Cooperative learning groups
Depending on the availability of resources and the nature of task, a teacher can employ the use of group work. Group work is a type of learning activity that is done in groups or pairs. It is mainly used in the development of the content material and not to introduce or wrap up a topic. Group work has advantages over other forms of classroom activities for teaching mathematics in high school. Such an activity is important for building good relationships among the students and a spirit of co-operation. It is a key motivator to encourage the participation of every student in the classroom. Sometimes some students may not get the opportunity to participate in whole class activities due to the size of a class. However, with group work, every student gets a chance to be actively involved in a lesson.
Behavioral expectation for group work activities
In cooperative learning, the teacher expects the students to debate, collaborate, and use their learning skills. Group work sometimes used by the teacher to give students a break from the teacher led activities. The teacher therefore would expect that the learners use whatever knowledge they have gained from the teacher led activities to solve problems. Teachers also expect that students communicate in the groups as each student gets a chance to be proactive in the lesson. The teacher also expects the students to seek for guidance from the teacher wherever they need help.
Attention and participation during teacher led activities
In teacher led instruction, the teacher is proactive and plays a central role in providing the instructions and information to the students while the students act as passive recipients of the information. Teacher led activities or whole class activities require the full attention of the students. A key motivator in the class whole class activities for mathematics lessons will be giving the students challenging work according to their abilities. The intelligent and bright students can be given a more challenging work compared to the average student and the slow learners. Giving the same work might be biased in the sense that slow learners will feel unmotivated if the work is too hard while the bright students might get bored quickly if the work is too simple.
In teacher led instruction, the teacher expects that the students be attentive in class. Since the teacher assumes full control of the classroom activities and the students play a passive role, the students are only required to listen attentively. In the process of classroom discussion, the teacher can provide incentives because this is essential for students’ motivation. Students are also expected to ask questions where they do not understand or need clarification. Since teacher led activities may not give students a chance to capture all the information one at a time, the students are expected to write notes for later reference. When the students are required to write notes, the teacher dictates while the listen and write only the important information. In mathematics, this might mean writing down the formulas for problem solving and following through examples.
Out of class activities
This is any written work that students do on their own at home or during their extra time in school. It can be a good way of assessing the progress of a student as the teacher offers guidance and the students are also allowed to correct errors committed. Homework assignments also help teachers complete or cover additional materials that they failed to cover during normal lessons (Cole, 1999, p. 225). Homework assignments are given to help the students read ahead before a next lesson. The teacher gives sample questions that would help the students understand the basics of a new topic. At the same time, the teacher can give the students exercises after teaching a topic.
When giving homework assignments, teachers expect the learners to use the guidance of their parents. Parents are a contributing resource in learning process of learners. The teacher expects the parents to ensure that the student has completed his or her homework. The teacher also expects that the students be aware of their responsibilities and carry them out as required. Therefore the teacher would give assignment from a topic covered in class and expect the students to complete the assignment by the next lesson. The teacher will only have to assess the participation and interest of the parent in the student’s work using the school diary.
Research projects in the library
A library is generally used for research. Student of all grades especially high school students have to be familiar with the use of the library for research. Library projects in teaching and learning of mathematical concepts is important since it encourages students to research topics of interest and learn more outside the confines of the classroom. There are a lot of books with different ideas and knowledge on various mathematical concepts. Students can use the library to research on topics for an upcoming lesson. For instance, the teacher could provide the students with topical questions and mathematical problems to be researched in the library before the coming for a lesson.
The teacher expects that the student cooperates with teachers and other students during this activity. Research activities basically imply seeking for information regarding a topic. Therefore the student can work together with other students to find information. At the same time, the students can work together with the teacher and also use the library.
The instructional activities need to develop certain important skills in the students. This depends with the nature of activity. Some activities are done individually while others are done in groups. Observation is a form of alternative assessment for in class activities. Observation can be integrated with other alternative assessment types and be used to assess students. Observation involves taking a few minutes noting what individual students or a group of students are doing in the course of teaching and learning (Ruiz-Primo & Furtak, 2004). Observation as type of informal assessment provides immediate feedback (Newark, 2007). The teacher can use observation to ensure that learners are seriously working on a given task as well as noticing the learners who are experiencing difficulty with the work.
Another evaluation method that the teacher can use is worksheet. Within the worksheet, the students will have to read different scenarios for both in and out of class activities. After which they will establish the behaviors that acceptable and those that are no acceptable for each activity. For instance, during the teacher led activities, the students could come up with a list of behaviors that are either acceptable or not acceptable.
Cole, K. A. (1999). Walking around: getting more from informal assessment. Mathematic teaching in middle school, vol 4 no. 4 pp.224-227.
Newark, D. (2007). Reading Well: A Synthesis of the International Reading Association’s Research on Teacher Preparation for Reading Instruction. Association International Reading.
Ruiz-Primo, M. A., & Furtak, E. M. (2004). Informal formative assessment of students’ understanding of scientific inquiry. Paper presented at the AERA Annual Meeting Symposium, Assessment for Reform-Based Science Teaching & Learning, Stanford University, Stanford. Stanford: Stanford University.