Implications for Improving the Teaching Practice


Implications for Improving theTeaching Practice


Introduction 3

Contemporary Concepts on Learning 3

Learning is an active construction procedure 3

Learning is a social phenomenon 4

Student disparities are resources not impediments 5

Implications for Improving Teaching Practice 6

Instruction is Intellectual Work 6

Teachers have many functions 8

Effective instructors tactically share work with learners 11

Teachers concentrate on challenging content 13

Teaching as inquiry 15

Expected Results due to Improving Teaching Practice 18

Conclusion 19

References 21

Appendices 22


Education is always floodedwith advent concepts on learning and instruction. Teachers are oftenawash with propositions for improvement. They are encouraged toemploy new syllabus, teaching techniques and evaluations. Instructorsare directed to prepare learners for introduced examinations or torecord and evaluate student’s work via assortments and performanceappraisals. Endorsements feature on employing research-foundedtechniques to instruct mathematics and reading. To achieve suchstipulations, teachers need to have a solid comprehension of thebasic theories, which impel teaching. These include theories on howstudents study, what to teach and manners instructors can facilitatestudent learning. Contemporary concepts on learning derive fromeducational theories. These concepts include, that learning is anactive construction procedure, it is a social phenomenon and personalexperience and student disparities are resources not impediments. Inlight of these concepts, the paper evaluates the implications forimprovement of teaching practice. Focus is on the notion thatinstruction is intellectual work, teachers have many functions,effective instructors tactically share work with learners, teachingas inquiry and teachers concentrate on challenging content.

Contemporary Concepts on LearningLearning is an active construction procedure

Previously, teachers havetaught while students have listened. The presumption was that ifinstructors communicate clearly, learners are encouraged and learningtakes place. Such teaching has its basis on behavior learning theory(Hansen, 1996). The theory states that one behavior results inanother. However, the theory has had to give way to the concept thatthe brain as active stimuli seeks a suitable learning environment.This has resulted in adoption of constructivist learning approach(Hansen, 1996). It means comprehending that learners create meaningof what they learn thus, increasing their attention to learning.Recognizing that learners interpret, instead of immediately takingin, notions they face via theories and experiences they forward toschool, the associations amid learning and instructing become morecomplex (Hansen, 1996). Instead of appearing as a natural outcome ofinstructing, learning is viewed inherently. Instructors may come upwith chances for learners to learn, though instructors cannotmanipulate students’ interpretations. Teachers become moreaccountable for detecting learners’ understanding and assistingthem change and improve. The change in education theories evaluatesthe implications for teachers’ duties (Hansen, 1996).

Learning is a social phenomenon

Education theorists haveprogressively become aware of the social learning aspects. Thecollections of theories that tackle the social learning aspectscomprise activity theory, social constructivism and socio-culturaltheory (Hansen, 1996). A majority of theorists acknowledged with thetheories trace their concepts to Vygotsky. Vygotsky theorized theimpact of the social globe on personal growth (Hansen, 1996). Despitethe theories being different, they share similar convictions andconcerns. One is the idea that knowledge cannot be separated frompractice. This implies that we need to view individuals as they aredoing something consequential to learn (Hansen, 1996). Second, is theconviction of sociocultural theory, which states that learning is asocial event, happening within societies we live. It results in thenotion that knowledge and learning subsist in the associations amidpersons and the contexts they stay, in the actions, they take part(Hansen, 1996).

A third aspect of the theoriesis that groups, not persons, validate the standards of evaluatingperformance quality and individual performance is evaluated viaactual participation (Hansen, 1996). Last, the theories emphasizethat students learn in specific conditions and contexts. Realizingthe significant function played by contexts in molding what and whenlearning occurs, learning scientists have started to comprehend whatit takes to assist learners convey their learning to new conditions(Hansen, 1996). Theories on shared knowhow and the impacts of thesociety on personal learning have become progressively relevant inschooling. The concentration in sociocultural and activity premisehas directed some instructors to suggest a wide range oforganizational systems in American learning institutions. Theseinclude cooperative groups, discussions in class and learnerperformances (Hansen, 1996). As a result, instructors are questionedto concentrate not merely on specific students, rather on theadvancement of societies of learners.

