“Each time we develop instructional materials, we learn something new.”
As educators we sometimes teach the same topic and/or grade level from year to year. It’s easy to get into a rut and maintain the same materials and methods used to deliver specific content instruction. Although I am no longer in the classroom, working with adults is a similar experience. Every year and every professional development session has various learners who come with various previous experiences and prior knowledge. Instructional delivery and the materials used, must be modified to meet meet the needs of the learners. As educators, modifying our instructional delivery methods and materials provides us with greater knowledge of various learners and as time moves on we continue to improve our craft.
When designing one’s instructional message or developing instructional materials, it is essential to keep your audience in mind. The delivery methods, pace of instruction, and range of materials needed are dependent on the age and experience of the learners. Open ended pre-tests, clearly stated objectives, and descriptive brief overviews provide learners with an awareness of the content being shared, the intentions for teaching and learning, and basic background knowledge to build on or prompt connections to previously learned content. Graphic organizers, detailed photos or pictures, and concrete examples also support short and long-term memory storage of content being learned.
I’m not afraid to make changes to my teaching methods or materials. I become better at what I do when I am challenged by a learner to express the same concept in a new way that meets their needs. In life, as a learner, I do not use graphic organizers. When teaching, it’s important to remember that my instruction is not for me, it’s for the learners in my setting. If graphic organizers can serve a purpose for my students, I will use them. With that said, I am aware that my graphic organizers and graphics in general need work. Always improving my craft…
Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kalman, H. K., and Kemp, J. E. (2013). Designing effective instruction (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publications.