# Principles and Methods of Teaching
#education #teaching #EDUC130
# Designing Learning: Instruction
# Indirect Instruction
Food for thought: What does it mean to involve learners? What should teachers to do involve learners?
# What is Indirect Instruction?
TL;DR: Teaching Concepts by Inquiry and Problem Solving
What is indirect instruction?
- As you might easily guess from its name, indirect instruction is to teach students “indirectly”. The best way to understand this is to compare it to direct instruction.
- In direct instruction, or what is also referred to as explicit instruction, students are taught the content in the most direct way possible - since the goal is efficiency. In teaching explicitly, the teacher’s role is quite prominent - as the expert and source of information and evaluator.
- Critiques of direct instruction would say that the problem with this approach is that it sometimes dismisses the fact that learners have the capacity to contribute and construct knowledge, not just to be passive receivers of information.
- This paradigm is grounded in the theory of Constructivism (same as Cards/Constructionism?). Therefore, if we are to understand what indirect instruction is, it’s best to begin with what constructivism is in education. Here’s a brief overview about it.
“Constructivist lessons are designed and sequenced to encourage learners to ==use their own experiences to actively construct meaning that makes sense to them==, rather than to acquire understanding through exposure to a format exclusively organized by the teacher (Borich, 2016; Llewellyn, 2007; Schunk, 2011). By reflecting on their own experiences, students continually change what they believe, discard old information and accept new information, and question, explore, and assess what they know.” (Borich, 2017)
- According to constructivism, involvement does not just mean physical activity, but ==cognitive activity== as well - acknowledging that there is much to be draw from students’ prior knowledge and experience, and that they have the capacity to construct and discover meaning.
- This opposes a typical imagery of teaching wherein a teacher pours knowledge from his or her head to a students’ head (This imagery often assumes that students enter the classrooms as “tablua rasa” or blank slates"). See Cards/Banking model of education
- According to Borich, this method of teaching is best used in helping students meet Type 2 objectives (Concepts, Patterns, Relationships).
- To help you further grasp the concept of indirect instruction, here’s a table comparing the “traditional classroom” with a “constructivist classroom”
# Discussion Board
Review the table above. Based on how the constructivist classroom is described, have you experienced constructivism/indirect instruction yourself? Share a story and identify which of the characteristics from the table were present in that experience. (It could be in a formal or informal learning scenario)
I see constructivism in my Philippine Design class, which I’m currently taking this semester. Usually, my Information Design classes would be traditional in terms of instruction; in these classes, teachers acted as experts (of software, of theory, etc.) that disseminated knowledge to their students. However, my professor, Sir. Karl Castro designed this class to be different than the rest. Here are traits of a constructivist classroom that I found present in his class:
- The curriculum emphasizes big concepts, beginning with the whole and expanding to include the parts.
- Sir. names his modules after abstract concepts (e.g. rooting, hybridity, worlding, negotiation)
- Materials include primary sources of information and manipluative materials.
- At the start of every module, Sir. introduces us to its theme by exposing us to relevant movies, documentaries, and readings.
- Another way he introduces us to the theme is through interactive activities. For example: when he was teaching us about indigenization, he made us bring food to class that went through this process.
- Learning is interactive, building on what the student already knows.
- Once we’re done going through his recommended materials/activities, he makes us process them through class discussions, whether they be in Canvas or Arete.
- His discussion prompts would often ask us to relate our insights to our own experiences (e.g. “Have you encountered this in your everyday life?”)
- Assessment includes student works, observations, and points of views, as well as tests. The process is as important as the product.
- Aside from class discussions, he also makes us do creative works. The assignments he’d give are out of the ordinary; for the last two modules, I had to do the following: (1) make an installation piece with my own clothes, and (2) redesign a food product in a Filipino and un-Filipino way.
- Before submitting our final output, he makes us share our process on Canvas. This is done by providing personal notes, sketches, moodboards, etc.
- Teachers have a dialogue with students, helping them construct their own knowledge.
- Once our outputs are finished, they critiqued by Sir. and our other classmates. Sir. does critique by engaging in dialogue with the students, asking questions like “What made you choose this direction?” and “Have you considered ____?”.
- Sir. only does direct instruction (i.e. lecturing with slides) after making us construct our own knowledge.
# How is Indirect Instruction done?
Indirect instruction comes in many forms and strategies. Sometimes, an inquiry-based approach can take the place of the whole learning process for a particular lesson, while sometimes indirect instruction type of activities are done as part of a direct instruction structure (ok, I hope I didn’t confuse you there). Let’s take a look at a range of examples of this method in action.
- Indirect Instruction in an elementary class - whole class discussion: Here, notice how the teacher introduces the concepts of the hundreds, tens and ones place not by directly providing examples, but by asking students to contribute their ideas.
- Indirect Instruction in a high school class - Jigsaw Strategy: Another specific strategy is called the Jigsaw strategy. As with the previous clip, you will still see the teacher greatly involved, but in the strategy, there is a clear attempt to make students active participants in knowledge construction.
