18 Feb YOUR thought-provoking and discussion worthy summaries, questions, riveting points from chapter reading to the Discussion Board A
YOUR thought-provoking and discussion worthy summaries, questions, riveting points from chapter reading to the Discussion Board AND YOUR RESPONSES TO AT LEAST TWO OF YOUR CLASSMATES’ POSTS no later than SUNDAY BY MIDNIGHT AT THE END OF THE WEEK.
In 1956, Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. Bloom found that over 95 % of the test questions students encounter require them to think only at the lowest possible level…the recall of information.
Bloom identified six levels within the cognitive domain, from the simple recall or recognition of facts, as the lowest level, through increasingly more complex and abstract mental levels, to the highest order which is classified as evaluation. Verb examples that represent intellectual activity on each level are listed here.
1. Knowledge: arrange, define, duplicate, label, list, memorize, name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce state.
2. Comprehension: classify, describe, discuss, explain, express, identify, indicate, locate, recognize, report, restate, review, select, translate,
3. Application: apply, choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, practice, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.
4. Analysis: analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.
5. Synthesis: arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, manage, organize, plan, prepare, propose, set up, write.
6. Evaluation: appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose compare, defend estimate, judge, predict, rate, core, select, support, value, evaluate.
BLOOM’S TAXONOMY: Sample Questions As teachers we tend to ask questions in the “knowledge” catagory 80% to 90% of the time. These
questions are not bad, but using them all the time is. Try to utilize higher order level of questions. These questions require much more “brain power” and a more extensive and elaborate answer. Below are the six
question categories as defined by Bloom.
• KNOWLEDGE o remembering; o memorizing; o recognizing; o recalling identification and o recall of information
Who, what, when, where, how …? Describe
• COMPREHENSION o interpreting; o translating from one medium to another; o describing in one’s own words; o organization and selection of facts and ideas
Retell… • APPLICATION
o problem solving; o applying information to produce some result; o use of facts, rules and principles
How is…an example of…? How is…related to…? Why is…significant?
• ANALYSIS o subdividing something to show how it is put together; o finding the underlying structure of a communication; o identifying motives; o separation of a whole into component parts
What are the parts or features of…? Classify…according to… Outline/diagram… How does…compare/contrast with…? What evidence can you list for…?
• SYNTHESIS o creating a unique, original product that may be in verbal form or a physical object; o combination of ideas to form a new whole
What would you predict/infer from…? What ideas can you add to…? How would you create/design a new…? What might happen if you combined…? What solutions would you suggest for…?
• EVALUATION o making value decisions about issues; o resolving controversies or differences of opinion; o development of opinions, judgements or decisions
Do you agree…? What do you think about…? What is the most important…? Place the following in order of priority… How would you decide about…? What criteria would you use to assess…?
For further Web-based information on Bloom’s taxonomy:
Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy
Table1. Bloom’s Taxonomy The Cognitive Process Dimension
The Knowledge Dimension Remember Understand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create
Factual Knowledge List Summarize Classify Order Rank Combine Conceptual Knowledge Describe Interpret Experiment Explain Assess Plan Procedural Knowledge Tabulate Predict Calculate Differentiate Conclude Compose Meta-Cognitive Knowledge Appropriate Use Execute Construct Achieve Action Actualize
Lesson Planning: A Practice of Professional
Responsibility and Development
by Jianping Shen, Sue Poppink,
Yunhuo Cui, and Guorui Fan
The Importance of Lesson Planning Much has been made of professional development for teachers,
especially in the current era of educational reform, largely because it can facilitate teacher learning (Ball 1996; Little 1993). Teachers in the United States, it is often argued, need to learn more to teach effectively. They need what many refer to as pedagogical content knowledge: not only knowledge of the content, subject matter, or discipline, but also how stu- dents learn and make sense of various subject matters as well as peda- gogical alternatives that enable student learning in particular subjects (Grossman 1990; Shulman 1987; Wilson, Shulman, and Richart 1987; Shulman 1986).