Student disparities are resources not impediments

Another relevant change hasbeen in the value put on personal and collective disparities. One ofthe self-apparent education truths is that students aremulticultural. This means they have diverse experiences,capabilities, comprehensions and backgrounds (Ogbu, 1992). As Americahas advanced towards its objectives of availing high-quality generaleducation to all civilians, the disparities have enhanced.Cross-cultural study on instruction backs the concept that personaldisparities can be resources (Ogbu, 1992). Contrary to the deficitmodel frequently in America, Japanese instructors see personaldisparities as a natural and important trait. They suppose that thediversity results in several ideas and problem-solving techniques forlearners’ dialogue and expression (Fernandez, 2003). Drawing on theexperience, Japanese instructors can foretell the possible reactionsof learners to a topic. They employ the knowhow of student’sthinking in planning lessons (Fernandez, 2003). For teachers toconsider their students as resources, they need to be aware of theircultures and homes. By comprehending the cultural disparities,teachers use learners’ experiences in class in making more explicitand important links to learners’ societies. There are numerouseducational theories for teachers to reflect on. Common among thetheories are the themes that learners are active creators of theirindividual knowhow, that learning is personal and social, learnersare resources that require tapping, and not impediments to triumphover (Fernandez, 2003).

Implications for Improving Teaching Practice

The association amid learningand instructing is intricate. In addition, studies on learning havefrequently been carried out independent of those on teaching. Thisresults in a breach in comprehension amid the two societies ofresearchers that work on learning and those that work on instruction(Feiman, 2001). The reason why the association remains complex isthat learning cannot be forced. Instructors cannot ascertain that aspecific learner will learn. An instructor might heroically attemptto instruct, but if the student learns anything, it depends onnumerous aspects controllable and uncontrollable by the teacher(Feiman, 2001). The aspects include the student’s level ofmotivation, if the teacher employed the suitable instructionalapproach, level of learner’s interest, learning environment,student support and peer pressure among others (Feiman, 2001). Thus,implications are suggested for teachers on improving teachingpractice.

Instruction is Intellectual Work

The most important implicationof learning and knowledge concepts is that they refer to thoughtfulinstructors as intellectuals who contemplate about the theme andlearners, forming bridges amid both (Feiman, 2001). Syllabuses arenot teacher proof because the teachers unavoidably outline thematerials they employ founded on their individual knowhow, convictionand presumptions. However, extensive certainty prevails thatinstructing is an uncomplicated endeavor. Employing course books,teachers follow every page, guiding learners on what to study and do.The logic is that if the materials are interesting and the studentsare attentive, then learning takes place. The logic is incorrect(Feiman, 2001). Teachers and students mediate resources, which arelocated within relevant frameworks. Excellent teachers ought tocontemplate on what they desire their students to study, in theprocess answering many questions (Feiman, 2001).

Questions include thefascination of the subject to learners, concepts that arespecifically hard and reasons why they are hard, different methodsinstructors can employ to assist learners tackle the concepts, whatlearners are aware of that might influence their learning and how toemploy the diverse backgrounds to improve the syllabus (Feiman,2001). Responding to these questions involves theories and knowhow onstudents and learning. Since the situation is of significance,instructors have to reflect on the time of year, learninginstitution, classroom and society, which is the social learningbackground. After settling on what to instruct, teachers should findmanners to insist on, ideas and facts, as well as inquiry styles, thenature of knowhow learners need to obtain (Feiman, 2001). Whenteachers reflect on what learners will find fascinating or hard, theyrequire manners of accessing learners’ minds. They should formsocieties within their learners, students as active constructors ofknowhow. Hence, a lot of instructors’ judgment is directed by theconcepts on students and learning (Feiman, 2001). Currently, theinsistence on teacher philosophy and decision-making has resulted ina pool of alteration in the manner we perceive, scrutinize and accessinstructors and their teaching. Study on teaching involvesquestioning teachers on their actions and lessons learnt from theirexperiences (Feiman, 2001).

