Article Review: Do Superior Teachers Employ Systematic Instructional Planning Procedures?

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¶ … Superior Teachers…

Review of "Do Superior Teachers.."

Do Superior Teachers…"

Young, a., Reiser, R., & Dick, W (1998). "Do superior teachers employ systematic instructional planning procedures? A descriptive study," Educational Technology, Research and Development, 46:2, 65"

Young, a., Reiser, R., & Dick, W (1998). "Do superior teachers employ systematic instructional planning procedures? A descriptive study," Educational Technology, Research and Development, 46:2, 65"

The article "Do superior teachers employ systematic instructional planning procedures? A descriptive Study" by Young, Reiser and Dick attempts to support the development of protocols or templates for systematic instructional planning, which clearly outline objectives and detail how instructional activities meet those objectives all in written form. The vested interest of the researchers is based on their own revamping of a systematic instructional planning procedure first developed by Ralph Tyler in 1949. The emphasis of the work is initially the importance of such written format planning, in both teacher education and classroom application and yet the "superior" teachers interviewed do not support this thesis. The main intention of the work was to discover if "superior" teachers where utilizing systematic instructional planning in the classroom and therefore determine if it is still important in the classroom beyond the learning of it.

According to the work it is surmised that instructional planning is an important aspect of classroom success as it is vital to influencing classroom instructional time, objective and even teaching styles. Student teachers are often introduced to instructional planning exercises and most often the objective-first planning model that was first outlined in 1949 by Ralph Tyler. This model has been in consistent use in teacher education almost since its inception. Two of the authors of this work, Reiser and Dick have developed a four point modernization of the model that includes; the clear definition of general goals and precise objectives to be achieved by the students, planning activities to meet defined objectives, measurement of the student's achievement and understanding of the objectives and finally the addition of a fourth step (adding to Tyler's objective-first model) the opportunity to alter the plan based on outcomes, to better meet the defined objectives of the lesson(s). According to the authors pre-service teachers often grasp this model, use it in both their own academic pursuits and by applying it to real time planning in the student teaching classroom and again according to the authors apply it with enthusiasm. Yet, in the classroom experienced teachers rarely utilize an objective-first written model but rather base planning activities on activities, i.e. they begin with the second step and rarely define objectives. In this skipping of a step the author's contend that some teachers may be missing an opportunity to discover how and why planned activities are effective (or ineffective) at achieving objectives for students. The supposition being that the teachers simply trust that past activities and even new activities are effective at meeting undefined objectives and finally imply that the revision opportunity at the close of the systematic planning process is no delineated and that teachers use less formal methods in the classroom to determine the effectiveness of any given activity. The authors then contend that the only way to ensure that teachers apply this planning model in the classroom would be to mandate it. Lastly the study group (i.e) the ten teacher respondents were taken from a list of teachers who had been identified as superior by peers and who were then nominated for "teacher of the year" in the U.S. Nineteen teachers were approached for the study and ten responded, the teachers were then surveyed using questionnaires and interviews with open ended questions.

Main Point

The main point of the article is to support through literature and evidence that systematic instructional planning is essential to "superior" teaching or at the least determine if teachers already designated as "superior" report the use of objective-first systematic instructional planning. The authors intention is not met with the study group used or with the research questions asked, as the designated research population was small, including only 10 respondents and the teachers supported non-written forms of instructional planning based on activities and student outcomes rather than clearly pre-defined objectives. The research offered to support the position is also conflicting, as the contrary literary evidence is overemphasized in the work. Yet, the author's still conclude with the argument that systematic instructional planning is important. The author's do however make the point that new teachers and teachers still in the teacher education system are the prime candidates for gaining from exposure to the application of systematic planning.

Main Argument

The authors contend that systematic instructional planning is supported through literature and anecdotal evidence to be a good template or model for understanding how to appropriately utilize objectives to plan instructional time and ultimately to meet those objectives. The authors contend through their own work and the work of others that developing such skill is foundational to meeting objectives with instructional time. The reasons the authors use to support their argument are demonstrated through literature but not through practical application.

Discussion of Conclusion

The authors conclude that "superior" teachers do not utilize "objective first" systematic instructional planning in their own planning but support that it is a proven, effective and welcomed teaching model for pre-service teachers.

Problems/Strengths

Problems with the article have been illuminated throughout the previous section of this review, the two main problems of the work are; sampling issues, data type and model. Sampling issues include sample choice and sample size. The sample the researchers chose was a sample of teachers who presumably exhibit several years of experience (given the nominations for "teacher of the year"). These teachers may have developed as "superior" teachers through early emphasis on systematic instructional planning and developed teaching and planning strategies which they consider effective and therefore capable of designation as solid experiential instructional methods. For this reason the true nature of how systematic instructional planning was used as a teacher's teaching tool was not assessed, even though the early pre-teacher educational use of the practice was emphasized in the article. Sample size is clearly an issue in the strategies of this research as the work only assessed 10 teachers. A large sample size may have shown a more mixed result or might have simply increased the number of participants who did not use the "objective-first" approach.

The methodology of the work is also lacking in that the questions asked of the participants were free-form and open ended (such as would be expected in a qualitative research design) but did not directly assess the importance of the elements of "objective-first" systematic instructional planning. The work might have designed questions in such a way that they would not require the variability of coding for important words or ideas but directly asked the nature of the planning process for these participants. Ultimately, the research did not develop a case for the merit of systematic "objective-first" instructional planning in the real world classroom. The teachers indicated instead that they did not focus on defined objectives and based planning of tried and true or even novice instruction without formal objectives but with time and student outcome as their guide.

All that being said the article was strong in its assessment and support of the fact that the teaching of "objectives-first" systematic instructional models to pre-service or early service teachers has merit. If the active research had focused more on this aspect of the theory it would have strengthened the work even more.

Suggested Fixes

The sample might have been more effective if larger, the sample choice might have been reviewed and the goal of the overall research might have been better if the research developed a better indication of how objective first planning models might have influenced the existing sample in earlier times or a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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