The two main ideas I reflected on and learned about in this module’s readings are problem-based activities and on-going assessments. Problem-based activities serve as an alternative to PowerPoint lectures, workbook activities, and other strategies that make the teacher the focus of the learning experience. One of the benefits of this is that “From a teaching perspective, the problem- based activity provides you with the potential to transcend from a textbook- centered learning approach to a more student- centered approach” (Coffman, 2013). Problem-based activities engage students on a higher level than tasks such as workbook pages, because your students are given a task that poses a question that is interesting and relevant. Giving students a choice about the “topic and content of the finished product” also adds to their motivation and interest (Coffman, 2013). When students are invested in the task, they will learn more from it and remember it long after the assessments are completed.
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Coffman also encourages teachers to include assessments throughout units, rather than saving assessment for the end (2013). I feel that this strategy is more forgiving, as the learning process should be. It gives students a chance to reflect on what they are learning and the teacher to reflect on what needs to be reviewed, reinforced, or explained further. Too many students have had the experience of “trick questions” and tests that they dread and fear. Assessments aren’t torture devices but tools to help students and teachers in the learning process. This is why I think giving students the rubric at the beginning of the assignment and telling them this is exactly what you are going to grade them on helps clear up some of that anxiety and confusion.
Coffman, T. (2013). Using Inquiry in the Classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Education.