History, Nature and Categories of Instructional Strategies, Instructional strategies and learner outcomes.
Since the inception of formal, classroom-based instruction, a fundamental aspect of teaching has been the way teachers arrange the classroom environment so students can interact and learn. The instructional strategies teachers use help shape learning environments and represent professional conceptions of learning and of the learner. Some strategies consider students empty vessels to be filled under the firm direction of the teacher; other strategies regard them as active participants learning through inquiry and problem solving–still others tell children they are social organisms learning through dialogue and interaction with others.
The instructional strategies used in the early twenty-first century began in antiquity. In ancient Greece, Socrates illustrated a questioning strategy intended to facilitate the learner's independent discovery of important truths. An instructional strategy similar to direct instruction was reported by Samuel Griswold Goodwich's account of teaching in a rural Connecticut school during the early eighteenth century.
The children were called up one by one to Aunt Delight, who sat on a low chair and required each, as a preliminary, "to make his manners," which consisted of a small, student nod. She then placed the spelling book before the pupils and with a penknife pointed, one by one, to the letters of the alphabet saying, "What's that?" (Edward and Richey, p. 172).
As education extended beyond society's elite, educators became interested in instructional strategies that would accommodate large numbers of students in efficient ways. One example, the Lancaster Method, popular in the early nineteenth century, consisted of gathering as many as a hundred students in one large room, sorting them into groups of similar abilities, and having monitors (teacher aides) guide pupil recitations from scripted lesson plans. Nineteenth-century instructional strategies were teacher centered, intended mainly to transmit basic information clearly. In the early part of the twentieth century, however, this emphasis started to shift. John Dewey and his disciples of Progressive education left a legacy of student-centered instructional methods aimed at helping students acquire higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills. Of particular importance was the project method that provided the intellectual heritage for such contemporary methods as cooperative learning, problembased instruction and other approaches emphasizing active student learning and group interaction.
The early work of the Progressives, fueled later by new theories and research about learning by such eminent theorists as European psychologists Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget and Americans Jerome Bruner and Albert Bandura extended thinking in the profession about instructional strategies in the post-Sputnik reforms of the 1950s and 1960s. Cognitive psychology and constructivist perspectives produced instructional strategies such as discovery learning and inquiry teaching that were at the center of the curriculum reforms of that era, and the cooperative learning and problem-based strategies popular today became more widely known and used.
In the late 1960s Bruce Joyce began describing the various approaches to teaching that had been developed over the years. He developed a classification system to analyze each approach according to its theoretical basis, the learner outcomes it was designed to accomplish, and the teacher and student behaviors required to make the approach work. Joyce used the term model rather than teaching strategy to refer to a particular approach to instruction. In his initial work (Joyce and Weil, 1972) more than twenty models were identified. Joyce's conceptualization of the field was a significant contribution and has influenced greatly how educators have thought about instructional strategies worldwide.
Nature and Categories of Instructional Strategies
In the early twenty-first century there are many instructional strategies. Similarly, there are tactics used by teachers to support particular strategies. The following provides a framework for thinking about instructional strategies, and then provides descriptions of seven strategies used frequently by teachers.
Instructional organizers, strategies, and tactics. A number of educators over the years, such as Barrie Bennett and Carol Rolheiser, have developed conceptual frameworks for thinking about instructional strategies. The frameworks most often include instructional organizers, instructional strategies, and tactics. Instructional organizers are at one end of a complexity continuum, and provide the "big ideas" that allow us to think about instructional practices. Examples of instructional organizers would be Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences or Benjamin Bloom's taxonomy for organizing instructional objectives. On the other end of the continuum are what are often labeled instructional tactics. These are specific, and for the most part, simple actions taken by teachers within the confines of particular teaching strategies. Asking questions, checking for student understanding, providing examples or visual representations, or examining both sides of an argument are examples of instructional tactics. Many tactics have grown out of the practices of experienced teachers. In the middle of the continuum are instructional strategies that involve a series of steps, are supported by theory and research, and have been designed to produce certain types of student learning. Examples of instructional strategies would include direct instruction, cooperative learning, and the others described later in this article.
Finally, some teaching strategies are tightly tied to the content of particular lessons. Pedagogical content knowledge is a term coined by Lee Shulman in 1987 to describe the relationship between content and strategy and to illustrate how what is being taught influences the way it is taught. For example, an English teacher teaching a Shakespearian tragedy would use different strategies than the biology teacher who is trying to help students understand photosynthesis. Similarly, a fourth-grade teacher would use different methods to teach reading, fractions, or the concept of scarcity.
