In class I have been reading The Motivated Student by Bob Sullo. It is a very interesting book about how to be a quality teacher when trying to motivate and engage students effectively. One of the chapters that stuck out to me was chapter 13. Sullo stated that “deep learning requires time to progress new information so that students move beyond surface knowledge and develop the competence to apply what they have learned” (Sullo 144). I couldn’t agree with this more. From my own experience over the years as a student, there are often times when I was assigned numerous things at one time. It was hard to focus and put in my best effort when there simply wasn’t enough time to sit down and really think critically about it. This chapter teaches us to teach less and teach deeply. It is important as a teacher that the students become fully engaged in each lesson and really get something meaningful out of it.
Over the weeks at where I’ve been observing, I noticed my host teacher struggling with this. She has recently started teaching a module. She likes the module and feels it has adequate materials and ideas, but she nearly races against the clock each day. The lessons that are planned out each day incorporate too many activities and concepts. Often times, my teacher has to cut out certain parts of the lesson just so she doesn’t start to fall behind. It’s difficult to teach when you constantly feel rushed, which results in the students being rushed to do their work. If the lessons were planned out in a way that gave them ample time to complete, more meaningful learning will occur. Students will have a better grasp at various concepts when they are given the time to actually do it in depth, rather than breezing over it.
Sullo also stresses the use of objectives and how they help guide both the teacher and the student. He concludes that “it gives a common understanding of where we’re trying to go and what teachers want their students to know and be able to do at the conclusion of the lesson” (Sullo 109). I noticed that my host teacher uses objectives quite effectively. Every day she writes what she calls “learning targets” that works as objectives, stating what the class will be doing, why they are doing it, and what they will learn from it. Throughout the class, she will refer back to these targets that are written on the board to show the relationship between them and the activities they partake it. I think it is helpful for students to fully grasp the reasoning behind what they are learning so they understand the importance of it.