4.4 Designing Coherent Instruction in the area of Lesson and Unit Structure. To me, 4.4 means designing instruction that has a clear focus on well-defined learning targets and progresses students with proper scaffolding. This structure not only displays a coherent relationship from lesson-to-lesson or unit-to-unit, but appropriately “chunks” information in order to encourage students to access prior knowledge and facilitate long-term learning. The assignment to create a lesson plan for this course was the most beneficial assignment of the quarter. At first, I felt overwhelmed by this task with limited prior exposure to lesson design. Although, through our collaborative learning, high-quality questioning in class and a thorough revision process, I am comfortable creating a lesson plan and identifying the important components included for effective instruction. To name just a few; clear learning targets, informal and formal assessment, academic language, modeling, practice/supportive activities, student voice assessments, and differentiated instruction. With this foundation of knowledge, I am able to identify strengths and weaknesses of lesson plans and self-reflect on the lesson plans I create at my internship and further down the road. Figure 1, from my End-of-Quarter Lesson Plan, exemplifies the incorporation of many of these components. Specifically, figure 1 demonstrates my incorporation of differentiated instruction, which was a point of emphasis for this course.
I had always had the predisposition that differentiated instruction was used exclusively for ELL students and students with IEP’s, but it was discussed in class how talented and gifted learners are often not provided the necessary instruction as well. This was a new perspective I had not considered before in lesson design and application is apparent in figure 1. In addition, instructors during this course modeled the importance and power of questions. I believe high-quality questions connect to “designing coherent instruction” by encouraging students of metacognition and furthering students’ understanding of learning targets. Marzano states, “Another type of inferential question requires students to use the information provided in the critical-input experiences to infer what must be true or is likely to be true. To answer these questions, students must use their ability to reason logically with the information presented. Hence, they are called “reasoned” inferences” (2007, p.49). Furthermore, an aspect of coherent lesson structure is adaptability, which correlates closely with the importance of questions and the variety of avenues learning can be directed. To students, coherent instruction in the area of lesson and unit structure is apparent through the connection of content. Though students may not initially identify the relationship between content, it should become evident through the progression of the learning process. Students should be able to see purpose behind activities and their link to the learning targets. In addition, students identify coherent instruction through the access of prior knowledge and the scaffolding applied. In order to grow in designing coherent instruction, I must utilize the revision process and the labeling of components that were used for the End-of-Quarter Lesson Plan. It is helpful to label such aspects as language function, language demand, language support and academic language. This allows for effective self-reflection and identifying areas of deficiencies. For example, if the academic language is not properly present and used throughout the lesson, it will be evident based on the lack of “AL” in the designed lesson plan. In addition, I will continue to utilize peer review as I develop lesson design skills. The revision process is vital in the design of coherent instruction in the area of lesson and unit structure.
Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: a comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, VA; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).