Setting Goals: Comparing strategic perspectives in the lesson planning models

 Lesson plans and unit plans for teaching and the LEAP plan for learning are examples of teaching strategies (11.4. use technology to facilitate teaching strategies specific to the discipline). Though these teaching strategies are generic to every content area, integrating those special technologies unique to a discipline makes them subject specific. There are many ways though to extend their use into other content areas, further connecting them with the broad range of human endeavor.  It is time to look specifically at the relationship between the LEAP model that has been used for every week's assignments from the beginning of the semester and the 6 point lesson plans required in many methods classes and of every student teacher.

Planning is one the most important criteria in evaluating teachers and instructors. For those becoming teachers it is generally the first item listed in a Student Teacher Exit Criteria form. Detailed planning is a critical first step to a successful educational experience, for both teachers and their students. The four stage LEAP model and the six stage lesson plan model are different ways to think about planning. See the image below as to how they relate. The LEAP model takes a more learner oriented perspective, asking: what information the student needs to Look for; what kinds of inventive experiences will lead to creations that Evoke a response in others; what systems are in place that provide a formative way for learners to Assess their progress, and how learners will Publish or share the products of their learning.

Based on the targeted goals or objectives, the LEAP model also asks for teachers to add an additional goal to its first stage, to find the authentic problem solving opportunities of a topic. That is, teachers and students must also Look for questions. What are the real questions, the questions the lead to direct application in real world settings? Once these questions or established the learning experiences should turn to Looking for answers and contributions to the question. What answers or partial answers can be found? By comparison, the six point lesson plan focuses the teacher on just the goals and competencies at hand, which too often leads to just further development of simple activities for sub-goals or sub-competencies. The LEAP model puts the accent on authentic activities for the learner and the learner's initiative; the six point lesson plan puts the emphasis on detailing sub-competencies for the teacher's leadership. Looking at curriculum activities from both perspectives, the learner's point of view and the teacher's point of view, is not only useful, but essential. One curriculum theorist used to refer to this as balancing the teeter-totter (Herbert Kliebart). By providing authentic questions of learner interest, educators can create a balance between learners' need for motivation and the needs of experts and their competencies.

Within the four stage problem solving process headings of LEAP ((large black letters), the basic structure of a 6 point lesson plan will be added as numbered headings to this and other weeks' pages in their own color: 1. objectives, 2. focus and review, 3. teacher input, 4. guided practice, 5. independent practice, 6. closure. The point of considering the relationship between the two strategies is to build curriculum that works towards a balance of learner (student) centered or directed activities AND teacher centered or directed activities. This is critical to motivation and personal learning relevance.

Chapter Parent Frame  | Updated October 16, 2003 | Page Author: Houghton