Learning environments and instructional strategies. Classrooms are places where teachers and students interact within a highly interdependent environment. At particular times, some types of learning environments have been deemed more appropriate than others. For example, prior to the mid-twentieth century in the United States, environments that kept students quiet and in their seats were the preferred environment compared to later times when more open and active environments were in vogue. Both formal and informal learning emanates from the particular environments that teachers create, and these are highly influenced by the strategies being used. For instance, lecturing creates a tightly structured learning environment where students are expected to listen, observe, and take notes. On the other hand, if the teacher divides students into cooperative learning groups, an environment is created where students are actively engaged and in charge of their own interactions.
Instructional strategies and learner outcomes.
Learning is defined as a process where experience (instruction) causes a change in an individual's knowledge or behavior; different learning theories propound different perspectives about what is important and how learning occurs. Behavioral learning theories generally view the outcome of learning as change in behavior and emphasize the effects of the external environment. Cognitive and constructivist learning theories, on the other hand, view learning as change in cognition and focus mainly on internal mental activity. Instructional strategies used by teachers stem from particular learning theories and in turn produce certain kinds of outcomes. For most of the twentieth century, arguments persisted about which learning theories and which instructional strategies were the most accurate and most effective in affecting student learning. Debates among educators and the general public have surrounded lecture versus discussion; direct instruction versus discovery learning; and phonics versus whole language. These debates led nowhere mainly because the selection of effective instructional strategies can not always be precisely pinpointed, and mainly depends on what the teacher is trying to accomplish.
Contemporary conceptions of instructional strategies acknowledge that the goals of schooling are complex and multifaceted, and that teachers need many approaches to meet varied learner outcomes for diverse populations of students. A single method is no longer adequate. Effective teachers select varied instructional strategies that accomplish varied learner outcomes that are both behavioral and cognitive. To illustrate this point consider strategies teachers might use to teach the Bill of Rights to a group of eighth-grade students. The teacher might begin with a lecture describing each of the ten articles and the reasons they were included as the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Students might then be asked to match each amendment with its purpose. Use of the lecture and direct instruction methods facilitates the transmission of fairly large amounts of information to students in an efficient manner and helps them retain it in memory. However, it does not encourage students to think very deeply or critically about the Bill of Rights, or consider its significance to contemporary life. Nor would listening to a teacher promote the development of social discourse skills. Instead, the teacher might use more interactive strategies such as concept teaching and cooperative learning. If, however, teachers use more interactive methods, they have less time to explain the Bill of Rights. Particular strategies, then, have been designed to achieve particular learner outcomes, but no single strategy can address them all. Appropriate use of particular strategies depends upon the type of learning outcomes the teacher wants to achieve.
Taxonomies for Categorizing Instructional Methods
Several taxonomies have been developed that categorize instructional strategies based on the strategy's theoretical underpinnings and on the type of learner outcomes that result from using the strategy. Joyce's taxonomy divided instructional models into four major families: information processing, behavioral, personal, and social. Behavioral strategies are designed to help students acquire basic information and skills. Information processing strategies help the learner process and use information and data. Social strategies help develop a sense of community and facilitate the learning of social skills. Personal methods emphasize the development of personal growth and awareness.
Others have made distinctions among strategies based on achieving learning outcomes most closely associated with behavioral theory as compared to those outcomes that stem from information processing, cognitive, and constructivist theories of learning. Still others have found the student-centered and teacher-centered categorization scheme useful for thinking about the relationship between student learning and instructional strategies. The seven strategies are categorized according to the degree of student versus teacher centeredness and the theoretical basis for the strategy (see Table 1).
Frequently Used Instructional Strategies
The rationale and theoretical background for each strategy is described in the table, along with the learner outcomes the strategy in intended to produce and the syntax and learning environment required to make the strategy effective. Syntax refers to the steps or phases through which a lesson progresses. Learning environment refers to the classroom context and required teacher and student behaviors. Each strategy described has been subjected to substantial research and evaluation and has been deemed highly effective. Positive effects, however, are sizeable only if the strategy is implemented faithfully.