Some observers have argued that a collegial professional commu- nity can enable teachers to develop this knowledge within the context of their teaching practice. In such a set of conditions, teachers can reflect upon, explore, and improve their practice (Grossman, Wineburg, and Woolworth 2001; Little 1987; Putnam and Borko 2000; Wang and Paine 2003). Researchers have identified multiple tasks that teachers can undertake in these professional communities: in particular, examining student work, examining others’ teaching with videos, and studying mul- tiple subject matters as a group.
One often-overlooked source of professional growth is the develop- ment of lesson plans, which are used in China as tools both for personal reflection and development as well as for collegial reflection. Heaton (2000) has advocated thorough preparation to accommodate students with various levels of prior knowledge of the subject matter and different
questions concerning that knowledge. But few have written about the lesson-planning process itself. In the United States, planning and prepa- ration are considered important, but lesson plans themselves seldom consist of more than a list of activities. Developing lesson plans is not often considered a professional-development experience for individuals, nor is it set in the context of a professional-learning community or a given school.
In China, however, organizational structures for both individual teachers and a school’s professional community embed lesson prepara- tion in two activities: preparing a lesson plan and refining the plan through “open lessons.” In an earlier article (Shen, Zhen, and Poppink 2007), we explained open lessons and how they help teachers to devel- op their teaching skills. In this article, we explore not only how Chinese teachers develop lesson plans but also how the organizational structure of Chinese teaching enables them to use lesson plans as a professional- development activity.
Lesson planning allows teachers to explore multiple aspects of ped- agogical content knowledge. In developing lesson plans, teachers have opportunities to think deeply about the subject matter, including the way the subject matter is represented in particular textbooks or in such aspects of the curriculum as standards and benchmarks. They also have time to develop pedagogical activities or methods that enable students to grasp the subject matter. Finally, lesson planners can ponder what stu- dents know and how they may best understand the content.
American and Chinese Teachers’ Context of Professional Work
To summarize the differences in the organization of teaching between Chinese and American teachers, Su, Qin, and Huang (2005) defined a set of activities each group undertakes during the day. They found that while the Chinese environment emphasizes improving teaching practice with time to reflect and improve, American teachers are required to lead their classes six or seven hours a day, with little time to reflect or to conduct other activities that could improve their practice. Chinese culture, they point out, emphasizes collectivism, while American culture favors individualism, as Cohen and Spillane (1993) also asserted in discussing American school governance and its role in instruction.
In a case study, Su, Qin, and Huang (2005) found that American teach- ers’ classroom schedules leave very little time in school to undertake activities, including lesson planning, that could improve their teaching practice. American teachers have about thirty minutes for lesson plan- ning, with almost no time for correcting student class work in school or
educational HORIZONS Summer 2007
giving homework feedback to the class as a whole or to individual stu- dents; a short, isolated lunch break; and few social or recreational activi- ties with other teachers, in-school professional-development activities, or opportunities to study with colleagues.
Chinese teachers, by contrast, teach only one or two hours a day, in one core subject area. Conversely, they spend considerable time on les- son planning: two hours a week of formal collaboration with colleagues on one core subject, and informally another two hours a day with col- leagues on that subject. It also means they have one or two hours a day to correct student homework and class work; thirty minutes for home- work feedback and work with individual students; forty minutes of lunchtime with colleagues and forty to sixty minutes of rest time; thirty minutes of recreational time with other teachers; professional-develop- ment activities every Friday afternoon; and ninety minutes a week study- ing with colleagues.
Lesson Planning by Chinese Teachers Such differences mean that Chinese teachers consider preparing for
each lesson a very important responsibility. An elementary teacher has at least two periods a day to prepare, and secondary teachers usually have even more time available. It is widely held that planning is a pri- mary factor in the quality of the lesson.
Textbooks, students, and teaching methods are the three focuses of lesson planning. A teacher is expected to study the textbook thoroughly to understand the lesson content and its place in the larger context of the subject matter. Understanding students’ knowledge of textbook contents is also expected. The teacher selects the most appropriate and engaging teaching methods based on knowledge of the textbook and students.
The process of lesson planning. Careful lesson planning takes place at both macro and micro levels. A teacher begins by mapping out the content for the whole semester. The teacher then moves on to planning for the unit, and finally to each lesson in the unit. There is a continuum from semester, to unit, and to each lesson.
