Week 4: Teaching students - Focusing on students learning, and teaching for understanding

Required Reading
  • Churchill (text) Chapter 7
  • Your relevant Syllabus Document/s (based on the CPP1 KLA)

Further reading
  • You will find the recommend additional texts useful, in particular I recommend Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005) Understanding by Design: Expanded 2nd Edition. Hawker Brownlow Education. I will be using this model.
  • ACT planning suggestions
  • The NSW BOS has planning suggestions in the support material for each syllabus, just go to where you found your syllabus.
  • Sample lesson plan templates etc are at the bottom of the page


This week we begin to look at the process of unit and lesson planning. I need you to remember the point about the pragmatic need to cover this unit in reverse order. We will also be doing assessment in more detail in CPP3, but need to talk about it in the context of planning as well.

This week's Lecture

CPP 1 recording starts half-way through.

Rich media
Course portal
Podcast RSS
Vodcast RSS

Lecture slides

Some Docs used:
Unit planner document
scope & sequence sample
sample units


For you to Investigate G / UG

1. Describe how outcomes and objectives help structure learning in classrooms.
2. Explain how our understanding of curriculum, pedagogy and the purpose of education influence how we approach developing our lessons.
3. Discuss how 'big ideas' can help manage the relationship between what we personally think about education and the intent codified in state sylabus and curriculum documentation.
4. Evaluate the significance of the for / of distinction in how we approach assessment.
5. Explore your personal reaction to these ideas (objectives, outcomes, assessment of / for, big ideas) and how that reaction relates to both your beliefs about education and your experiences of education.

Writing learning outcomes

external image learningoutcomes.gifWriting learning outcomes (LOs) is not rocket science and you can learn very quickly how to write good LOs for your classes. Learning outcomes are important because they
  • Inform your teaching design, strategies, and methods
  • Link directly to your assessment tasks
  • Help determine teaching content
  • Guide students in their study.

Bloom’s taxonomy, which categorises different levels of cognitive complexity and skill, will give you a practical starting point for framing your LOs. For example,
  • If you want students to demonstrate their analytical skills, then frame your LOs using words such as ‘separate,’ ‘connect,’ ‘arrange.’
  • If you want students to evaluate material, then use words such as ‘assess,’ ‘rank,’ ‘justify.’
  • These words are much more powerful and specific and high-level than ‘appreciate’ or ‘understand’; more importantly, they better convey what you actually want students to achieve or do.

Some tips
  • LOs should be of central importance to what you what the students to know or achieve by the end of the teaching and learning episode.
  • Do not collapse outcomes together, i.e., each LO should be discrete
  • Each LO must be assessed. In other words, your LOs and assessment tasks must match up (see below Tutorial G.05 for an example)
  • Avoid evaluative words, e.g., ‘good,’ ‘adequate’ and ambiguous words, e.g., ‘understand,’ ‘appreciate’ (besides, you actually want students to undertake tasks that involve higher level thinking than simply ‘understanding’ or ‘appreciation’)
  • Do not refer to the learning process, e.g., ‘Undertake a project’ (this is not a learning outcome, it is a task) or to specific content, e.g., theories or techiques (they are content)
  • Avoid LOs that are too broad or too narrow
  • Write some LOs for a teaching and learning episode you are writing or that you have observed. Put them in the discussion forum (someone will have to start a thread) and see if anyone will give you feedback.

Constructive alignment

Constructive alignment will help you design meaningful teaching and learning tasks. You must be clear about what you want students to be able to do by the end of the course and then you can tailor teaching and learning activities that measure those things:
  1. Determine learning outcomes (see above) for the class. Use active verbs such as ‘analyse,’ ‘interpret,’ ‘explain,’ ‘create,’ ‘apply,’ etc.
  2. Design learning activities and events that they help students achieve the learning outcomes.
  3. Develop or locate resources that will help students complete the activities or events successfully.
  4. Use assessment tasks that will measure the learning outcomes. Develop criterion-based assessment rubrics for each task you assess.

Example of constructive alignment

Below is a good example of how to align learning outcomes and assessment. It’s from a higher education context, but the principles are the same for your own. Note how the learning outcomes are quite specific and do not add meaningless or irrelevant qualifiers such as ‘do this to an acceptable degree‘. Also note how the teacher has designed her assessment tasks to explicitly address the learning outcomes — and she has then communicated this to her students.

