Concept-Based Teaching Method

Concept-based teaching method can be defined as a type of learning that centers on big-picture ideas and learning of how to organize and categorize information. Conceptual methods focus on understanding broader principles or ideas that can be later applied to a variety of specific examples.it can also be seen as more of top-down approach that serves as a means of getting students to think more critically about the new subjects and situations they encounter. For example, if someone is teaching about the concept of fruit, then some good exemplars would be apples, oranges, and bananas. Some exemplars that can be used can either still be a relationship between the mother and daughter, or a group of friend.

Benefits derived from concept-based teaching

The following are the lists of the benefit derived from concept-based teaching:

1. Concept-based teaching method helps student to take more active role in their learning using flipped classroom model of instruction

2. Concept-based teaching streamlines content and eliminates redundancies across courses.

3. Concept-based teaching encourages students to see patterns and use those patterns to deliver care and anticipate risks.

4. Concept-based teaching helps to support systematic observations about events or conditions that influence a problem

5. Concept-based teaching causes a higher level of retention.

How to teach concept in learning

Concept is the knowledge that identifies, explain, analyze, demonstrate real-life elements and event. These are broad ideas that are in many instances, through geographical and cultural boundaries. There are two kinds of concept. These are sensory and abstract.

• Sensory concepts: The sensory concepts are ones that have characteristics features of sensory organ. The features are very tangible, can be picked by one or more of our sensory organs. For instance, a course for trainee physicians to help them learn how to diagnose diseases will mostly deal with the sensory concept.

• Abstract concepts: The abstract concepts are neither visible or tangible, courses on leadership and management often contain abstract concept. E.g As an instructional designer, you will have to teach both the sensory and abstract concepts.

Here are the three steps to teach concepts:

I. Define the concept: This deals with the concept class and the distinguishing features. A definition is a statement of facts that identify the species that the subject belongs to and specifies its class.

II. Provide examples and non-examples: This helps to reinforce the learning by identifying the key attributes. A definition can be remembered through memorizing it. Providing examples with the definition helps to cement the learning, besides using examples to explain concept helps learners categorize objects based on similar properties.

III. Paint analogies: It allows to create a new learning with previously learned skill. Analogies jog the memory of the learner and help him/her correlate a new learning with previously learned skills and past experiences.Analogies are excellent instructional tools to explain abstract or concept sentences.

ROLE CONCEPT

A concept can be a role which means that it is not essential to all or some of its instances. for example, invasive species is a role because certain species may become invasive at some point in time and become native at a later point in time.

The Art and Science of Teaching in the United States

Yeats, philosopher, once said, “Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of the fire” (www.quotations page.com). Teachers are the key to our children’s future, they are the ones who will ignite their love for learning. Teaching contains two major concepts of learning, the arts and the science. The art is defined in the Encarta Encyclopedia as “the product of creative human activity in which material is shaped or selected to convey an idea, emotion, or visually interesting form”. This describes exactly what a teacher does in a day, they create “human activity”. While science is defined as, “a study of anything that can be examined, tested, or verified” (Encarta, 2003).The teacher is always studying the situation, examining what they can do, and verifying that their job has been complete. Teaching is an art and science that is learned and then developed through a teachers learning style.

Albert Einstein once said, “Believe it or not, one of my deepest regrets [is that I didn’t teach]. I regret this because I would have liked to have more contact with children. There has always been something about the innocence and freshness of young children that appeals to me and brings me great enjoyment to be with them. And they are so open to knowledge. I have never really found it difficult to explain basic laws of nature to children. When you reach them at their level, you can read in their eyes their genuine interest and appreciation (Parkway, 2001, p. 5). Albert Einstein was a mastermind and knew that teaching children was the only way to open little minds to great wisdom. It takes a special kind of person, one who knew that teaching was the life, not career, that they wanted to lead. Teachers are required to do the “dance”, a way of smoothly persuading the students to achieve greatness. This is the mentally, emotional, and physically preparation “dance”, or motion, that develops the entire package of teaching the students how to learn. This is the ability to maneuver through lesson plans, teaching strategies, print-rich classroom environments, classroom management, discipline tactics, parental lack of support or to much support, and all the other encounters teachers learn to juggle. This is the art and science of teaching, the ability to multi-task all the above items and still manage to accomplish the goal of teaching the students.

Daniel Lipton, Educational Theorist, explains, “A love of learning, a love of inquiry, comes in many forms. In its carious manifestations we seem to reach beyond ourselves, to discover, create, and uncover. We invest ourselves in and engage ourselves with the world around us” (Lipton, 2000, 22). Teachers have made a commitment to their students, to the lasting learning process, and to the schools that they teach. This means that they are to find ways to teach their class everything that the students will need in their entire lifetime, not just the school year. Liston writes about the love of learning and teaching by stating:

As teachers we share this love of learning with our students. To teach

is to share publicly this love; it is to ask others to be drawn in by

the same powers that lure and attract us; it is to try to get our

students to see the grace and attraction that these “great things” have

for us. In teaching we reach out toward our students in an attempt to

create connections among them and our subjects. We want them to love

what we find so alluring.