An important aspect of lesson planning is emphasizing that the func- tion of each lesson can differ. Lessons can focus on introducing new con- tent, reviewing materials, or applying what has been learned through solving problems. Some traditional steps in planning lessons are empha- sized both in pedagogical textbooks and in practice. First, the teacher prepares for writing the plan, a process that includes understanding how a particular lesson relates to the semester content and the unit; learning from professional colleagues’ work by studying their lesson plans or seeking input from colleagues; and finding ways to connect the content
with students’ everyday lives. Second, the teacher writes the plan. As the actual lesson plan that follows shows, this step includes (a) specifying cognitive and affective objectives; (b) identifying key points of the con- tent; (c) anticipating difficult points for students; and (d) designing the lesson flow—introducing the topic, presenting the new knowledge, strengthening the understanding of new knowledge by application with increasing complexity, summarizing the learning, and assigning home- work. After preparing and writing a lesson plan, the planning continues. For example, the teacher finds or makes the most appropriate teaching aids and designs the presentation to display on a projector or black- board. A teacher is also expected to take notes after the lesson for reflec- tion and improvement. This shows the care with which the teacher must attend to lesson planning.
Administrative context for lesson plans. Lesson plans are a critical criterion in evaluating teachers. The school provides resources for plan- ning lessons, such as preparing a lesson for a group setting, sharing lesson plans with different teachers, organizing visits to other schools, and hold- ing open lessons to promote learning among teachers. In this way, the les- son plan becomes much more than the simple paper exercise it often is in the United States—it becomes a larger part of the organization of teaching as teachers develop lessons and share them both on paper and in practice.
Issues in lesson planning. Generally speaking, teachers in China successfully carry out lesson planning as a professional activity. However, lesson planning in China also presents its own difficulties. First, classes may have forty students in the developed areas of the country but up to eighty in those still developing. Individualizing instruction may be more difficult in large classes. Second, lesson planning occupies so much of the professional day that some teachers feel they could spend that time productively on other responsibilities. Third, planning too extensively might neglect student learning issues that arise spontaneously in class. A fourth issue is that each geographic area in China uses the same set of textbooks, so teachers are usually within a few days of teaching the same lesson. To a certain extent, this rigidity constrains teachers’ creativity in designing lesson plans.
An Actual Lesson Plan on the Sum of Measures of Internal Angles of Polygons
The following is an actual lesson plan prepared by Qing Zhang of Weifang Experimental School, Shandong Province, for a lesson using Mathematics for the Seventh Grade (for the Second Semester), a text- book series published by the East China Normal University Press. It illus- trates the format and content of a lesson plan that introduces new material. It is common in China to publish compilations of lesson plans
and even verbatim transcriptions of actual lessons as a resource for teachers. This allows other teachers to examine student responses to a particular lesson’s content and methodology.
The cognitive objectives are:
(a) to be able to define a quadrangle, polygon, and regu- lar polygon, and
(b) to be able to interpret, prove, and calculate the sum of internal angles of the quadrangle and polygon.
The ability objectives are:
(a) to develop the ability for analogical and divergent thinking through studying the definition of the poly- gon and the sum of internal angles of the polygon, and
(b) to develop the ability to diagnose and solve problems by dividing polygons into triangles and utilizing the knowledge about triangles.
The affective objective is: to develop students’ interest in geometry through studying the similarities and differences between triangles and polygons.
Key Points and Difficult Points
(a) the ability to interpret, prove, and calculate the sum of internal angles of the quadrangle and polygon; and
(b) the ability to investigate a new phenomenon actively.
Difficult point: a student’s understanding that the vertices of a polygon must be on the same plane, a necessary condi- tion that is difficult for many students to understand.
Ways to emphasize the key points and teach the difficult points include:
(a) developing and using teaching aids designed by the teacher;
(b) facilitating students to think about how to derive geo- metric theorems;
(c) helping students master both individual sets of knowledge, as well as helping them realize the rela- tionship between and among the sets of knowledge;
educational HORIZONS Summer 2007
(d) using a table to systematize students’ web of knowl- edge; and
(e) designing and implementing exercises with increas- ing levels of difficulty and complexity.
