Sunday, March 23, 2014

Think teaching is easy . . .

For those that think teaching is easy you may want to refer them to this Larry Ferlazzo post sharing research from a Larry Cuban post and more recent research from a study on the number of decisions teachers make a day and the options available for these decisions.  Below is a summary of the new research that found a staggering number of options in the complex world of teaching.

From using concrete or abstract materials to giving immediate or delayed feedback, there are rampant debates over the best teaching strategies to use. But, in reality, improving education is not as simple as choosing one technique over another. Carnegie Mellon University and Temple University researchers scoured the educational research landscape and found that because improved learning depends on many different factors, there are actually more than 205 trillion instructional options available.

Couple this number of options with the number of decisions that teachers make in a day provides some sense of how complex teaching is.  According to research cited in the Cuban post, at the elementary level teachers have between 1200 and 1500 exchanges with students each day.  A separate study found  .7 decisions per minute during interactive teaching.  This might also be one of the reasons why it can also be a very tiring experience.

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