As a teacher, you cannot settle for anything less than complete knowledge and dedication to your students. This requires an eagerness to teach the students to achieve far beyond their expectations of the classroom, a desire to stay educated. An example would be, that of a parent not letting their child leave the home without the proper sills and developments to live by themselves. Teachers do not want their “children” to go into life without the proper education (Cain, 2001).

Liston writes, “Good teaching entails a kind of romantic love of the learning enterprise; it is motivated by and infuses other with a love of inquiry…if guided by an enlarged love, teaching can become an ongoing struggle that nourishes our students’ and our own soul”. (Liston, 2000, p. 81). Teaching is based on both a physical and emotional level, or “emotional and intellectual work”. No matter what the age or grade level that is taught, teachers are effective through emotions and ideas on how to spark the students interest in learning. When a teacher is successful in a lesson plan, it feel as though anything can be conquered. This is an affirmation that most professions will never achieve in their careers (Liston, 2000). Teachers have learned that the their art of teaching is to shape and explore the needing minds of their students.

Frank Smith, a leading educational theorist, remarks, “The brutally simple motivation behind the development and imposition of all systematic instructional programs is a lack of trust that the teacher can teach and that the student can learn. To be effective, teachers must have flexibility to tailor their methods to the needs of individual students” (Perlich, 2000, pg. 1). This is the art and the science of teaching. The ability to put the trust back into the teacher and the students and to do it in a creative manner. Lesson planning is one of the ways that teachers can develop flexibility and tailor the needs of individual students. This is because the lesson plan is the core of the classroom stability and what will really make the student want to learn. There is a special art/style that a teacher must possess in order to accommodate to these classes. Lesson plans need to hold onto the child’s interest and also to each student’s learning style. The lesson should be well thought out and very well planned, on the teacher’s behalf. Lesson plans should follow these simple rules:

1. Identify the special needs of each student through assessment and evaluation.

2. Choose a lesson based on the needs of the group and the experiences or lessons wanted to learn.

3. Make good decisions on how the book will be used in the class (Batzle, 1996).

Other questions a teacher might think of when developing lesson plans is is it interesting to the students and how long will it keep their attention. Learning should be fun and not something that gets moans and groans when talking about. Sesame Street is a great program for children to watch and this program is done in a manner what children, as young as 12 months, don’t realize that they are learning. Melanie Roberts, Special Education Teacher, noticed that her 20 month old son could count to 20 without her help. Upon further investigation, she found that he had learned this from Sesame Street. He didn’t even know he was learning because he was enjoying what he was doing (Roberts, 2003). This is how teacher’s lessons should be, an unknown learning process. A way to do this is to always educate yourself and learn new strategies for teaching subjects.

For reading, a fun and educational lesson plan would be to have the students read or have the teacher read a favorite book. When the book is finished assess the students by shared writing or a writing workshop. An example would be reading the book, “Stone Soup”. After having read the book, the students will then have the student make the story into a poster, create a new ending in groups, use a setting to create a postcard, or create a paper doll for each character and act out the book. The teacher can even have a special stone and make soup with the class after the lesson and assessment has been done. There are so many ways to have the students learn without realizing this. Another great resource would be to use online reading sites. Links for Learning, [http://www.links-for-learning.com] has a great resources book site for teachers. These books provide grade leveled reading books.

Diane Perlich, leader for the California Literature Project, states, “Anyway you look at it, children in our classroom will live in the future and it is out responsibility as educators to provide the learning environment in which they can be successfully prepared” (Perlich, 2000, p.1). A print rich environment is so important in developing a positive atmosphere that will provide learning in the classroom. With this aura developed by the teacher, the students will be able to openly express their thoughts and personality, breaching the door between a higher thought process and that child. This room will provide a place for the students to escape from any hardships they might encounter outside of the classroom and allow this place to be their “safe haven”. A good example of how to make a classroom print-rich friendly is to have a moveable word wall. This is a giant piece of paper with the alphabet attached to it. When the students learn a new word, their spelling words, etc. the teacher attaches that word to the “Word Wall” under the appropriate letter. This will help with phonics, sight reading, and memorization of words. A literacy-rich environment would include, learning centers, colorful rugs, or grouped seating arrangements, Anything can make a classroom print-friendly, as long as the classroom will allow the students to feel important and comfortable when learning.