Administrators have moved awayfrom filling out checklists about the conduct of teachers. As analternative, instructors and their workmates are supposed to explaintheir methods of teaching, responding to questions regarding theirreasons, thinking, and judgments (Feiman, 2001). Questions mayinclude reasons for teaching a particular lesson what theanticipated accomplishment is and what would change given anotheropportunity to teach the same lesson. Advent performance-basedevaluations, for instance the teacher portfolios gathered via INTASC,and the procedure needed by the NationalBoard for Professional Teaching,presume that to comprehend teaching, we ought to scrutinize both ideaand deed, scrutinizing what instructors do and requiring them todefend their alternatives (Feiman, 2001). Such evaluations now entailinterviews, in addition to more regular conventional tests andinspections. The insistence on the intellectual factors of teachingis not aimed at overriding the basic moral teaching facets. Instead,it is aimed at holding teachers more responsible for their deeds,like any other professional. This ensures that all learners aretreated fairly and get relative high-quality teaching. Therealization that instruction entails both intellectual and moralfactors alone enhances its intricacy (Feiman, 2001).

Teachers have many functions

A widespread error made duringthis period of reform in teaching is to suppose an isomorphicassociation amid teaching approaches and learning modes. Severalmajor constructivists have suggested that instructors should nevertell learners anything. All knowhow should be assembled independentof the instructor’s watchful eye (Cohen &amp Ball, 2000). However,a teacher may suppose that learners are active constructors of theirindividual knowledge, yet still select from a wide range ofinstructional approaches differing from drill and practice torecital. In coming up with the educational opportunities forlearners, instructors employ manipulative and past artifacts theyform scientific inquests and mathematical problems (Cohen &amp Ball,2000).

Since instructors take ondiverse functions in the exceptional instructional arrangements, alot of teaching research investigates the application of substitutemetaphors to capture the real meaning of instructing. This means thatin place of the teachers’ perception as narrators, they areregarded as coaches, leaders and collaborators (Cohen &amp Ball,2000). However, a single metaphor cannot be effective as there areinstances when teachers must question, employing the classrooms aslaboratories for individual learning, and that of learners. Yet,since coaches frequently use a wide array of instructionalapproaches, there is a need for further evaluation of the concept ofthe teacher as a team coach. The concept of teacher as coach dependson the premise that coaches back players as they learn to displaymastery and brilliance as self-governing artisans (Cohen &amp Ball,2000). The function of the teacher as a coach involves assistingplayers build up foundational knowhow and skill, avail chances forpractice, ease classroom discussion, and monitor the system andtiming of a player’s learning. In actuality, the instructor ascoach has been a principal metaphor in many essential learninginstitutions. At times regarded as natural learning, the educationincluded in team play is frequently very hard from conventionalschool teaching (Cohen &amp Ball, 2000).

Natural learning sites moldthe semantic, as well as situational restraints of reasoning infundamental manners. Identifying and solving challenges, progressingfrom the recognized to the unidentified, and forming meaning viareasoning analogically mark daily reasoning in circumstances, whichincorporate persons into team effort and rely on directed learning inmixed-age settings (Cohen &amp Ball, 2000). This is the type oflearning, which most reformers and educators support. It is notpossible for learners to learn a sport by merely listening to thecoach dictate how to play. Similarly, they are incapable of learningsubjects like science, history among other courses, by merelylistening to someone talk about the subjects (Cohen &amp Ball,2000). Teachers need to put together proof, comprehend the importantleaps in making inferences, determining when to depend on thetheories of human behavior. Such experiences assist learners indeveloping a critical eye, allowing them to be consumers and appliersof knowledge. Part of the procedure entails testing concepts publiclywith peers. To test concepts, learners such as mathematicians orhistorians require learning how to present and talk about their viewswith others in intellectually productive manners (Cohen &amp Ball,2000).

