Monday, March 26, 2012

Clarifying Practice versus Problem

In the Engaged Learning section of the H.E.A.T./H.E.A.R.T. rubric, two of the look-fors reference a "teacher-directed problem." When considering this type of look-for, the observer needs to distinguish "teacher-directed practice" versus a "teacher-directed problem." A teacher-directed problem possesses the following characteristics:
• invites multiple solutions
• possesses a real-world context
• requires higher order thinking (applying and above)
• elicits student's natural curiosity

Teacher-directed practice is just the opposite. These learning episodes focus on single solutions (e.g., worksheet), hover around the remembering and understanding levels of Bloom's taxonomy, and typically provide students with repetitive problems in which to solve. Teacher-directed practice is often associated with lower levels of engagement (students reporting only what they have learned).

Recognizing the difference between these two constructs can increase the reliability of your H.E.A.T./H.E.A.R.T. walkthroughs and provide staff with a more accurate indicator of the level of teaching innovation in the classroom.