Intel Designing Effective Projects : Projects to Engage Learners

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Project Design

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Teaching and Learning Strategies


Example Teacher Modeling

Thinking aloud is one way teachers can model complex thinking. 

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Learn About Teacher Modeling
How do learners know what is expected of them? Through explicit teacher modelling, the teacher provides learners with a clear example of a skill or strategy. The teacher provides a structure to guide learners by:
  • Describing the skill or strategy
  • Clearly describing features of the strategy or steps in performing the skill
  • Breaking the skill into learnable parts
  • Describing/modelling using a variety of  techniques
  • Engaging learners in learning through showing enthusiasm, keeping a steady pace, asking good questions, and checking for learner understanding

The teacher makes sure to clearly describe the concept, then models the desired outcome by using visual, auditory, tactile, and/or kinesthetic teaching and learning techniques while thinking aloud. The teacher can provide examples and non-examples to show learners the expectations and stop frequently to get learner input or ask questions. This technique of modelling provides high levels of learner-teacher interaction.

Make it Happen in Your Classroom
Explicit teacher modelling should happen at every grade level and with every subject / learning area. In order for the modelling to be successful, teachers need to plan the modelling experience carefully. The following steps are important for good modleling:

  1. Make sure learners have the appropriate background knowledge and prerequisite skills to perform the task.
  2. Break down the skill into small learnable segments.
  3. Make sure the context of the skill is grade appropriate.
  4. Provide visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile ways to illustrate important pieces of the concept/skill.
  5. Think aloud as you show each step.
  6. Make the important connections between steps.
  7. Check for learner understanding along the way and re-model the steps that might be causing confusion.
  8. Make sure the timing is at a pace where learners can follow along but not become bored and lose focus.
  9. Model the concept/skills as many times needed to make sure all learners are ready to do it on their own.
  10. Allow many opportunities for learners to ask questions and get clarification.

The time it takes to model a concept or skill is dependent on the size of the task learners are being required to do. Modelling some skills may take just a few minutes while other, more complex skills, may take extended teaching time. It’s important that the teacher know ahead of time what she wants learners to know as a result of the modelling, so when learners are set out to work on their own they know expectations and requirements. Specifying the desired behaviours before modelling them also makes assessment more constructive and accurate.