Lelia Christie Mullis, teacher of 20 years, writes, she encourages “students to reach back into their own memories and remember the fears, the embarrassment, and the joy of learning they felt… I hope they will give their students a liter positive environment, full of oral and written languages, which breeds joy more than any other emotion, That magical process we call learning can change lives forever (Perlich, 2000, p. 105). This is what teacher strive for, an place where learning is the center of each student’s thinking. A teacher must be able to bring the information to the students in the way that she creatively thinks is effective. She must be able to establish positive relations with her students and their parents. She must create the lesson plans that she feels will be significant. The teacher must be the master of her room, allowing the atmosphere to reflect her teaching style. She must have complete control of her classroom and what happens inside of it. This is called education and, education is the art and science of teaching.

References

Cain, M.S. (2001). Teaching, the Social Aspect. Phi Delta Kappan, 82 (9), 702.

Batzle, J. (1996). Recommended Reading and Writing Strategies. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Encarta Online. (2003). http://www.encarta.com

Liston, D.P. (Winter, 2000). Creative Teachers: Risk, Responsibility, and Love. Educational Theory, 50 (1), 22-81.

Parkway, F.W. (2001). Becoming A Teacher. In Art and Science of Teaching. Boston, Pearson Education Company.

Perlich, Diane (2000). Lets put phonics in perspective. K-3 Core Literacy

Training: Los Angeles, University of California-Los Angeles Press.

Roberts, M.R.B. (2003). A conversation with Melanie Roberts (interview with Deborah Cluff).

Quotation. (2003). Retreived on July 20 from [http://www.quotaionspage.com]

New Teachers As Vital Members Of The Teaching Workforce

The demand for new teachers has been climbing steadily since the 1990s and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future given the increases in teacher retirement and student enrollment, lower pupil/teacher ratios, and rising teacher attrition rates. New teachers enter the profession with varying degrees of preparation, ranging from extensive coursework and classroom experience to no preparation at all. They often need special attention and support to reach their full potential as educators, but this support is sorely lacking in many schools-which may explain why large numbers of new teachers leave the profession after just a few years of teaching.

The standards movement has put teacher quality at the center of educational reform. Conceived broadly, teacher quality consists of three elements: teacher knowledge, teacher qualifications, and teacher practice. In turn, these elements are affected by individual school factors and by working conditions such as class size, professional support, and school leadership. They are also affected by systemic variables such as state and local policies on teacher preparation, certification, and salaries.

Teachers operate in complex, multidimensional environments, so the direct impact of teaching on student outcomes can be difficult to isolate. However, by linking student achievement to individual teachers, researchers have been able to confirm that some teachers have a lasting, positive impact on student performance, while others have a negligible or negative impact on the performance of students with similar profiles. A simple definition of teacher quality has emerged from this research, namely, the ability to increase student learning during a school year, regardless of a student’s initial academic standing. But this definition, which points to academic growth as an indicator of effectiveness, does not explain why and how some teachers are more effective than others. The research that has been done on teacher credentials, while informative, does not address the actual quality of classroom instruction-a dynamic much more difficult to measure due, in part, to the lack of consensus on what type of instruction is most effective. Definitions of effective teacher practice, therefore, must also factor in variations in curriculum and instruction, along with the relationship between curriculum and instruction and the variables that affect that relationship.

Based on five principles that describe the qualities and attributes of effective teachers, the standards have been broadly adopted by the education community as a measure of teacher excellence:

– Best teachers base their instruction on knowledge of child development.

– They are committed to students and their learning.

– They know the subjects they are teaching and how to teach those subjects to diverse learners.

– They are able to effectively organize the classroom environment to engage students in the learning process and to sustain their learning so that instructional goals are met.

– Accomplished teachers are active members of learning communities; they systematically examine and improve their practice and learn from their experiences, and they are aware of the policies and resources that can benefit their students.

Teacher perceptions and attitudes are, nonetheless, quite important since a teacher’s sense of efficacy plays a large role in the decision to remain in the profession. Some teachers-typically those entering the profession through an alternative pathway- do not receive any kind of classroom exposure prior to their first teaching assignment. They felt this lack of preparation placed them and their students at a distinct disadvantage. One commented on how it was “unfair to students to subject them to teachers who have had no student teaching or internships before teaching a class.” Another reason for why teachers do not feel well prepared is a mismatch between the instructional pedagogy they were exposed to in their education programs and that practiced in the schools to which they are assigned. One teacher commented that the range of instructional strategies she learned in her education program would have helped her reach her students. However, because the district office had different instructional mandates, she had to use strategies that ran contrary to those she had learned during her pre-service education. “Out-of-license” teachers also felt unprepared. A high school teacher assigned to teach a math class dug out old college texts to try to refresh her math skills since she had received no math preparation during pre-service training. Several teachers assigned to special education classes said they had no prior special education instructional experience or background.