First Stage of the Lesson: Creating a Situation for Learning
Use multimedia to display a plane view of a weather sta- tion. Ask students to find triangles, rectangles, squares, paral- lelograms, and trapezoids. Ask students to use their knowledge of triangles to define quadrangles and the uses of quadrangles in agriculture, industry, and everyday life.
Second Stage of the Lesson: Student-centered Explorations on Definitions of Quadrangles and Polygons with “n” Sides
(a) Students first recall the definition of a triangle. Through analogy students try to define a quadrangle. The teacher uses self-made teaching aids to empha- size the necessary condition that all four vertices must be in the same plane. Students then define poly- gons with “n” sides.
(b) Students then explore the elements in the definitions of quadrangles and polygons. With teachers’ Socratic questioning, students complete the following table.
How many sides?
How many internal angles?
How to notate?
A A A B
BB C C C
(c) The teacher emphasizes that when quadrangle is mentioned, we mean (1) rather than (2).
(d) Students answer questions to reinforce their defini- tion of quadrangles and polygons.
Third Stage of the Lesson: Collaborative Approach to Exploring the Calculation of Internal Angles of a Quadrangle
(a) The teacher raises the questions: The sum of meas- ures of the internal angles of a triangle is 180°; what is the sum of measures of the internal angles of a quadrangle?
(b) Students try various methods of answering the ques- tions, and the teacher summarizes their approaches using the following diagrams. By comparing methods (1) through (5), as illustrated in the following, stu- dents will realize that (1) is the optimal approach.
educational HORIZONS Summer 2007
(c) The teacher and students summarize the finding on the sum of the internal angles of a quadrangle.
(d) Students engage in exercises to deepen their under- standing of the finding.
Fourth Stage of the Lesson: Exercise with Variations Students work in groups to solve the following problem.
Please refer to the diagram below. OB� AB. OC� AC. What is the relationship between � A and � BOC? Please explain your answer. In the diagram, are there any angles that are the same as � A in measure?
Fifth Stage of the Lesson: Extrapolating the Findings from Quadrangles to Polygons
(a) Based on the knowledge that the sum of internal angles of a quadrangle is 360°, students inquire into the sum of internal angles of polygons with 5 sides, 6 sides, and n sides.
(b) Draw the conclusion that the sum of internal angles of polygons with 5 sides, 6 sides, and n sides is (n–2) × 180°.
Last Stage of the Lesson: Summary
(a) Discussing the methods for solving problems: observe, analyze, guess, analogize, explain, and apply.
(b) Discussing the methods for studying geometrical con- cepts: how to define, and how to specify the elements
Number of Sides of a Polygon
3 4 5 6 7 . . . n
Sum of Internal Angles
180° 360° . . .
in the definition such as sides, angles, and sum of internal angles (briefly mention that the sum of external angles is a topic for future study).
(c) Discussing the thinking processes and methods used in drawing the conclusion that the sum of internal angles of a quadrangle is 360°.
(d) Discussing the notion that triangles, quadrangles, and other polygons are related to each other, and that geometric knowledge comes from and can be used in everyday life.
Summary and Discussion Lesson planning, then, is integral to teachers’ professional develop-
ment in China: it includes their individual reflection and study as well as the collegial activities undertaken to prepare the lesson. In a case study written to explain the interaction of the organization of curriculum and teaching in China, Wang and Paine (2003) write of one teacher’s per- sonal preparation:
In planning this lesson, Ms. Zhen first spent considerable time reading and analyzing the textbook and teachers’ manual to understand “what the important and difficult points were, which area needed to be stressed in teaching, and where stu- dents would likely make mistakes.” Then she individually devel- oped a preliminary lesson plan by considering “how to teach it in an active way and by involving students in it.” (p. 9)
This quotation shows the importance of content knowledge, partic- ularly as it is portrayed in the textbook; understanding what students will make of the content; and linking the two. It also shows the careful study that teachers undertake individually.
