next time?
- Consider your efforts in terms of time and planning. If you feel that you've achieved your goal and your students have met the lesson's objective, then your strategy has worked appropriately. The time it took to prepare for the use of the strategy was well worth it. If not, then reconsider the strategy and choose something more appropriate for your needs.
This method for evaluating teaching strategies before, during, and after your lesson should help you to create lessons that will keep students engaged and learning. You can use this method to evaluate any strategy you may want to add to your lessons. Check out the recommended links for helpful websites that feature a great selection of teaching strategies to evaluate and use.