To permit the publicexperimentation of concepts, teachers have to come up with events forclassroom dialogue and become rudder (Cohen &amp Ball, 2000).Coaches frequently have their players contemplate on a hypotheticalincident, making clear several probable reactions. For instance, aswimming coach may ask his team, what might happen if one of thembegins to sink. The team thinks through several reactions andaftermaths. Similarly, an instructor may direct a discussion wherestudents contemplate on substitute interpretations of a specificpiece of literary of past text (Cohen &amp Ball, 2000). Thediscussion is an illustration of how teachers may make evident tostudents, not just what they are expected to know, rather, how one isable to tell a historian or literary scholar. In addition toassisting learners study via doing and structuring classroomdiscussion, coaches should do more (Cohen &amp Ball, 2000). A coachshould be aware of every player’s personal talents and create teamapproaches, which maximize the talents. Important to the task isassisting all players accept the significance of personaldisparities. A team cannot suppose to have all members with similarlevels of capability in the similar complex talents. In the similarmanner, instructors that suppose that knowledge is created and thatstudent groups and instructors are capable of learning more in unisonthan separately, ought to find manners of creating a society oflearners (Cohen &amp Ball, 2000). The society takes completeadvantage of the extent of knowhow and experience diverse membersbring to the group.

Concerning this outlook ofschooling and learning, the perfect classroom seizes to become onewhere learners are always listening to the instructor or workingquietly. Learning still entails lecturing drilling and practice forsome fundamental knowhow should be repeated to ensure it informsunderstanding and debate (Hansen, 1996). Nevertheless, students alsowork in substitute arrangements, like groups, communicating with eachother, publicizing their personal knowhow and viewpoints, creatingand testing their knowhow with peers and instructors. To assist them,instructors would have to comprehend when and how to employ diversepedagogical strategies (Hansen, 1996). To suggest for a moreassorted, diverse array of teaching techniques does not imply thatany trial teaching method will be effective. Instead, modern learningand teaching theorists suggest rather the opposite. Teachers shouldsystematically contemplate their learning objectives and theirlearners, the theme they want learners to be taught, and choosepedagogical approaches, which will facilitate student learning(Hansen, 1996). The approaches must be chosen considerately. They arediverse in their strategies, and refined over time via reflection.

Effective instructors tactically share work with learners

Educationists havedemonstrated interest in the manner students learn from themselvesand from instructors. Various teaching and learning models supposethat teaching is shared work amid learners and instructors. However,teachers progress to bear the responsibility of ensuring thatstudents learn (Kagan, 1993). Supportive learning, group learning andmutual teaching are a few illustrations of the numerous mannersclassroom work can be disbursed. Supportive learning refers to aneducational chance where students learn from each other. With itsbasis in social interdependence theories, supportive learning hasbeen triumphant when properly applied. The two features of supportivelearning are positive interdependence and personal responsibility(Kagan, 1993). Group learning is closely linked to cooperativelearning. It refers to the procedure of aligning and advancing thecapability of groups to construct the outcomes desired by members.Mutual teaching, a different type of teaching as shared work, is amethod employed to expand understanding of text where instructor andlearner take turns leading a discussion about text chapters (Kagan,1993). Learners are taught to employ four approaches while leadingthe discussion. These are prediction, questioning, shortening andexpounding confusing or difficult parts of the text.

