Honing instructional skills

I’ve been attempting to read Char Booth’s book Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning but have gotten distracted by the umpteen deadlines in the past two weeks. Since my not so great workshop on Tuesday, the theme of the week has been instruction. So I’m diving back in and completing the targets for the introduction.


While reading this book, I will:

  • challenge myself to try two new instructional strategies.
  • explore ideas around active learning exercises.
  • discover useful strategies for engaging students/staff/faculty across multiple skill levels (differentiated instruction)

To reach these goals, I will develop my skills in the following specific areas:

  • developing relevant and specific learning objectives for data literacy instruction
  • creating focused and relevant discussion questions to engage students/staff/faculty
  • incorporating metacognitive skill development into each data literacy instructional session or workshop

These goals and objectives will result in the following learner changes (…ummm, honestly I don’t know. It’s hard for me to imagine exactly how these things will impact learners at this point. I guess I would like for…)

  • students/staff/faculty with various levels of research experience to be engaged throughout the session;
  • the more experienced researchers to support the less experienced researchers; and
  • the students/staff/faculty to have the ability to implement strategies covered during the session within the context of their own research.

I am really liking the user-friendly breakdown of instructional literacy into reflective practice, educational theory, teaching technologies, and instructional design. What I often struggle with is taking those concepts, ideas, and strategies and applying them during my instruction. Until my sophmore year of college, I had terrible stage-fright and tended to lose my voice entirely when forced to speak in public. I broke through that fear when I taught ballroom dance. Teaching group classes and co-hosting weekly social dances helped me develop public speaking skills. A lot of the skills I learned then apply to public speaking and classroom instruction, but I have some habits that don’t translate so well. Now seems like an opportune time to replace those old standbys with more effective ways to engage in a classroom setting.

By Heather L. Coates

One comment on “Honing instructional skills

  1. Pingback: The what I’m reading post… | Heather L Coates

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