Direct instruction. Direct instruction is a method for imparting basic knowledge or developing skills in a goal-directed, teacher-controlled environment. The teacher identifies clearly defined learning outcomes, transmits new information or demonstrates a skill, and provides guided practice. Direct instruction is designed to maximize academic learning time through a highly structured environment in which students are "on task" and experience high degrees of success.
Direct instruction has its roots in behaviorism. Behavioral theorists emphasize breaking behaviors and skills into component tasks and mastering each subcomponent. They emphasize the importance of modeling desired behavior and using feedback and reinforcement to guide students toward desired goals. The clearest empirical support for direct instruction came from the teacher effectiveness research of the 1970s and 1980s. By studying the relationship between teaching behaviors and student achievement in classrooms, researchers concluded that direct instruction produced greater time-on-task and higher student achievement, particularly for the acquisition of basic information and skills.
Direct instruction can be used effectively to promote acquisition of knowledge that is well structured and that can be taught in a step-by-step fashion, such as parts of speech, the multiplication tables, or the capitals of the fifty states. It is also effective in teaching how to perform simple and complex skills such as how to subtract, read a map, or swing a golf club. Although direct instruction is widely used, it is not appropriate for teaching concepts and generalizations, higher-level thinking, inquiry, problem solving, group processes, or independent learning.
In general, a direct instruction lesson proceeds through five phases. Teachers begin the lesson with an orientation phase. The teacher clarifies the goals of the lesson, explains why the lesson is important, ties the lesson to previous lessons and students' prior knowledge, and motivates students. This establishes the students' mental set and prepares them for the lesson. This initial phase is followed by phase 2, presentation or demonstration. The teacher demonstrates the skill or presents new information. If a skill is being taught, each step must be identified and demonstrated accurately. If new information is being taught, the information must be well organized and logically presented. Effective teachers give multiple examples, provide accurate demonstrations, restate the information often, and use visual models or illustrations.
The third phase is guided practice. The teacher structures the initial practice by walking the students
through, step-by-step, and giving feedback on correct and incorrect responses. When students understand, the teacher moves to guided practice in which students work independently while the teacher monitors student work and gives individual feedback. Guided practice is most effective in short increments repeated over time. At the end of guided practice, phase 4 checks for understanding and provides feedback, informally or formally, verbally or in writing. The most common tactic in this phase of the lesson is teacher questioning, but assessing independent work, giving a quiz, or observing a live or taped performance may also be appropriate. Feedback must be given as soon as possible after practice and be specific and focused on behavior.
The final phase of a direct instruction lesson is extended practice. Extended practice reinforces the knowledge or skill. It can be accomplished through seatwork or homework, but should only be given when students are at or near mastery and timely feedback can be given. Extended practice over time increases retention, transfer, and automaticity.
The learning environment in a direct instruction lesson is highly structured by the teacher. Students are expected to be careful listeners and keen observers.
Simulation. Simulation involves students playing roles in simulated situations in order to learn skills and concepts transferable to "real life." Students make decisions and learn from successes and failures. Simulations enable the learning of complex concepts or mastery of dangerous tasks in more simple and safe environments. Simulations include hands-on games such as Monopoly (real estate), social-political-economic role-playing or problem solving (model United Nations or feeding a family of four on $100 a week), software games ("Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?" for geography) and experiments (chemical changes), and simulators (driving a car or landing a plane). Although some simulations are done individually (such as driving), others occur in groups.
Simulation is grounded in a branch of behavioral psychology called cybernetics, which holds the perspective that learning occurs in an environment in which the learner receives immediate feedback, experiences the consequences of behavior, and continually self-corrects until mastery occurs. When learning to land a plane in a flight simulator, for example, the "pilot" receives feedback on the speed, height, and angle of descent, and corrects (or under-or over-corrects) until the plane "lands" or "crashes." With continued practice, corrective behaviors become automatic until the "pilot" lands the plane safely each time.
Simulations are effective for teaching complex skills or concepts. Simulations can be used to practice skills such as driving, to teach concepts such as how political, social, and economic systems work, or to discern scientific principles through simulated experiments. Additional outcomes include problem solving, decision making, cause-effect relationships, cooperation or competition, and independent learning. Simulations are not effective for teaching large amounts of fact-based information.
Simulation has four phases. The teacher begins the lesson by explaining the purposes of the simulation and providing an overview of how it will proceed. This is followed by phase 2, where students are trained in the rules, procedures and goals of the simulation and provided time for abbreviated practice.