Lecturer: Helen Keane, Senior Lecturer in Gender, Sexuality & Culture in the School of Humanities, ANU.
GEND1001 Learning outcomes
external image 300px-Compass_Rose_English_North.svg.png By the end of this course, you should be able to
  1. Analyse the way gender structures our ways of being and thinking.
  2. Use specific examples to explain key concepts, themes and theories in Gender Studies.
  3. Think, write and argue with these key concepts, themes and theories.
  4. Reflect on and discuss your own learning as it relates to the subject matter of the course.
  5. Select and combine materials on a topic currently relevant to Gender Studies and present them in a coherent fashion in a team environment.
  6. Justify your team’s choice of materials relating to a topic relevant to Gender Studies.

  • Essay (1500 words), 35%, Assesses outcomes 1, 2, 3
  • Group tutorial presentation (using wiki or PowerPoint), 15%, Assesses outcomes 2, 5, 6
  • Group wiki, min. 1000 words, 25%, Assesses outcomes 2, 5
  • Tutorial participation and learning reflection, 10%, Assesses outcome 4

IconSpanner.PNG Preparation for this tute

1. We strongly suggest you have a look at the tute plan (below) for this tutorial. You'll see that the activities we'll be doing are quite structured.

2. In the tute, you will create a lesson on a topic you are passionate about: a hobby, pastime, a community issue you are involved with, whatever. Your lesson should last 25 minutes and you will be teaching to a maximum of 10 (ten) grad dip students. If you want/need to bring special gear or props to help you teach your lesson, then bring them along.

TutorialIcon2.pngTutorial: Lesson planning (Grad Dips Only)

Here's the tute structure for the afternoon. These notes also appear on the ELPC G1 Week 4 page -- sorry for the doubling up, but because the uni can't (yet) handle the course-wide approach we use in the Grad Dip, we have to put things in a couple of different places just to make sure you get them.

Detailed tute notes handout
We've made a nice handout for you if you want to print out these detailed tute notes and bring them along to the tute. These are the same notes as appear on this page.

Program handout
We've also made a simpler, 'program' handout that you can also bring along to the tute:

Program VoiceThread
And here's the program in VoiceThread slide format, just in case you want something visual, right now:

View it on VoiceThread

Tutorial structure

12.30 pm (10 mins): Meg or Phil to introduce structure of session, plus you to spend some time on reading through the instructions for the session. Don't just run off and start doing your planning. Take time to read through what you'll actually be doing today.

Aim of the tute: To get you focused on the importance of planning and process, not just on your content or discipline area.

Outcomes: By the end of this tutorial, students should be able to:
  • Plan and design* effective teaching and learning episodes, regardless of content
  • Evaluate* the effectiveness of a given approach to the teaching of a lesson

*Note use of strong, active verbs in the learning outcomes

12.40 pm (60 mins): Create a lesson on a topic you are passionate about: a hobby, pastime, a community issue you are involved with, whatever. Your lesson should last 25 minutes and you will be teaching to a maximum of 10 (ten) grad dip students.

This shouldn't just be a didactic exercise in 'Why I love cricket' in which you try to convince others about the merits of cricket (multitudinous though they are). Rather, it should be very specific, more along the lines of 'How to bowl an off-break'. Some of you may want, instead, to create a lesson around the ELPC G1 readings/resources for the week -- that's fine, too, especially if you feel the need to engage with some of those resources.

You can work individually, or, if there is an interest shared by more than one of you, you can work in pairs or in a small group that wants to team teach. If you choose to work in pairs or small groups, then we ask that you team up around the topic and not around whoever you're mates with: in teaching you won't always get to choose your colleagues, so we want you to learn how to work together for the betterment of all humanity and not just because you feel comfortable with certain people. If you want to work with colleagues, then write your topic up on a wall in the Teal Room and stand by it (literally, not metaphorically!) and see if you can attract customers. Showing a bit of leg might help.

Where to create your plan? On a wall, on your blog, on paper, on Twitter, on your laptop or tablet (and then share it on the net) ... whatever.

