What Makes a Teacher Effective in the Common Core Age?

Students are given too much gum to chew and not enough time to chew it.

For decades, research has concluded that student success is directly linked to the effectiveness of the teacher. But what makes a teacher “effective” in the Common Core age?

Regardless of content area, an “effective” educator divides a lesson into three phases: Pre-During-Post. He/She then judiciously implements comprehension strategies that teach BOTH the skills AND the content during each phase of the lesson, which is a foundational component of the new Common Core Standards. Therefore, just as much time is devoted to increasing students’ critical thinking skills, as is given to the content itself. This practice separates the “good” teachers from the GREAT and is vital to fostering the versatile 21st Century thinkers needed in our global economy.

As mentioned, the effective lesson plan has three phases, with each phase designed to teach a specific skill-set.

For example, in the Front-loading or “Pre” phase of a lesson, the essential skills to develop are:

*connecting to prior knowledge

*predicting

*building academic & content vocabulary acquisition

Some of the more effective “Pre” strategies are: Anticipation Guides, Probable Passage, Vocabulary Study Charts and Vocabulary Word Maps. These methods foster the prior knowledge, predicting and vocabulary skills helpful to engage in the lesson.

In the “During” phase of a lesson, the skills to be developed are:

*visualizing

*analyzing

*comparing and contrasting

*inferencing

*questioning

*monitoring comprehension

Practical and skill-building “During” strategies are: Episodic Notes, Evidence Guides, Double-Entry Journals and Venn Diagrams.

The “Post” phase skill-set emphasizes:

*clarifying

*supporting a claim with evidence

*identifying main ideas

*analyzing cause & effect

*retelling (first, then, finally)

*summarizing (who, what, when, where, why, how)

Post strategies that bring closure to a lesson and build 21st Century skills are: Summary of Informational Text, Cause & Effect organizers and Somebody-Wanted-But-So.

If the teacher fails to utilize a strategy in one of these three phases of the lesson, the student is not afforded the opportunity to “chew” the content and develop the skills he needs to be an independent critical thinker…a critical objective in teaching.

Hence, the “effective” teacher does not just cover content, he/she develops a comprehensive lesson plan that incorporates pre-during-post strategies, thus teaching the content AND the College & Career Readiness skills the Common Core emphasizes.

Julie Adams, Adams Educational Consulting, effectiveteachingpd.com