Devised to enhance children’sreading understanding, alterations of reciprocated teaching have beenapplied to instruct students that do not understand fast,second-language learners and nonreaders (Kagan, 1993). In addition,are adaptations, which include different pedagogy like jigsaw (Kagan,1993). Reciprocated or mutual teaching borrows from sociocultural andactivity learning theories, which insist on the decisive function ofauthentic involvement in evocative, purposeful actions. It isnecessary to note that proposing a re-conceptualization ofinstruction as involving more listening to learners, sharing work andasking for clarification does not imply that teachers stop takingcharge of the class (Kagan, 1993). Several overzealous reformersconvince teachers to alter their practice completely, suggesting thatlecturing and direct teaching are bad. However, the effectiveness ofquestioning student’s perception versus direct teaching is anempirical issue yet to be thoroughly studied (Kagan, 1993). Many goodteachers understand that they should apply a variety of very diverseinstructional approaches relying on whom and what they are attemptingto instruct, contemplating on where and when. The paper evaluatesreformist notions, which suggest involving more inquiry concerninglearners’ perception into instructors’ practices, in addition tointentionally deciding when instruction should be shared amidteachers and students (Kagan, 1993). The suggestion is one ofaltering emphasis, not complete refutation or support of a singleideology. Teachers are naturally and necessarily different thus, asingle ideology cannot work for all teachers.

Teachers concentrate on challenging content

Apparent all throughmodern-day teaching outlooks is a presumption that instructors willbe teaching challenging material. Global comparisons, involving thework of TIMSS researchers, argue that learners in Americacharacteristically receive a diet of thin content (Fernandez, 2003).Based on surveys and video-recorded evaluations, the researchersrealized that American students are exposed to a thin and uneven setof courses (Fernandez, 2003). This means that the content is lessdeveloped and presented in a rather piecemeal and dogmatic manner.Through snapshot images contrasting US mathematic lessons toGermany’s and Japan’s, the researchers noted the differentiatingtrait of American lessons to learning phrases and practicingprocesses (Fernandez, 2003). The instructor guides German lessons,and concentrate on increasing advanced processes. Japanese lessonsinsisted on structural problem solving, whereby Japanese instructorsmediated the association amid learners and the content (Fernandez,2003).

Additional in-depthevaluations of the snapshots assessed three content indicators. Theseare the extent of difficulty, how comprehensively content wasadvanced and consistency. In the extent of difficulty, Americanlearners in eighth grade studied lessons, which students from Germanyand Japan had studied a year before (Fernandez, 2003). Concerningcontent, while American tutorials did not surpass the fundamentaldefinitions and processes, tutorials from the other nations employedthe fundamentals in exploring the in-depth properties andassociations in mathematics (Stevenson &amp Stigler, 1991).Referring to the extent to which content was explained researchdemonstrates that American application of concepts in lessonsinvolved simply mentioning. Contrary, in Germany and Japan, conceptswere explained and discussed (Stevenson &amp Stigler, 1991). Last,concerning lesson consistency, research demonstrates that most of theinstructors from the three nations made open connections amid onetutorial and another. However, only Japanese instructors link thesections of a lesson (Stevenson &amp Stigler, 1991).

America has a long way to go,to be able to meet high state and global content standards. However,a significant issue that is normally lost in the times heatedarguments over high standards versus the fundamentals, arises fromthe challenging nature of basics (Stevenson &amp Stigler, 1991). Forinstance, learning odd and even figures is viewed as anon-contentious section of the elementary school syllabus. Instandards listings, it may be documented as learners will be capableof differentiating odd and even figures (Stevenson &amp Stigler,1991). Although majorities of students feel rather confident in thecapability to categorize an odd or even number, there is more to thecategorization than somewhat basic statement. As children learn evenfigures, they may question or suggest solutions to challengesentailing any of the descriptions of even numbers. Children shouldhave the chance to comprehend the mathematical operations, as well asnotions they face in manners surpassing the simple recital ofguidelines, processes or algorithms (Stevenson &amp Stigler, 1991).Hence, instructors need to comprehend why definitions are importantin enhancing understanding. It is possible for instructors to getalong with thin content knowhow provided they insist on facts,processes and single correct answers. However, when instructorsprogress toward inquiry and aim to focus on student’s knowhow, theyrequire deeper content knowledge despite of if they are instructinghigh-level problem solving or basics (Stevenson &amp Stigler, 1991).