During phase 3, the simulation itself, the teacher serves as a coach, giving feedback, clarifying misconceptions, and maintaining the rules. The teacher does not tell students what to do or provide direct assistance. The debriefing aspect of the simulation, phase 4, allows time to describe and analyze experiences, make comparisons to real world situations, and relate the experience to the subject they are studying. The teacher's role is critical at this final phase in helping students make sense of the simulated experience and tie it to course content.
The teacher structures and facilitates the learning environment fairly tightly; however, students are active in determining their own experiences during the simulation. Students work individually or cooperatively in a nonthreatening atmosphere in which feedback comes from the simulation or from peers. The teacher helps students apply their learning to real world situations.
Presentation using advance organizers. Presentation (or lecture) is among the most commonly used strategies for knowledge acquisition and retention. But presentation is more than teachers talking. An effective presentation requires a highly structured environment in which the teacher is an active presenter and students are active listeners and thinkers. Teachers use advance organizers–powerful concepts to which subordinate ideas and facts can be linked–to provide structure and then involve students in processing the new information.
The presentation strategy is grounded in information processing theory, which describes how learning occurs and how the mind organizes knowledge. The brain utilizes short-term memory for complex thought processes and long-term memory for information storage. Stored information is organized according to hierarchically ordered concepts and categories called cognitive structures. New information must be processed actively in short-term memory and tied to students' existing cognitive structures in long-term memory. Just as the mind has cognitive structures, every discipline has an organizational structure. Presentations should be organized around key ideas and structures and these structures should be made explicit to students.
Presentation enables teachers to organize and convey large amounts of information efficiently. It is an appropriate strategy for instructing students about the key ideas in a subject, for acquisition and retention of factual information linked to these ideas, and for comparing similarities and differences among ideas. Presentation is less appropriate for higher-level thinking, problem solving, and inquiry, although it may be used prior to such activities to ensure that students have the necessary foundational information.
There are four phases in a presentation lesson. The teacher begins the presentation by explaining the goals, sequence, and expectations of the lesson, and by helping students retrieve appropriate prior knowledge. In phase 2 the advance organizer is presented. Advance organizers are "scaffolds" that help learners link new information to what they already know. Advance organizers may be expository, comparative (relationships), or sequential (steps), and work best when accompanied by graphic or visual representations.
Phase 3 is the presentation itself. As new learning material is presented, the teacher pays particular attention to order and clarity, and provides concrete examples and illustrations that help students make required connections to what they already know.
In the final phase of a presentation, the teacher checks for student understanding and helps them integrate what they have learned. The teacher asks questions to encourage precise and critical thinking. Effective questions might involve asking for summaries, definitions, examples, comparisons, descriptions, analysis, or connections to the advance organizer. It is in this final phase that students integrate the new knowledge into their prior knowledge, build more complex cognitive structures, and develop understanding of complex relationships.
The teacher carefully structures the learning environment during a presentation so students can hear and see the presentation, uses procedures to ensure a smooth and effective pace, and addresses off-task behaviors immediately.
Concept teaching. Concept teaching helps students learn concepts and develop higher level thinking skills. Concepts (such as round and integer in mathematics, scarcity and freedom in social studies, energy and motion in science, and comedy and tragedy in literature) serve as the foundation for knowledge, increase complex conceptual understanding, and facilitate social communication. There are several different approaches to concept teaching. The approach described here is called concept attainmenta and is an inductive process in which students construct, refine, and apply concepts through teacher-directed activities using examples and nonexamples and in which students learn to classify, recognize members of a class, identify critical and noncritical attributes, and define and label particular concepts.
Cognitive theorists such as Jean Piaget and Jerome Bruner and information processing psychologists such as Robert Gagne emphasized that thinking is organized around conceptual structures. Children begin learning concepts very early through interaction with concrete objects. Conceptual structures continue to develop with increasing complexity and abstraction throughout life. Concept formation requires students to build categories (an island is land surrounded by water; a noun is a name for a person, place or thing). Concept attainment requires students to figure out the attributes of a category (e.g., a triangle has three sides and three angles; an adjective describes a noun). Young children can categorize using one rule or attribute (a bird has feathers), but students gradually develop the ability to use multiple rules or attributes (birds have feathers, lay eggs, have feet, and are warm-blooded) and to distinguish noncritical attributes (some birds fly, but not all birds). Examples and nonexamples are used to help students construct new concepts (a diary is a primary source, but a novel is not).
