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October 2014 | Volume 72 | Number 2
Instruction That Sticks
Susan M. Brookhart and Connie M. Moss
When daily learning targets add up to larger learning goals, instruction sticks.
An 8th grade math teacher is introducing a lesson on exponents, and we're watching a video of her class. The purpose of her lesson, according to the material that accompanies the video, is for students to discover and then describe the rules for multiplying exponents. But you'd never know it from the lesson. The teacher defines exponents and illustrates exponential growth with cubes and then with a graph. Students get excited about this and begin to ask questions about exponential growth, only to be told that's not what their lesson is about today.
On the board, the teacher shows students how to multiply exponents and then tells them to begin work on a worksheet. By the time the students actually start doing their work, most of us watching the video feel misled. First we thought the students were going to learn about growth, and then we thought they were going to discover their own principles for multiplying exponents. When it's all said and done, all they got to do was reproduce the teacher's logic on a worksheet.
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Copyright © 2014 by ASCD
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