- Indirect Instruction in an elementary class - projects and questions: One of the reasons why indirect instruction is getting more traction in the past few years is because of the availability of technology.
- In this second example, instead of the teachers giving the information to students, they frame the learning process through questions and projects instead, and provides guidance along the way.
- Here’s another example of inquiry-based learning, and how this type of learning shifts the classroom from teacher-guided to student-driven.
- Indirect Instruction- Project-based learning: One of the most popular forms of indirect instruction is called project-based learning. In this strategy, students are presented with a problem to solve or a project to do, which becomes the impetus for them to learn the science, math, etc. that is part of the curriculum.
- Here’s another example.
- Sometimes, indirect teaching comes in other forms, such as the use of the case study method. In higher education, this is a more common form of implementation. Watch this short clip of how the Case Study Method is used in Harvard MBA.
# Teaching Challenge: Indirect Instruction
Now, you might be thinking, indirect instruction is very disorganized! Well, not really. Most inquiry-based teaching actually follow a certain framework (there are many). For the purpose of trying it out in this course we will refer to this:
This is a common inquiry-cycle model, where the lesson begins with Ask and cycles through the 4 other components. In the process of inquiry, students identify problems,
brainstorm solutions, formulate questions, investigate problems, analyze and interpret results, discuss, reflect, make conclusions, and present results. This cycle of inquiry serves as a general model for teachers planning inquiry activities that can guide students through the inquiry process.
- To promote the desire to discover, the teacher begins by raising questions and inviting students to plan the inquiry procedures and presentation of findings. The teacher initiates the inquiry process by posing the lesson topic in the form of a question and then probing, prompting, and redirecting student responses to establish the inquiry climate. This is called the ==teacher-initiated phase.==
- When students are comfortable with the process, the teacher encourages them to raise a question of their own, to plan a procedure for answering the question, to determine how to carry out the procedure, and to decide how the results might be presented. This is called the ==student-initiated phase.== This phase is a vehicle for building student-initiated questions and student-directed procedures that bring students to an independent level of inquiry. A question or a problem is the focus at this stage, which may be redefined later in the inquiry process.
- After a student question is agreed on, the next step is to investigate it. At this stage of the inquiry, students are asked to recall prior knowledge or experiences related to the question and to brainstorm possible methods of investigating it by identifying resources and designing and carrying out a plan of action. Students may also redefine their question as new information unfolds. This ==information-gathering stage== is a self-motivated process that is owned by the engaged students.
- When the teacher and students have jointly determined that sufficient information has been gathered, students are asked to begin thinking critically about the relationship between the information (evidence) and their question—for example, how the information may or may not answer the question fully or completely. Here students ==synthesize the information they have uncovered to create new knowledge==, which may be beyond their and possibly the teacher’s prior experience. They start thinking critically about the appropriateness of their question or hypothesis, redefine their question and/or construct new ones, and decide whether to gather more data.
- Some interim product is expected at this stage, such as a chart synthesizing the information collected, an oral presentation that summarizes progress thus far, or a list of new or redefined questions.
- At this stage, students discuss their findings, new ideas, and experiences with one another. Students ==share their experiences and investigations in their learning community==, which can be a collaborative group or the entire class.
- When a small-group format is used, different groups may use the inquiry process to answer different questions that may have evolved from the previous steps (i.e. Steps 2 and 3).
- The task at this stage may include comparing notes, discussing conclusions, and sharing experiences across groups.
- After discussion, ==students critique and communicate their results to their learning community (group or class), during which they are expected to reflect on their newly acquired knowledge.== Methods for presenting findings are selected in consultation with the teacher.
- These methods can include a traditional written or oral report or a more extensive multimedia presentation, production, or exhibit.
- Students’ tasks include reflecting on the appropriateness of their question, their methods of investigation, and the accuracy of their conclusions. These tasks encourage students, either in groups or as a class, to evaluate whether a satisfactory solution was found, whether a new question is warranted, and, if so, what the new question might be by taking inventory of what has been done and making new observations. If new questions emerge, the cycle of inquiry can start again with a new lesson.
Here’s another design challenge. Using the framework above, try to design an inquiry-based activity for your lesson’s topic. Since inquiry activities can be for a few minutes to several days/sessions, I will give you the freedom to determine the timeframe yourself. 1.) Identify the year level and topic 2.) Identify One (1) Type 2 objective 3.) Propose a set of instructional activities based on the inquiry cycle.
Year Level and Topic: Cultural Studies of Contemporary Technology for 4th Year University Students
Type 2 Objective: Students should be able to critique timely and relevant sociotechnical issues rooted in the Philippine postcolonial experience.
- Ask: Present a technology with a prompt. How would this manifest in a future Philippines?
- Investigate: Relate to own experiences? Make use of insights from class?
