What Do Students Need to Learn?
What do students need to learn is the most fundamental question a teacher or any educator should know how to answer. Thus content objectives must be defined in order to serve as bases of what students should know and be able to do. Relative to them is that these objectives support the school district and state content standards and learning outcomes (Lowell Public Schools, 2006). Consequently, they will emphasize language and literacy objectives as necessary to supplement content learning, that is— certain skills will be required such as basic computational skills, using a calculator, working with a protractor, and others. These presuppose the use of learning materials that are appropriate and relevant, fit to address student capabilities and needs. With all learning parameters set up, evaluation and assessment will ensure an effective learning experience has been taking place.
Yet these educational ventures can be further elaborated by planning and educational technology. Planning is a must to ensure quality instructional implementation. Much more if planning is based on technological ground that will make the educational journey a real wonder, filled with many expectations. Technology has come a long way today. Information technology revolutionizes how information is being relayed. Before, resources are limited to dilapidated books and antiquities, but now computers serve as stations where just a button press, the information searched appears right there and then. This is what teachers currently are at advantage over their predecessors. They can extract and look for information of varied scopes and levels at one setting and can do comparison of ideas— to teach only what can be significant and useful. The web offers a tremendous amount of resources, perhaps the extent of the mind is the limit. With the internet revolution, students are made aware of its value, and learning is no longer confined to the four walls of the classroom, but computers make possible avenues of knowledge long before thought to be impossible. Students thus become computer-literates and ready to browse for information for learning purposes.
But still approaches are necessary to frame up the lessons. It is true that how technologically advanced a civilization is, if no procedures are adapted to the learning styles of individuals— then the learning process is not fully enjoyed in its potential. Thus, structured frameworks for content literacy are established to address a quality instructional implementation. There are several approaches as defined, namely— direct instruction, in which the teacher first states explicitly what is to be learned and models the skill or process; instructional framework, which lends itself to conceptually complex topics that may evolve over longer periods of instructions divided into three component: preparation, guidance, and independence; K-W-L, in which students identify what they know about a topic, then decide what they want to find out about it, and finally discussing what they have learned; directed reading and thinking activity, in which activation, prediction, reading the text and confirming and revising as major steps; and reciprocal teaching, which features instruction and practice of four comprehension strategies, and a special kind of cognitive apprenticeship.
The practice of these frameworks makes possible effective instructional implementation, and ensures that the learning process is fully achieved. More than that, ways to finalize the educational assimilation is translated in variant forms of teaching and relative factors. One particular aspect is integrated language processes, which anchors the knowledge on the synthesis of the language arts skill processes. Interdisciplinary teaching on the other hand is expert functioning at a contributative level for the development of individuals’ potentials. Another one is thematic teaching, an approach that is interdisciplinary/integrated, organized around themes, with many hands-on activities and in-depth study of content (Innovative Teaching Concepts, 2006). All of these can be a significant representation of an integrative curriculum that emphasizes unity of purpose, choice, audience, resources and relevance— as the premier characteristic of unit planning.
Therefore, what do students need to learn is an educational question answered in several ways: In my school, testing is given emphasis, whether through formative or summative assessments— which can be oral or written, timed or untimed, individual or group, subjective or objective, and paper-pencil or hands-on tasks. We employ standardized tests, which are commercially prepared tests used to assess the achievement of large number of students in reading, math and other academic areas and are administered and scored in a consistent manner (Wikipedia, 2008); authentic assessment, the engagement of students to tasks that approximate real-world situations; and performance assessment, graded according to externally established criteria or benchmark. Consequently, results make a significant contribution to the determination of appropriate steps necessary to beef up students’ achievement, particularly in MSA. The data obtained become the bases to which the current operational principles of our school have been founded at and applied for.
By Cromwell Artiaga, Ed. D.
Innovative Teaching Concepts (2006). What are Thematic Teaching and Curriculum Integration? Retrieved March 17, 2008, from TodaysTeacher.com Website Website: http://www.todaysteacher.com/ThematicTeaching.htm
Lowell Public Schools (2006). Content Objectives. Retrieved March 17, 2008, from Lowell Public Schools Website Website: http://www.lowell.k12.ma.us/depts/curriculum/usip-common-language 2006-07/content-objectives
Wikipedia (2008). Standardized Test. Retrieved March 17, 2008, from Wikipedia Website Website: http://www.todaysteacher.com/ThematicTeaching.htm