Why even the greatest lesson will fail

  • 3 minute read
  • 11 July 2019

As teachers, we put a lot into our lesson plans. We think about the curriculum, the content, the resources and, of course, what will be engaging for our students. We plan, we print and we most definitely photocopy.

When it comes to the lessons themselves, some certainly go better than others. But are any lessons ever truly successful for 100% the class? Have you ever finished a class feeling confident that you made an impact with every student?

The perfect lesson doesn’t exist

The purpose of a lesson focused on direct instruction is to teach a specific concept and to model the learning process to your students. But the problem we often overlook here is that students will need to have mastered the necessary prerequisites before they have a chance of truly understanding the new key idea.

Take algebraic substitution for example. Even the most well thought-out, pedagogically designed lesson won’t have an impact if a student doesn’t first understand algebraic language and forming algebraic expressions .

If you’re thinking — “there’s never going to be one single lesson that’s going to work for every student” — you’d be correct. There isn’t. So why do we spend so much time creating and preparing lessons that we know are not going to work for the whole class?

What if instead we spent our time gathering information to understand our students better?

Students learn on a continuum

The reality of education is that students don’t master every concept that’s introduced to them. There’s a number of reasons for this. They might have missed a few classes or needed more time but the class had to move on.

There are gaps and mastery, but there’s rarely a grid where all of the year-based content is mastered up to the student’s current level. And every student grid will look different.

In fact, a typical Year 7 classroom has an eight year spread of ability ranging from students who struggle to count, to students who have a deep mathematical understanding and lack challenge from aged-based content. 

The great thing about knowing the levels of each student in your class is that you can target your teaching to each individual point of need. But before you can do that, you need to first know the levels of your students and then have the time and resources to deliver them the content they each need.

Better results without more effort

Our Learning and Teaching model  it’s overcoming these challenges, supporting teachers to provide truly differentiated learning, without the additional admin.

The model uses advanced diagnostics and ongoing formative assessments to provide granular data on each student’s gaps and competencies. By identifying each students’ learning profile — what they have mastered, what they are ready to learn next, and what gaps may exist — Maths Pathway gives students the curriculum mapped content they are ready to learn.

This ensures students work within their Zone of Proximal Development , being challenged enough to remain engaged but given plenty of opportunity to experience success. Top achieving students can move beyond the restrictions of aged-based content and students who have previously struggled can master the maths they’re ready for.

Teaching using the model increases their impact too. Access to real-time data allows teachers to identify and group students with similar needs and deliver impactful, stimulating, and personalised instruction. Lessons are conducted with small groups of students who have a similar understanding of a key concept within a module or have comparable learning needs, giving them the opportunity to problem solve, ask questions and think critically.

The perfect lesson for every student

While the perfect lesson for the whole class might not exist, results from Maths Pathway schools show that our model is working. On average, students using the model learn double the amount of maths in a year than they would in a traditional classroom.

Students using the program are also increasing their trajectories for Year 10. This is important as it provides an indicator of what mathematics and STEM-related pathways they will be able to access and how numerate they will be throughout their lives.

Let us show you how

Knowing your students better is something without stretching your workload is possible, and it really can lead to the perfect lesson with your class. If you want to learn more about how you can make it happen in your class, book a call with us, or send us an email. We’ll tell you how!

Author: Maths Pathway
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