You should consider the following in the planning stage (we will also be handing out examples of lesson plans for you to follow):

Planning overview
What is the topic for the lesson?
The golf swing.
Keep it simple and keep it basic.
What is the aim/purpose/objective of the lesson?
This lesson is about how to swing a golf club correctly.
It could have been 'Common problems in golf swings' or 'How swing shapes ball flight'. But for this lesson it's simply 'How to swing a club correctly'.
What are the big ideas you want to get across? What are the key concepts?
Swinging a golf club correctly means getting big shoulder turn.
Don't overload your lesson! You only have 25 minutes, so one key concept is probably enough.
Why does this learning matter?
If you don't have a big shoulder turn, then you cannot control your shot.
If you're finding this a bit difficult to spell out for your 'hobby' area, then feel free to skip the question for now ...
What do you want students to learn?
Students will learn about the importance of shoulder turn in weight transfer and swing plane
What are the main things students need to learn in order to achieve the lesson objective?

Learning outcomes
What are your learning outcomes?
By the end of this lesson, students should be able to modify* their current golf swing to include bigger shoulder turn.

*Note the active verb used here.
What should students be able to do/understand at the end of the lesson? To help you get a handle on this, you should introduce your learning outcomes with the phrase, 'By the end of this lesson, students should be able to ...'. Use active verbs and avoid words such as 'understand' (too nebulous) and, even worse, 'demonstrate an understanding of'. Instead, aim for strong words such as 'identify', 'construct', 'explain', 'summarise', 'combine', 'forumulate', etc. Bloom’s taxonomy, which categorises different levels of cognitive complexity and skill, will give you a practical starting point for framing your LOs. This link to Bloom’s taxonomy is so useful that we've added it twice.

For a short lesson, you might only have one learning outcome. For a series of lessons or a whole unit, you'd have a maximum of five or six.

Learning (students)
What will be the biggest obstacle/s to your students' understanding of the lesson?
The full range of complexity in the golf swing.
Identify potential sticking points.
How will you account for these obstacles?
Focus on only one main element of the golf swing, i.e., shoulder turn. Leave out alignment, stance, posture, grip, impact, shot shaping.
What will you do to get around these obstacles?
What level is the lesson pitched at?
Those who have either some previous experience in swing a golf club, or at least those with a good degree of 'physical intelligence'/physicality.
Complete newcomers? Those with a bit of prior understanding?
Are there any student special needs you (might) need to cater for?
Physical disability, lack of equipment.
Check student needs beforehand.

Teaching (you)
What teaching strategies, methods will you employ?
Begin with basic principles of shoulder turn -- demonstration to large group and/or showing YouTube video. Get students practising shoulder turn and giving each other peer feedback on each others' shoulder turn (peer learning in pairs). Large element of experiential learning to build muscle memory.
Group work? Individual work? Role plays? Simulations? Examination of case studies? Problem-solving? Discovery learning? Peer learning (buzz groups, affinity groups, solution and critic groups, 'teach-write-discuss')? Experiential learning? Inquiry-based learning?
What are the essential conditions for this to work?
Good weather or at least enough space for students to each swing a club!
E.g., working technology, engaging student interest early on, some background knowledge required of the student, etc.
What resources will you need?
One club (preferably iron) per student; Digital video cameras; bandwidth; web access.
Support materials? Handouts? Website/s? Specific media? Cameras? Bandwidth?

Will you aim for directed or constructed knowledge?
Both: directed in the first instance as I give them specific info on/demo of shoulder turn, constructed as they later engage in making sense of their own and others' swing via on-the-ground observation and later video analysis.
Directed is good when structure and guidance is needed; Constructed is good for building knowledge, problem-solving, dealing with abstract concepts, collaboration, helping students to think on their own.

For more info, jump ahead to the Week 10 ELPC G1 lecture 'Effective technology integration'
What activities will students undertake?
Get students to video each other, then to post video with both verbal and written feedback on class videosharing site.
Activities must support learning objectives.
Is there a sufficient 'relative advantage' in using technology?

For more info, jump ahead to the Week 10 ELPC G1 lecture 'Effective technology integration'
Yes! Video playback will be essential to allowing students to view themselves and their swing!
Will technology support your purpose to the extent that if you don't use it, students' learning may be compromised?

For more info, jump ahead to the Week 10 ELPC G1 lecture 'Effective technology integration'
Will you integrate technology?
See above. Video capture via camera phone will be fine ... we don't need a full tripod set up.
If so, what and how? Further examples: teaching astronomy -- GPS, starchart software, solar system online tours, NASA immersive online games; teaching script writing -- wiki or Google docs; teaching orienteering -- Google maps, smartphone apps, GPS, camera phones; teaching DJing -- sound signature and beat-matching software.

