Running head: Theoretical Models Theoretical Models Jennifer Finehirsh Grand Canyon University RDG 525 July 6, 2010 Abstract The following paper will address four different instructional approaches, as well as the theories, which influenced each of them. It will them have a rational for way these four where chosen and how they affect the school setting. Theoretical Models There are many ways to teach new concepts to students. The four ways that you will read about today is the direct instruction model, cooperative learning, thematic teaching, and finally differentiated instruction.
The first model that we will look at is the direct instruction model. This model may be used in many different subjects and areas. According to one of the articles, direct instruction is an explicit, scientifically based model of effective instruction, which was developed in the 1960’s by a man named Siegfried Engelmann (Adams & Engelmann, 1996). The idea behind direct instruction is to get more accomplished in less time. The one way that this can be down is by controlling the environment and how the material is taught.
It is believed that within this model it is the teachers’ fault if the students did not learn, not the student’s fault for not learning what was taught. The model starts by teaching with the big idea in mind. Then the teacher needs to make sure that he or she is communicating clearly. The teachers are also to follow a clear format that is easy to be taught. They are to do this while making sure that the skills are taught in a particular sequence and assessing the students all the time, so that they know when to adjust their teaching skills.
This approach may work for a majority of student, but might do better with some of the cooperative learning incorporated into this model as well. With that being said, the second model that is of interest is the cooperative learning model. There are a dozen or more researchers that have developed cooperative training models, but the two people that we will look at today have had a lot to do with the cooperative learning model which many teachers use within their classrooms are Dr. Spencer Kagan and Miguel Kagan.
Starting back in 1982 Dr. Kagan began his company Kagan Publishing, which allowed him to help produce many different items for teachers to use within the classroom. The publishing books allowed teachers to introduce cooperative learning using the multiple intelligences (Kagan, 2002). According to an article Dr. Kagan says,” The Kagan structures have a profound impact on what is learned because their positive educational outcomes are a function of changing not what we teach but how we teach” (Kagan, 2002).
We can see cooperative learning as being a successful teaching strategy being used to assist small groups of students, which are at different developmental levels of ability, to help improve their understanding of new subjects. With that being said, within each team the member each have a job to do. If followed correctly it will result in team members helping each other learn and they will in turn all be learning in a positive way. The students will work together as a team to complete the task until all of the successful understand and complete it (Daniel, P. 004). The best part about this approach is that each and every child has a job to do with the help of their group and these skills that they are learning in cooperative learning will also help them with essential life skills, as well as how to work collaboratively. The third approach we will look at is thematic teaching. Thematic teaching is where a teacher plans so that the students can use what they have been learning in say Reading in all other areas of learning also. The concepts are not taught in isolation, instead they are taught within each area of the day.
According to one of the articles was read, thematic instruction has been proven to assist in higher learning gains within the classroom (Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2005). The goal that the teacher needs to remember is that when picking a theme it needs to be one that the students will find interesting, as well as age appropriate for their learning styles. When starting out the new theme it should be addressed so that it may cover many areas of knowledge and this will in turn keep the students wondering and asking questions.
With students asking questions, that means that they are engaged and when they are engaged students will be learning more. One of the statements that were found said, “Students learn through different modes, styles and multiple intelligences. Teachers should access and integrate these modes for increasing opportunities for students to access and retain new knowledge” (Gardner, 1993). This approach once again I found works great. I have used this approach within my classroom in the past, but like I said before I used it along with cooperative learning as well.
The last and final teaching approach we will look at is differentiated instruction. This is huge were I live. Differentiated instruction is done so that all children may learn at their level. Not every student learns the same or as quick as others, so this approach is to help address that problem within the classroom. With differentiated instruction the teacher is providing the students with a different avenue in so that all students can learn effectively, no matter what difference they have within their abilities.
Lev Vygotsky proved that all learners learn differently according to their readiness and that the readiness for each individual should match that of the learner (Allan & Tomlinson, 2000). That means that it each student should be able to show that they have learned something in a variety of ways. Not every student will be able to show their understanding on something through a pencil and paper test, as well as they might be able to show it through a play or reenactment.
Vygotsky believed that every child is different and that is why teachers need to teach in a variety of ways. With each teaching model you will come across some pros and cons. The problem is deciding which model to use that will work best with your individual classroom. It might even change year by year, since the students that you will be teaching are changing and evolving. Above I have given many different reasons on why the approaches work. However, the one that I have used the most and find to work the best with all of my classes this far is differentiated instruction.
Yes it seems to take longer to plan, but my students have always made tremendous improvements. As well as differentiated instruction I have enjoyed using the cooperative learning as well within my classroom. This allows each of my students to, not only be available to learn in a manner that is best suited for them; but they are also learning some new information from their peers. In all actuality all four approaches seem to work, but like I said it depends on the teacher and the students for which one works best or maybe use all of them.
The school district and then the school principal is actually the one who says which theoretical model to use. So that means that when apply for a position it is important that you have the same beliefs as the school does, because if not it might not be a good fit for you. I leave you with this. Does one method really work better then any other? References Adams, G. L. , & Engelmann, S. (1996). Research on Direct Instruction: 25 years beyond DISTAR. Seattle, WA: Educational Achievement Systems. Allan, S. D. & Tomlinson, C. A. 2000). Leadership for differentiating schools and classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Daniels, P. (2004). An Overview of Gardner’s multiple Intelligences, Kagan’s structures and Tomlinson’s differentiated instruction and their correlation to Nunley’s layered curriculum. Gilbert, Arizona. http://help4teachers. com/PatPaper. htm Innovative Teaching Concepts (2002). What are thematic teaching and curriculum? Retrieved July 6, 2010. From http://www. todaysteacher. com/ThematicTeaching. tm Kagan, S. (2002). Kagan structures: research and rationale in a nutshell, Kagan Online Magazine-Spencer’s Thinkpad. www. kaganonline. com/Articles/Freearticles/ResearchInNutshell. html Kagan, S. (2004). Cooperative Learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing. http://edtech. kennesaw. edu/intech/cooperativelearning. htm Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (2005). Focus on effectiveness-research-based stratiegies. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved July 6, 2010 from http://www. netc. org/focus/strategies/them. php