The primary purpose of concept teaching is to learn new concepts. It is also effective for teaching higher-level thinking, including inductive reasoning, hypothesis formation, logical reasoning, concept building strategies, and taking multiple perspectives (Is a slave's concept of slavery different from a master's concept?). Although not designed to convey large amounts of information, students must process information as they formulate new concepts.
Concept teaching has four phases. In phase 1 the teacher explains the purposes of the lesson, describes why concepts are important, and gets students ready to learn. The second phase consists of presentation of examples and nonexamples of the concept. The teacher gives examples and nonexamples, and the students strive to discover the concept and its attributes through inductive reasoning.
After the concept has been discovered, the teacher gives more examples and nonexamples, then asks students to provide examples and nonexamples. The purpose of this tactic is to test student understanding of the concept and its attributes. A concept lesson concludes with the teacher asking students to analyze their thinking patterns, strategies, and decisions in order to develop more effective thinking skills and to help students integrate the new concepts into existing knowledge.
The learning environment for concept teaching has a moderate degree of structure in that the teacher controls the first three phases of the lesson rather tightly. The fourth phase is more open and student interaction is encouraged. As students gain more experience with concept learning, they can assume increasing responsibility for how the lesson proceeds.
Discussion. Discussion is central to all aspects of teaching. Classroom discussion may serve as a strategy in itself or as part of another strategy. Teachers and students talking about academic content and students displaying their ideas and thinking processes to the teacher and to each other characterize discussions. Effective discussions go beyond question-and-answer recitations. The more involved students are in the discussion, the more effective the learning.
Theoretical support for classroom discussions stems from the study of language and patterns of discourse and from constructivist psychologists, such as Lev Vygotsky, who believed that most learning occurs through language-based social interactions.
Discussion is an appropriate strategy for improving student thinking; promoting engagement in academic content; and learning communication and thinking skills in a social environment. Discussion is particularly appropriate for topics that are subjective or controversial and that involve several points of view, such as the causes of World War I or funding of stem-cell research.
Classroom discussion proceeds through five phases. The teacher introduces the discussion by providing a clear purpose for the discussion and engaging students so they will become involved. This is followed by phase 2 where the teacher sets the ground rules, then poses a question, raises an issue, or presents a puzzling situation.
Phase 3 is the discussion itself. The teacher asks questions, uses wait-time, responds to students' ideas, and enforces the ground rules. The teacher keeps the discussion focused and encourages all students to participate. Using visual cues and posting a written record of main ideas keeps the discussion focused. Skillful, well-planned questioning is critical, and each discussion should include a mixture of factual and thought-provoking questions. Pairing students or putting them in small groups can increase their participation during a discussion.
The teacher provides closure in phase 4 by (1) summarizing; (2) asking students to summarize the content and meaning of the discussion; and (3) tying it back to the initial question or problem. Finally, the teacher debriefs the process of the discussion by having students examine their thinking processes and reflect on their participation.
The teacher focuses and moderates the discussion, but broad and active student participation characterizes the learning environment. The atmosphere is one of open communication in which students feel free to express their ideas and ask questions. Teaching students to have high regard for other's ideas and to use interpersonal communication skills improves cognitive and social learning.
Cooperative learning. In cooperative learning students work together in small groups on a common learning task, coordinate their efforts to complete the task, and depend on each other for the outcome. Cooperative learning groups are characterized by student teams (of 2–6) working to master academic goals. Teams are normally comprised of learners of mixed ability, ethnicity, and gender. Rewards systems (grades) are designed for the group as well as individuals.
Cooperative learning is rooted in two theoretical traditions. First, it is based on the progressivism of John Dewey, particularly his idea that the school should mirror the values of the society and that classrooms should be laboratories for learning democratic values and behaviors. Students are prepared for civic and social responsibilities by participating in democratic classrooms and small problem-solving groups. Cooperative learning also has roots in constructivist theory and the perspective that cognitive change takes place as students actively work on problems and discover their own solutions. Particularly important is Lev Vygotsky's theories that students learn through language-based interactions with more capable peers and adults.
Cooperative learning has three distinct goals: academic achievement, acceptance of diversity through interdependent work, and development of cooperative social skills.
There are numerous approaches to cooperative learning and each proceeds in slightly different ways. However, in general, a cooperative learning lesson has six phases. The teacher begins the lesson by presenting the goals of the lesson, motivating students, and connecting the forthcoming lesson to previous learning. Procedures, timelines, roles and rewards are described. Required group processes or social skills may also be taught at the beginning of a cooperative learning lesson.