How will you evaluate what you did?
Student feedback as well as personal reflection. Re personal reflection, I will focus on:
  • Time allocated for topic
  • Student understanding
  • Opportunities for student reflection on learning
  • Suitability of resources
  • Appropriateness of teaching strategies
  • Integration of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies)
  • Potential variations and improvements for next time time the lesson is taught

Will get up a student evaluation form that covers both quantitative and qualitative feedback.
Will you ask for student feedback, or will you reflect on your teaching yourself, or both?

1.40 pm (30 mins): Run your plan past a colleague or two -- get their feedback: Have I used active verbs in my learning outcomes? Where are things unclear? Should I integrate technology (better? at all?)? Does the activity/-ies actually support what I'm trying to achieve? If you are working with other students, then this will be part of your ongoing planning process and you won't have to quarantine it off for the last half-hour of the session.

Register your interest in teaching a lesson
For timing reasons, not everyone will get to teach their lesson. However, if you do want to teach your lesson, let a member of the Strike Team know so that we can quickly put together a schedule for the second half of the tute. Tell us where you would like to teach your lesson and we'll try to accommodate you.

If you need to get prepped up, then do it in the break or as part of the planning process.

2.10 - 2.40 PM: BREAK. GO AND GET A CUPPA.

2.40 pm (5 mins): Lesson schedules
Everyone back in the Teal Room for a quick briefing. The Strike Team will have put together a lesson schedule by this stage to allow you to choose which lessons you want to go to. Fun!

2.45 (25 mins + 5 mins change-over time): Lesson 1
  • Make your way to a lesson. Max 10 students per lesson.
  • Learn stuff

3.15 (25 mins + 5 mins change-over time): Lesson 2
  • Make your way to a lesson. Max 10 students per lesson.
  • Learn stuff

3.45 (25 mins + 5 mins change-over time): Lesson 3
  • Make your way to a lesson. Max 10 students per lesson.
  • Learn stuff

4.15 (25 mins + 5 mins change-over time): Lesson 4
  • Make your way to a lesson. Max 10 students per lesson.
  • Learn stuff

4.45 pm (15 mins): Personal reflection time: Evaluation, revision, improvement
Think back over a lesson that you taught or a lesson that you attended. Consider for the following (not all will be relevant):
  • Time allocated for topic
  • Student understanding of content
  • Opportunities for student reflection on learning
  • Suitability of resources
  • Appropriateness of teaching strategies
  • Integration of Quality Teaching strategies
  • Integration of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies)
  • Literacy strategies used
  • Numeracy strategies used
  • What variations do you think should be implement the next time the lesson is taught? What could be improved?
  • Any final comments?

Think back over the tute as a whole
  • What can use from today's tute in Assignment 1?
  • What I can use in to inform my teaching practice?
  • How will I use this in my prac?
  • Start building your '10 tips' for new teachers. Reflecting on what you've learnt today, write down any 'tips' you might give to beginning teachers. By the end of the semester, you should have a consolidated list of your 'top 10 tips'.

5 pm: Requiem for a Tute (@ the Lighthouse)

Lesson Plan Templates

UC Guide to planning for teaching include a possible approach

Folks, there are about as many sample lesson plans as there are teachers. The idea of lesson plans is to think about what you want students to learn and plan how you will you use the time in the lesson to ensure every student does. The course text (Churchill et al) has suggestions to approaching lesson planning. Furthermore each of the 'recommended additional texts is focussed on aspects of lesson and unit planning and contain sample templates. Your mentor teacher will also have approaches they use (NB experienced teachers may not plan on paper to the extent of new teachers, for you it is ESSENTIAL).

Linked here is a folder with a few sample 'templates' - A google search will uncover a lot more. You will also find sample lesson plans galore. However, remember that such samples are not written for YOUR CLASS. They provide ideas for you, but you need to tailor them to your class needs.

I am reluctant to suggest a particular template, though I probably lean towards Y or Z (as per the Hinde & McLeod recommended text). Personally I used the unit template above to sketch my lessons, then planned using my teachers day book.

Sample lesson plan templates (Zip file - download then right click - unzip)

As a PDF