Support for this kind of lesson planning is woven into the structure of teachers’ work in China in at least two ways. First, as mentioned ear- lier, much of a Chinese teacher’s day is spent preparing for teaching or reflecting on students’ work and what could have been done better. Second, the planning can be used as a part of preparation for a “public lesson” (Wang and Paine 2003), or what we refer to as an “open lesson” (Shen, Zhen, and Poppink 2007). Wang and Paine continue analyzing Ms. Zhen’s lesson preparation by explaining its social aspects:
Next, she shared her lesson plan with several senior mathe- matics teachers in the teaching research group and revised it based upon their suggestions. Ms. Zhen then taught a trial les- son in one of the two 6th grade classes she taught which was observed and critiqued by her colleagues in the teaching
educational HORIZONS Summer 2007
research group. She revised the lesson plan again based upon her experience in teaching the trial lesson and suggestions from her colleagues. In the end, she formally taught this public les- son, which was again observed and critiqued by the teachers in the teaching research group. (Wang and Paine 2003)
Restructuring American teaching to resemble Chinese teaching is unlikely anytime soon. Still, Chinese practice demonstrates that lesson planning is an important professional-development activity requiring increased teacher knowledge together with collegial support for improv- ing practice. Teachers’ individual and collegial planning and working time may be a necessary condition to improve the quality of teaching in American schools, and detailed lesson plans provide a way for American teachers to better understand content, student learning, and pedagogical content knowledge.
References Ball, D. L. 1996. “Teacher Learning and the Mathematics Reforms: What We Think
We Know and What We Need to Learn.” Phi Delta Kappan 77 (7): 500–508. Cohen, D. K., and J. P. Spillane. 1993. “Policy and Practice: The Relations between
Governance and Instruction.” In Designing Coherent Education Policy: Improving the System, ed. S. H. Fuhrman, 35–95. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Grossman, P. L. 1990. The Making of a Teacher: Teacher Knowledge and Teacher Education. New York: Teachers College Press.
Grossman, P., S. Wineburg, and S. Woolworth. 2001. “Toward a Theory of Teacher Community.” Teachers College Record 103 (6): 942–1012.
Heaton, R. M. 2000. Teaching Mathematics to the New Standards: Relearning the Dance. New York: Teachers College Press.
Little, J. W. 1987. “Teachers as Colleagues.” In Educators’ Handbook: A Research Perspective, ed. Virginia Richardson-Koehler. New York: Longman.
————. 1993. “Teacher’s Professional Development in a Climate of Educational Reform.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 15 (2): 129–151.
Putnam, R. T., and H. Borko. 2000. “What Do View of Knowledge and Thinking Have to Say about Research on Teacher Learning?” Educational Researcher 29 (1): 4–15.
Shen, J., J. Zhen, and S. Poppink. 2007. “Open Lessons: A Practice to Develop a Learning Community for Teachers.” Educational Horizons 85 (3): 181–191.
Shulman, L. S. 1986. “Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching.” Educational Researcher 15 (2): 4–14.
————. 1987. “Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform.” Harvard Educational Review 57 (1): 1–23.
Su, Z., H. Qin, and T. Huang. 2005. “The Isolated Teacher: What We Can Learn from the Chinese.” Wingspread Journal: 7–13.
Wang, J., and L. W. Paine. 2003. “Learning to Teach with Mandated Curriculum and Public Examination of Teaching as Contexts.” Teaching and Teacher Education 19 (1): 75–94.
Wilson, S. M., L. S. Shulman, and A. E. Richart. 1987. “‘150 Different Ways’ of
Knowing: Representations of Knowledge in Teaching.” In Exploring Teacher Thinking, ed. J. Calderhead, 104–124. Sussex: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Jianping Shen, Ph.D., is the John E. Sandberg Professor of Education at Western Michigan University.
Sue Poppink, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of educational leadership at Western Michigan University.
Yunhuo Cui, Ph.D., is a full professor of curriculum and instruction at East China Normal University.
Guorui Fan, Ph.D., is a full professor of educational administration at East China Normal University.