Teachers who described themselves as being least prepared were those with no educational preparation, other than a bachelor’s degree, and no educational training or support. Older teachers entering the profession as a career change felt they were able to draw upon prior work experiences to help them in their current teaching roles; most admitted, however, that nothing really sufficiently prepared them for the unique challenges of being a new teacher. The level of student ability also influenced the teachers’ sense of preparation. Teachers felt more prepared to teach students who were advanced or at grade level than students who were English language learners, below grade level in literacy or math, or had other special needs. Some teachers, despite their inexperience, were asked to teach a wide span of grades, as well as special education classes. These teachers felt they needed a great deal of support.

Quality teaching includes not only mastery of subject matter and how to teach it, but a belief in the potential of all children to learn, an abiding ethic of care, and the creativity to inspire children who would otherwise be lost.

Teaching Christian Religious Education – A Review

In ten chapters or one hundred and eleven pages, the author presents a compendia of methodology of teaching Christian religious education. The purpose of the study, countless misconceptions of students, the etymology of the word ‘methodology’, definition and reason for religious education, kinds of research methods and hints of note taking are discussed in the first chapter. These give students the opportunity of revising when writer rather than presenting new information to them. The importance of the second chapter is that it gives a systematic approach to finding research/project problems, approach to find a research topic, formulating the research topic, sources of information, reviewing relevant literature, sources of information, reviewing relevant literature, hypothesis and format for research writing. Like the first chapter, the dimensions are not new but serve as a useful guide. The Nigerian approach to moral and religious instruction as stated in the 1981 Revised National Policy on education moved from rote memory of biblical passages to affect the psychomotor and affective domains. Approaches to the study of Christian religious education discussed in Chapter 3 include the Bible-centered or salvation history approach, the phenomenological approach, teacher-centered approach, and the Bible to life, life experiences and life-centered approaches. New life was therefore injected in teaching religious education as students discovered the religious implication of their actions.

Working on the premise that there are several teaching methods in each discipline, the writer identifies some methods and factors that determine their suitability and the right time to use them in the fourth chapter. He rightly observes that the Christian religious studies teacher should not be dogmatic but should apply a method as the situation demands. These methods are divided into teacher centered (lecture, questioning), learner centered (project, assignment) and joint (drama, field trips, story telling, role play) methods.

In Chapter 5, the writer successfully defines technical terms like teaching and teaching practice. Parameters used to identify the competency of the teacher are discussed. The section of preparing to teach is in consonance with Hendrick’s law of readiness. The discussion on the management, organization and administration of teaching practice and micro-teaching and its advantages are geared towards enabling the teacher to teach effectively especially if the assessment instruments at the end of the chapter are implemented.

The sixth chapter clearly traces the history of the religious studies curriculum which protects the child from receiving any instruction that is contrary to the wishes of his parents. The origin and objective of the word ‘curriculum’ and the vital role of parents, learners, teachers, local community, religious bodies, ministries of education and other national bodies are discussed. The seventh chapter expands on the discussion in earlier chapters. The sample of a syllabus is a useful reference material to every Christian religious education teacher.

The eighth chapter on lesson plan logically follows the seventh since the classroom experience tests what has been planned. The writer realistically observes that the success of the teacher is dependent on the mastery of the subject and his/her job is incomplete until evaluation is done. The importance of educational objectives, the cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains cannot be overemphasized.

Commenting on the application of teaching materials, the writer observes that a good material among others should relate to the objective and age of the learners, match their ability and elicit interest in them. The penultimate chapter presents a vivid description of the use of instructional materials in teaching. The impact of visual and audiovisual materials is amazing. Although they create an opportunity for students to come face to face with reality, they should be seen as a means to an end.

The last chapter clearly presents justification for moral education in the school in an era of moral decadence. The aim of religious education therefore is to facilitate desirable changes in an individual since it encompasses theoretical, practical, moral, spiritual, human and divine aspects. The entire society – the home, school, church, voluntary organizations, mass media- has a role to play.

Although the book presents a rather interesting evaluation of Christian religious education methods, the author himself admits that he is not trying to offer new dimensions in the first two chapters. Even though he presents a format for research writing, the technical terms are not defined leaving the reader in a difficult position to see the relationship among them. Several typographical errors undermine the richness of the presentation. The above notwithstanding, this illustrative text of the Nigerian educational experience has graphic illustrations and review questions which stimulate critical thinking. A commendable insight is the lucid distinction made between the curriculum and syllabus which are treated as synonymous terms. The clear presentation of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives is also imperative. Perhaps another insight is how the wrong use of textbooks could hinder self-initiative and transforms learning merely into a routine.