- Create: process journal
- Discuss: share their progress so far with the other students.
- Reflect: multimedia output
While creating my instructional activities, I was inspired by this experimental course called “Imagining Futures: Speculative Design and Social Justice”. It seeks to disrupt dominant narratives about “the future” by exploring alternative futures imagined by and with marginalized communities. Instead of doing just traditional essays and research papers, students also have to create “short-form, theoretically-founded, and collaborative art projects.” These projects come from the hands-on methods of speculative design and critical making. I wanted to apply a similar approach to this class!
ASK: 1st week Here, I will present an emerging technology to the class (e.g. crypto, AI, VR, etc.). Then, I will give them this prompt: “How would this technology manifest in a future Philippines?” To answer this, they must create a speculative scenario. This could be done in any format they desire (e.g. presentation, film, artwork with explanation, etc.). My main expectation is that it must touch on possible sociotechnical issues (i.e. will this replicate existing systems of oppression like capitalism and classism?). The class will be divided into groups in order to make this project easier for them.
I’m seeing this activity as a final project for class, so I’ll probably put all of the above in a Canvas page, along with other needed details (e.g. rubric). I’ll also discuss the final project during a synchronous session so that they could ask questions.
INVESTIGATE: 1st - 2nd week Before they can come up with an output, the students must go through intense research. This will primarily be done through scouring secondary resources like news articles, journals, documentaries, etc. Since this is an project, I’ll also encourage them to lean on their own experiences as Filipinos. If they have prior experience with the presented technology, this could inform the creation of their output.
While they go through this process, I’ll continue to provide synchronous lectures and asynchronous modules on critical theories they could make use of (e.g. Marxism, Structuralism).
CREATE: 3rd week In the middle of the month, I’ll do a checkpoint in Canvas. Here, students have to post findings or experiments from their research process so far. This could be as simple as a bullet point list of sources or as complex as a slide deck of their references. No matter what format they choose, students must demonstrate their creative process and the theories they’ve used from class to inform this.
DISCUSS: 3rd week In this same checkpoint page, I’ll also require students to reply to at least one of their classmate’s posts. This must be a substantial reply. Saying “This is nice!” or “This is bad!” isn’t enough; there must be constructive feedback that can be used. I’m expecting that most of my students won’t have prior experience with critique. So to help them with this process, I’ll provide guidelines such as the Describe-Analyze-Interpret-Evaluate framework.
REFLECT: 4th week At the end of the month, the groups will present to the class. Here, they must describe the future they conceived (the final scenario), and explain what led them to this (supporting research + theory). When each group is done presenting, I will give them questions or comments on their output. Students from other groups are also free to do the same.
# Key Ideas: Indirect Instruction
1. In Indirect Instruction, students become ==co-creators.== In Indirect Instruction, the teacher is not the sole source of expertise and information. It acknowledges that students themselves can actively participate in the knowledge and skill building process. Because of this, ==the teacher’s role inevitably shifts from expert to guide.==
2. Indirect Instruction aims for higher order thinking skills. Inherent to indirect instruction is that students will be participating in activities that utilize ==higher order thinking skills== (ex. analyzing, evaluating, creating) - most of which often closely relate the lesson to its ==applicability in real-world scenarios.== This presupposes that you have clearly articulated learning objectives at these higher levels.
# Module 3 Exit Ticket
- In this module you learned two broad approaches in designing your instructional activities. Which of the two approaches do you feel more comfortable to utilize? Why?
Personally, I’m more comfortable utilizing direct instruction. This is because it’s the approach that I’ve been exposed to throughout my whole life. Whether I’d be in a school classroom or a dance studio, I’m used to receiving lessons from teachers, who I’d see as experts.
- Based on what you learned this module, what is effective teaching? (what additional insights did this module add to your definition of effective teaching?)
Based on what I’ve learned in this module, effective teaching…
- …prioritizes the student’s learning experience
- …uses the right tools for the right purpose
- …is structured/sequenced/scaffolded in an intentional way
- …enables students to actively participate in the knowledge and skill building process.
- …relates lessons to real-world scenarios
- Since it’s the last activity of the module, please also share about your experience as a learner in Module 3. How did you find Module 3? What helped you learn? What hindered learning? (It’s okay you can be honest. Your feedback will help me make necessary adjustments in the coming modules, if necessary).
I found the Module 3 easy to go through because of how it was broken down through design (e.g. use of lists, takeaways). Visual aids definitely helped with this! However, I have a bias towards images over videos. This is because they are faster and easier to process; as a busy student with ADHD, I struggle to pay attention to videos for an extended amount of time.
- The estimated learning time for the whole module is about 4.5 hours (about 1.5 hours per sub module). Did it take you that long? More or less? What were factors that contributed to the length of time?
I believe it took me more than 4.5 hours to go through the whole module. I think I took longer than usual because of the extra time and effort I put into the teaching challenge, because I really wanted to make it the best that it could be.