This is the second of a two-part series on current practices in Chinese education.
educational HORIZONS Summer 2007
Index educational HORIZONS®, Vol. 85, Fall 2006–Summer 2007 259
Fall 2006, No. 1, 1–72 Winter 2007, No. 2, 73–132 Spring 2007, No. 3, 133–192 Summer 2007, No. 4, 193–260
Baratz-Snowden, Joan, ed., 111 Beilke, Jayne R., 210 Bullough, Robert V., Jr., 168 Burt, Walter L., 65 Carpenter, Wade A., 7, 83, 146, 200 Challenges in Data-based Decision-
making: Voices from Principals, 65 Characteristics of an Effective Student
Testing System, 19 Clabaugh, Gary K., 2, 141, 205 Cooley, Van E., 57 Cui, Yunhuo, 248 Darling-Hammond, Linda, ed., 111 Data-based Decision-making: Three
State-level Educational Leadership Initiatives, 57
Dissolution of Education Knowledge, The, 232
Education for Free People: Do Public School-Religious School Differences Matter?, 194
Fan, Guorui, 248 For Those We Won’t Reach: An
Alternative, 146 Gann, Cory, 12 Good Teacher in Every Classroom, A:
Preparing the Highly Qualified Teachers Our Children Deserve, 111
Haladyna, Thomas M., 30 Hirsch, E. D., Jr., 97 Is Banning Holidays the Only Way?, 12 Kozol’s Complaint, 210 Late to Class: Social Class and Schooling
in the New Economy, 156 Lesson Planning: A Practice of
Professional Responsibility and Development, 248
McCarthy, Martha, 92 Miller, Deborah S., 57 Morrison, Kristan A., 212 Most Essential Question, A: Who Is Truly
Educable?, 2 National Academy of Education
Committee on Education, The, 111 Open Lessons: A Practice to Develop a
Learning Community for Teachers, 181
Other Side of Bureaucracy, The, 200 Other Side of No Child Left Behind,
The, 7 Perils of Standardized Achievement
Testing, 30 Phelps, Richard P., 19, 232 Poppink, Sue, 181, 248 Power Failure: Must U.S. School Reform
Miss the Mark?, 205 Professional Learning Communities and
the Eight-Year Study, 168 Rainey, John Mark, 57 Reese, William J., 217 Reeves, Patricia L., 65
educational HORIZONS Summer 2007
Rozycki, Edward G., 44, 78, 136, 194 Ryan, Lisa, 57 Schooling as a Fundamental Right:
Should an Equal Education Amendment Be Enacted?, 141
Shen, Jianping, 57, 181, 248 Should an Equal Education Amendment
Be Enacted? A Discussion, 210 Stoecklin, Carol, 74 Teaching with Fire: Poetry That
Sustains the Courage to Teach [book review], 74
Testing for Justice, 44 Top Ten Reasons to Eliminate
Foundations Courses from Teacher Education, 83
Trading Off “Sacred” Values: Why Public Schools Should Not Try to “Educate,” 136
Using Tests Productively, 97 Van Galen, Jane, 156 Weapon against Cronyism, A? The False
Claims Act Applied to Educational Institutions, 78
Whistle Blowers Beware!, 92 Why Americans Love to Reform the
Public Schools, 217 Will Corporations Have to Hold a Bake
Sale?, 212 Winograd, Peter N., 57 Yuan, Wenhui, 57 Zhen, Jinzhou, 181
Publishing in educational HORIZONS®
educational HORIZONS seeks to publish in-depth articles, usually 2,500–5,000 words long, that will interest the reflective, inquiring educator. Ordinarily, guest editors assemble each issue of educa- tional HORIZONS by invitation. Acceptance of non-invited submis- sions depends on unpredictable openings in the schedule. Querying us first by first-class letter or e-mail, including your proposed topic and length, is recommended before submitting a manuscript.
Book reviewing: Book reviews provide a more likely route to pub- lication than the invited, themed contributions outlined above. Contributors interested in submitting book reviews (including more substantial book review essays that would review relevant scholarship on the topic) are encouraged to query by first-class letter or e-mail. Proposals, which can be independent of our issue themes, should specify recent book releases that will interest our readership of teachers and teacher educators.
For guest editors: educational HORIZONS asks potential guest editors to suggest themes for upcoming issues of the journal.
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