In conclusion, there is nosole correct manner of teaching properly. This does not imply thatany teaching approach will be effective, for there are constantfactors about teaching. Every instructor must have a range ofinstructional approaches, which range from techniques of directteaching to supportive, group work and one-on-one teaching (Stevenson&amp Stigler, 1991). No sole strategy will be effective for aspecific teacher for all learners in every lesson daily. Whicheverapproach is selected, teachers require strong content knowhow inmaking difficult content comprehendible, in addition to permittingthe advancement of ideas (Stevenson &amp Stigler, 1991). Teachersshould weigh their alternatives considerately, making verdictsregarding what techniques and content perfectly meet their objectivesand the wants of their learners for a specific unit of tutoring(Stevenson &amp Stigler, 1991).

Teaching as inquiry

Teaching calls for moreinquiry if students are to act as resources and instructors toimprove their professional knowhow consistently. It is not possibleto expect that teachers are aware of everything concerning theirstudents. In numerous manners, teachers should act as scientists,exploring learners’ perception, devising manners to learn about howspecific learners are actively constructing their comprehension(Kagan, 1993). Teachers should look into student’s comprehension,at times even investigating them concerning their thinking andreason. Rather than acting as knowledge founts, teachers also need toact as inquirers, questioning and assessing hypotheses concerningwhat their learners are aware and unaware (Kagan, 1993).Additionally, is the need for teachers to familiarize with theirsubject matter. Teachers have a unique type of subject matterknowhow, referred to educational content knowledge, which allows themto comprehend how to relay information to their learners. Educationalcontent knowledge develops after practice (Kagan, 1993).

Although it is possible tolearn some issues concerning great instructional depictions withoutinstructing, a majority of teachers acquire this type of professionalknowhow via teaching. Such learning progresses over a lifetime(Kagan, 1993). This means that, though experienced instructors mayhave a wealth of build up knowhow from years of teaching thirdgraders, there is still a lot instructors need to learn concerningthe particular third grader they come across every year. In additionare the new things concerning the subject matter they teach, thepedagogies present to them, and the most influential manners toassist learners associate with the content hence, the relevance ofinquiry (Kagan, 1993).

It is possible to argue thatinstructors have always learned from practicing. The statement istrue and false. Teachers have always asked learners questions like,who wants to do the calculation on the board? Who was unable to solvethe equation? Who is the main character in a literary text? Rarelyhave teachers asked for students public rationales (Byrnes &ampTorney-Purta, 1995). With many students to handle and minimalteaching time, teachers seldom raise questions like, why have yougiven that answer? What is the explanation for solving the equationin that manner? Is there an alternative to solving a problem? Whatis the class view on the answer? Keen on merely providing responsesto questions, learners and instructors are used to short and directquestions and feedback. In the similar way, instructors usuallyprocess student work fast skimming responses, confirming if theanswers are correct and writing comments using red ink pens. The sameinstructors rarely share a learner’s work with their workmates,seeking another teacher’s perception to determine the rationalebehind a student’s story analysis, for instance (Byrnes &ampTorney-Purta, 1995).

Conventional manners ofevaluation frequently in form of standardized examinations havecompounded the challenge of learning from one’s learners. Insteadof giving learners reason, the tests presume one correct responsetesting the child’s perception against the standard (Byrnes &ampTorney-Purta, 1995). Modern research in assessment changes theinsistence and concentration away from correct and incorrectresponses to the compilation of information, which will assistinstructors become aware of the students’ viewpoints. Conventionalschool arrangements worsen the situation. Learning institutions havenot been arranged to back instructors’ learning through theirpractice and colleagues (Byrnes &amp Torney-Purta, 1995). The 1980sreformers argued that support for teachers’ learning, theinstitutions would require to be redesigned to ensure they wereproperly arranged and fitted to back teacher and student eruditionthus, the need for professional expansion of institutions (Byrnes &ampTorney-Purta, 1995).

