The whole purpose for this site is so that my teachers and I can share in our profession. So, I’ll get right down to it. Research continues to support Madeline Hunter’s theories and practices. In this section, I wish to review and discuss each chapter of the updated edition by Robin Hunter. Madeline Hunter’s Mastery Teaching: Increasing Instructional Effectiveness in Elementary and Secondary Schools.
The great thing about this professional book is that it is formatted for staff or campuses to have a book study. I highly recommend utilizing the study guide to use for either group or individual study. This blog is not meant to substitute the entire practice of a book study but to either pose questions or trigger interest, and to supply my teachers with an area for professional discussion. Therefore, I highly recommend reading the chapter first, process and then read the blog. Then recommend a discussion strand.
The first chapter Decisions in Teaching, eloquently identifies what we as teachers do on a daily basis and that is, to make decisions. How do our decisions impact a student’s learning when we as teachers decide what and how concepts, processes, and ideas are taught? There is no doubt that this is a critical part of our job as teachers.
Hunter categorizes all teaching decisions into three categories. In short, deciding on the content, the student behavior (and I’m not talking about the discipline kind) and the teacher behavior of what to do next as a result of the first two decisions made. (Hunter, 4).
One of the most critical decisions is deciding on what to teach. This is the first decision that teachers need to make. My a-ha moment came after reading this chapter. The route and decisions that the district decided to move towards. It’s nothing new, but the learning curve for our teachers, the unconscious decisions that our teachers were making has been a grueling ordeal for buy-in to change. Change management is a whole other topic. However, lets get back to the basics of our decisions. The first being the what and that is what we have been trying to do as a team at all the campuses I’ve been assigned for the first semester.
I’m hoping this will reiterate the importance of all our work in the first semester. To continue with the understanding is to realize that there are dependent and independent sequences. Some information or skills can be learned out of order, while other skills or content need a prerequisite to continue learning. After many, many, years of teaching we take things for granted. Could you imagine thinking about the simple fact whether something should be taught in order or not in order while planning? It could save so much time and we wouldn’t bore our students with unnecessary or time wasting activities! In all honesty, this is where understanding the state standards is critical in nature.
Teachers, think about this. Know your students and what skills and prior knowledge they come with. This way, when you plan, you can move students along further or bridge the gaps in an effective manner by maximizing the state standards.