Lesson Planning

Lesson planning provides instructors with a road map to recognize and meet the needs of their learners. There are many components to consider in lesson planning and in this post I explore five areas, with a reference to the resource that will help me plan my lessons more effectively.

Blooms Taxonomy

I chose this resource as it gives a concise and clear explanation of Blooms Taxonomy, with examples of use in different educational settings. As I consider learning objectives and create a lesson plan, Blooms Taxonomy will help me to understand and plan activities that target the levels of learning and as way to evaluate understanding. For example, in planning a job search workshop, do I simply need the learner to remember typical interview questions, or should they reach a point where they are confident in anticipating interview situations, can prepare accordingly and can evaluate their performance? The lessons I deliver should include activities that enable learners to move through the levels from knowledge to evaluation, in order to meet the desired goals.

Campbell, B. (2010). Blooms Taxonomy in learning environments. Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://eet.sdsu.edu/eetwiki/index.php/Blooms_Taxonomy_in_learning_environments

Characteristics of adult learners

Every group of learners is diverse. As a facilitator in a job search program, you will encounter many new immigrants, with different backgrounds and where English is a second language. These learners have much to offer, but might not engage fully in an active classroom, due to cultural differences or fear of speaking. How can this be addressed? The article I found talks about introvert learners and how to involve them in active learning. The suggested strategies for introverts can also be applied ESL learners. I plan to use an activity such working in pairs to help stretch the learners beyond their comfort zones. This is especially important in preparing for work, where soft skills such as interpersonal communication and teamwork are very important to employers.

Monahan, N. (2013, October 28). Keeping introverts in mind in your active learning classroom. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/keeping-introverts-in-mind-in-your-active-learning-classroom/

Assessment

Building informal assessments into your lessons allows you to check for understanding and provides information about the effectiveness of your teaching methods. There are many different strategies, or CATS (classroom assessment techniques) that can be incorporated. They are quick and easy to use and provide different types of information. I found a resource that gives an excellent overview of CATS, including a chart of CAT exercises, indicating the type of evaluation for which each assessment is intended, what each is called, how each is conducted, what to do with the information you collect and an approximation of the relative amount of time each requires. This is an excellent starting point for me to think about which type of CAT exercise (e.g. suggestion box, quizzes) would best fit my learning environment.

Haugen, L. (1999). Classroom assessment techniques. In Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Iowa State University. Retrieved from http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/cat.html

Motivational techniques

In developing a lesson plan you need to consider what motivates your learners.  The ARCS motivation model gives an overview of four factors that explain motivation; attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction. I wanted to know more about making my learning relevant and I found an article that made me think about ways to achieve this. It describes how to establish relevance through experiential learning, where a skill is developed through simulating real-life.  One way I can apply this in my lessons is to include a simulation, such as interview role-play. In a job search course, learners are looking for skills they can apply to the real world immediately. My goal would be to make sure they are learning what is useful to their circumstances.

Robertson, K. (2013, October 21). Motivating students with teaching techniques that establish relevance, promote autonomy. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/motivating-students-with-teaching-techniques-that-establish-relevance-promote-autonomy/#sthash.Hplo7bn9.dpuf

Creating a positive learning environment

When starting a job search course, participants will likely be going through some stress and anxiety about the need to find a job. It is important that I establish a positive environment right from the start, which puts them at ease and minimises the anxiety. At TrainerHub.com I found a series of articles that look at ways to create a positive learning environment in the physical, intellectual and emotional areas. All these are important to consider, such as thinking about how I should arrange the seating in the room, to how I can be supportive, to how I can build trust and a sense of partnership. As an instructor, one of my most important roles will be to create the right conditions, so that my learners can get the most from their experience.

Boudreau, D. (2012, April 16). Creating the ideal learning environment. In TrainerHub. Retrieved from http://trainerhub.com/creating-the-ideal-learning-environment-emotional/

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