In phase 2 the teacher facilitates the acquisition of the academic content that is the focus of the lesson. This may be done verbally, graphically, or with text. The teacher during phase 3 explains how the teams are formed and helps students make transitions into their groups. Phase 4 is teamwork. Students work together on cooperative tasks and the teacher assists students and groups, while reminding them of their interdependence.
The final phases of a cooperative learning lesson consists of phase 5 (assessment) and phase 6 (recognition). The teacher tests student knowledge or groups present their work. Individual students and groups are assessed on cooperation as well as academic achievement. The effort of individuals and groups are recognized through displays, newsletters, presentations, or other public forums.
The learning environment for cooperative learning differs markedly from the traditional individualistic classroom environment. Students assume active roles and take responsibility for their own learning. The social atmosphere is collaborative and respectful of differences. Students learn group processes and problem-solving skills and become increasingly independent in using them. Students construct their own learning through active engagement with materials, problems, and other students. The teacher forms the teams, structures the group work, provides materials, and determines the reward structure, but the students direct their own work and learning.
Problem-based instruction. In problem-based instruction students are presented with authentic, meaningful problems as a basis for inquiry and investigation. Sometimes called project-based instruction, inquiry learning, or authentic investigation, this strategy is designed to promote problem solving and higher-level thinking skills. All problem-based instruction strategies include more or less the following features: a driving question or problem, interdisciplinary focus, authentic investigation, production of artifacts or exhibits, and collaboration. This strategy is designed to involve students in the kinds of real-world thinking activities they will encounter outside of school from childhood through adulthood. Sample problems include the following:
- Why did the settlers at Jamestown die?
- How can we recycle in the school cafeteria?
- What causes clouds to form different shapes?
- How much peanut butter does our school need for a year and how much would it cost?
- Why did some civilizations thrive while others died out?
- What will happen if the world population doubles in five years?
Like cooperative learning, problem-based instruction has its roots in the progressivism of John Dewey and the constructivism of Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Jerome Bruner. Dewey argued that learning should be relevant and engaging through the involvement of students in group projects of their own interest. Piaget theorized that learning occurs through active investigations of the environment in which students construct personally meaningful knowledge. Vygotsky stressed the importance of social, language-based learning. Bruner emphasized the importance of learners working with their own ideas and finding meaning through active involvement and personal discovery.
The primary goal of problem-based instruction is learning content through inquiry that can be applied in authentic situations. Students learn to think and behave like adult workers, scholars, and problem solvers and to regulate their own learning. They learn collaboration skills and research and inquiry strategies, and gain an understanding of knowledge as complex, multifaceted, and uncertain.
Problem-based instruction involves five phases similar to those in cooperative learning. A lesson may extend over several days or even weeks. Phase 1 is orientation to the problem. The teacher presents the problem or driving question, provides the parameters for student inquiry, and motivates students to engage in problem-solving activities. In phase 2 the teacher assists students in forming study groups and assists the groups in defining, planning, and organizing tasks and timelines, and by clarifying roles and responsibilities.
During the students' investigation, phase 3, the teacher encourages, questions, and assists students in data/information gathering, hypothesis formulation and testing, and the generation of explanations and solutions. Guiding and coaching is emphasized, not directing and telling.
Problem-based lessons are brought to conclusion through student presentation of products and exhibits, phase 4, and through reflection, phase 5. The teacher assists students in planning, preparing, and presenting products that share their work with others. These might include reports, videos, multimedia presentations, murals, plays, reenactments, models, diaries, or computer programs. After presentations, the teacher helps students reconstruct and analyze their thinking processes and integrate their learning.
Problem-based instruction is the most student centered of the strategies presented. Students work actively and independently on problems that interest them. This requires an environment that is open and safe for asking questions, forming hypotheses, and sharing ideas. The teacher's role is to pose problems, ask questions, facilitate investigation and dialogue, and provide support for learning.
See also: CURRICULUM, SCHOOL; DEVELOPMENTAL THEORY, subentry on VYGOTSKYAN THEORY; DEWEY, JOHN; ELEMENTARY EDUCATION, subentryon CURRENT TRENDS; PIAGET, JEAN; SECONDARY EDUCATION, subentry on CURRENT TRENDS.
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RICHARD I. ARENDS
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