Knowing how to inquire isunsettling and requires a lot of time. This refers to inquiring inclass where students are present, or during individual reflection andfrom class with colleagues (Byrnes &amp Torney-Purta, 1995). It alsomandates the development of advent knowledge and ability. Knowing howto pay attention is an ability to develop, and is not inherited. Itcalls for sensitivity to all types of questions, the capability todecipher a learner’s response, and application of alternative typesof evaluation. Such inquiry could also necessitate that teachersfamiliarize with pedagogy of investigation. These include askingsuitable and researchable questions regarding their instruction andstudents’ erudition, tactically documenting practice via records,which can be re-examined, inviting criticism and argument concerningone’s instruction, and taking part in societies of practicinginstructors (Byrnes &amp Torney-Purta, 1995).

The position, teaching asinquiry, will call for considerable alterations in the culture ofAmerican learning institutions. Current illustrations of applicationsin Japanese and Chinese learning institutions provide America withimages of the probability of such changes (Stevenson &amp Stigler,1991). Research demonstrates that Japanese and Shanghai instructorstake part in study groups, as well as syllabus-planning groupsintended at enhancing teaching interactively with time (Stevenson &ampStigler, 1991). For example, in Shanghai instructors often carry outand write up study they have carried out in their classes.Instructors in Japan take part in lesson study, supportive groupswhere instructors plan, educate, question and review their tutorials.Lesson-study groups are emerging all over American public learninginstitutions setting as a certified progress activity (Stevenson &ampStigler, 1991). A number of American universities and differentorganizations are researching the approach of teaching as inquiry, toimprove teaching and availing information regarding it.

Different types of teacherinquiry are as well becoming widespread. Researchers note that anerudition constructed by instructors for themselves is powerful andhas potential. Also referred to as action study, teacher study,self-research and a teaching scholarship, the strategies are areflection of expanding interest in allowing practitioners to carryout and report about inquiries concerning their personal and workmates’ practices (Byrnes &amp Torney-Purta, 1995). The interestdoes not merely concern K-12 education, rather has become a famousissue in higher schooling as well. Professionals and the AmericanAssociation for Higher Educationhave called for a teaching research (Byrnes &amp Torney-Purta,1995).

Expected Results due to Improving Teaching Practice

By improving teachingpractice, it is expected that teachers will become aware of what, whyand how learners gain knowledge. In the context of what studentsought to learn, it is no longer effective that learners silentlymaster just the facts and guidelines of a discipline (Kagan, 1993).Modern educational restructuring demand learners have a more flexiblecomprehension of language arts, mathematics among other subjects.They should be aware of the basics, as well as how to apply thebasics in identifying and solving nontraditional challenges (Kagan,1993). Defined as critical thinking, teaching for comprehendingmathematical power, the theory supposes that to become aware of afield, one ought to master the central ideas, notions and facts andthe procedures of inquiry and argument (Kagan, 1993). This meansthat, if students are to leave learning institutions skilled with theknowledge required to take part as civilians and thinkers, theyshould know many things. These include learning about the concepts,hypothesis, facts and processes of a discipline. They should beconfident with the linguistic structures of a field, advancing theskill and knowhow linked with inquiry in a specific field (Kagan,1993).

Hence, students requirewidespread experience with the manners in which concepts are arguedand established in disciplinary fields. Additionally, they needin-depth and thorough comprehension of the facts and thoughts inevery field (Feiman, 2001). Students should conduct statisticalevaluations of the problems they detect on their own, which ensuresthey become better consumers of statistics employed on a daily basisby the press (Feiman, 2001). Learners should read primary sources andadvance their individual historical interpretations ensuring they arebetter placed to analyze the sources they read. To gain capability inan area of inquiry, learners should have a deep basis of factualknowhow, comprehend facts and ideas in the framework of an abstractconstruction, and arrange knowledge in manners that ease retrievaland use (Feiman, 2001). To gain capability, learners should also havechances to learn with comprehension. Deep comprehension of subjectmatter alters information to applicable knowledge. An apparentdisparity amid experts and novices is that experts’ command ofconcepts molds their comprehension of advent information. It enablesthem to view patterns, associations or inconsistencies invisible tonovices.


The teaching practice isguided by theories. All experienced teachers work according toeducational theories. The theories involve what will be effectivetowards the learners. Some of the models are clear and acquired fromlearning institutions. Others are implicit and are the outcome ofyears of experience working in schools as instructors, parents orstudents. Educational theories have massive capability for assistinginstructors in explaining why they instruct in the manners they do.They also disrupt teaching patterns and prompt teachers to reconsidertheir practice. Many individuals believe that teachers are born andnot made. However, teachers whether born or made, good instructingmandates teachers to construct and employ, increase and refute, buildand rebuild learning and teaching theories. The theories are notinstinct of general knowledge, but warily created lessons acquiredfrom years of experience and careful inquest. Teachers have moreauthority over their pedagogical alternatives when they make theirpremises clear and test them through classroom experience, workmatecritiques and knowhow of present study. The implications are intendedat questioning issues like how teachers suppose children learnEnglish. When reading material seems difficult to simple, to whatextreme is the challenge located in fundamental presumptionsconcerning how teaching should be and what students should learn.Teachers should also be able to question the theoretical underpinningapparent in a new syllabus. It is merely through questioning personaltacit presumptions concerning the responses to questions like theseand via the theories created by advent generation of educationaltheories it becomes probable for teachers to advance towardsbecoming skillful practitioners.


Byrnes, P &amp Torney-Purta,J. (1995). Theories and Decision Making as Part of Higher Order Thinking in Social Studies. Theoryand Research in Social Education,23(3), 260-77.

Cohen, K &amp Ball, L. D.(2000). DevelopingPractice, Developing Practitioners: Toward a Practice-Based Theoryof Professional Education.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Feiman, N. S. (2001). Frompreparation to practice: Designing a Continuum to Strengthen and Sustain Teaching. TeachersCollege Record,103, 1013-55.

Fernandez, C. (2003). Learningfrom Japanese Approaches to Professional Development: The Case ofLesson Study. Journalof Teacher Education,53(5), 393-405.

Hansen, T. D. (1996). Teachingand the Moral Life of Classrooms. Journalfor a Just and Caring Education,2(1), 59-74.

Kagan, S. (1993). TheStructural Approach to Cooperative Learning.Washington: Delta Systems and Center for Applied Linguistics.

Ogbu, G. J. (1992).Understanding Cultural Diversity and Learning. EducationalResearcher 21(8),5-14.

Stevenson, W. H &amp Stigler,W. J. (1991). How Asian Teachers Polish Each Lesson to Perfection. American Educator,12(20), 43-47.


Table: Benchmarks forTeaching and Learning

Benchmarks for:

Moving from:

Moving toward:


Easy, undemanding work

Instructors in information-deliverer function

Teachers do a lot of the work

Tutorials comprise low-level content, ideas mentioned tutorials not consistently arranged

Teachers as knowledge founts

Multifaceted, intellectual work

Diverse teacher functions, from information delivery to architect of educative experiences

Instructors organize classrooms for personal and reciprocal work

Tutorial concentrate on high-level and basic content, concepts advanced and explained, lessons properly arranged

Teachers are knowledgeable and enhance their practice consistently


Passive information absorption

Personal activity

Individual disparities amid learners viewed as challenges

Active engagement

Personal and collective activity

Individual disparities amid learners viewed as resources

Tools for ImprovingInstruction

LessonStudy Resources

  • The Lesson Study Group at Mills College (

  • The Lesson Study Research Group at Teachers College, Columbia University (

  • Research for Better Schools (

Standard-based InstructionResources

  • Mathematics National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (

  • Science American Association for the Advancement of Science/Project 2061 (

  • National Science Resources Center, a partnership of the National Academies and the Smithsonian Institution (