Episode 74 The 4 steps to creating a ‘gourmet’ program

Show Notes

Key Point #1: Know your students and how they learn

  • You need to know the basics of how students learn:
    • Connecting the new with the known
    • Less items 4 build to 8 (shallow to deep learning)
    • Embed CRIME (Chunk, rehearsal, Imagery, Mnemonic, Elaboration)
    • Spaced repetition
  • You must know your students:
    • What they know
    • What they are interested in
    • Learning disposition strengths (cognitive, inter and intrapersonal)

Key Point #2: Know where you are going together

  • Where are you going? Goals
  • What does it look like? Criteria
  • Examples of success
  • Both of you need to know what is being learnt and how to identify success

Key Point #3: Consider the best way to check for success

  • Match the type of assessment with the goals and criteria
  • It needs to be:
    • Reliable
    • Authentic
    • Valid 

Key Point #4: Create the best conditions for learning

  • Garden metaphor
  • Base on how students learn
  • Focus on progress and process over content
  • It must be engaging and interesting 
  • Build in voice and choice for differentiation
  • MUST be cohesive
    • Required base knowledge first
    • Build on this
    • Go deeper
    • Everything connects and makes sense
    • Everything is considered
  • Choices with the aim to transfer knowledge
    • How will you know what they know?
    • How will students know what to do?
    • How will they learn the basic content?
    • How will you check that they learnt it?
    • How will they go deeper? (critique, evaluate, assess, inquire further etc)
    • How will they apply the knowledge and in what context/s?
    • How might you foster their own ideas? (creativity, problem solving etc)
    • What skills are you seeking to develop and how?


Dan: (00:00)
Well, hi everyone. And welcome to episode 74 of the effective teaching podcast. And today I’m going to be giving you the basics of how to do your programming. And there’s essentially four key steps that I would encourage you to make sure that you go through as you’re doing this. So the first step is for you to really know your students and how they learn. Okay? And so in Australia, this is actually one of our professional teaching standards is to know your students and how they learn. And so here, I’m just gonna walk you through some of the basics here. So you need to know how students learn the very basics of your object. Know it in great detail, though, if you want to do that, that could be helpful, but at a very basic level, you need to make sure that you understand that in order for students to develop new knowledge, they have to connect that with old knowledge, they have to clear it with something.

Dan: (00:52)
They already know students as they’re learning things that will store it better. If they can connect it, if they can make sense of it already, you also want to make sure that you’re not giving them too many items. There’s a thing called cognitive load. And, uh, as part of that, there’s this thing idea where if you’re a novice to something, or if you’re a student just about to learn something new, you can really only handle about four items. But then if you understand it, have a good understanding can start to move towards eight items total. And that’s an expert is eight items. So as a teacher, we need to remember that we probably can do eight items with our students going to do four to start with, and then you want to build them up from there. So making sure we’re starting at the bottom and building ourselves up, that’s some strategies to really help students to be able to make connections and to, uh, remember the basis really well, and then start to learn to apply that and think critically about that, et cetera is, uh, there’s essentially a pneumonic that’s crime.

Dan: (01:55)
Okay. So C R I M E and C is for chunking. So finding relevant information that you’re teaching kids and putting it together, rehearsal, making sure you give your students lots of opportunities to rehearse. And that’s where spaced repetition can come in there. Yeah. Using imagery. So making summaries that are visual in format, or even giving visuals that go along with the information that clearly connects that information to, um, to the visuals, they’re not disconnected, but connected imagery yeah. Can use mnemonics like crime. Uh, and you can also use elaboration when you’re taking what someone, it already has, something quite small. And you’re just building upon that. And then building upon that and building upon that and slowly elaborating and expanding it. The other part to this is that you must also know your students. So in order to know your students, you must know what they already know, which is probably the most important thing for you to do is to make sure you actually have checked to find out if they, if they know the prior knowledge for this, if they are already know half of the course, what do they actually already know?

Dan: (03:03)
Even stuff that’s not quite directly related, maybe just other things that are connected. Do they already know those things that you could then build on? You know, if you’re trying to connect new information with old information, it’s really important to know what your students know so that you can help them with those connections. You also need to think about what they are interested in. And so finding out all the different things that, yeah, and then using that in the way that you teach by connecting things into that. And the final thing I want you to think about when you’re getting to know your students is to get to know them, they’re learning strengths. And so there’s that cognitive strengths, but there’s also the interpersonal and the interpersonal skills as well. And whether or not they need to work on grip. For example, if they need to work on their ability to collaborate, or maybe they’re struggling to really understand some very basic concepts.

Dan: (03:51)
And so teaching them the skillset for how to learn as well and checking where they’re at with those skills is really important as well. And there’s a great tool called the learning disposition wheel, which can help to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses, uh, with their learning. And the next step is for you to know where you are going together. So what I mean is you want to know where the student wants to go and where you’re trying to get them to, and then come together and go OK, both of us understand where we’re going and why. Right. So having that wisely important, but you both need to know where you’re heading. Okay. So that’s kind of your learning goals, but you want to set that together with the student. You can also set the criteria together with the students and what does it look like when we get there?

Dan: (04:33)
And you can do that by giving the students, uh, bad examples and good examples and get them to identify strengths or weaknesses of, you know, three or four examples that you give them. And it’s the strengths and stuff that then become the criteria that can be used for measuring success on whether or not students are doing well in their learning. Another thing that you’re giving the examples, that’s great for them to give them as well, because that helps the students to know where they’re going. And it also helps them know when they’ve gotten there, because sometimes the criteria can be difficult to grasp. If something’s new to you for us is quite yeah. Easy often because we’d know what it looks like. We’ve seen that a few times, but as for a student they’ve never gotten there. So they need to, I see it a few times.

Dan: (05:13)
So they know what it looks like when they actually achievement. Now, it’s really important that both of you, both you, the teacher and the student know what is being learned and how to identify when success has been achieved, because you want the student to be able to monitor their own learning, as well as you’re monitoring it and helping them to progress and celebrating their success and then knowing great, I’ve done it. Yeah, what’s next. And they know how to do that. That’s a really important thing in your programming is to consider the best way for you to be checking for success. Now, if you’ve been working through that criteria, setting goals and examples, that will help you a lot here as you go through this process. But as you’re trying to work out, what is the best way to teach, check for success? In my students’ learning, we want to make sure that you have the type of assessment with the goals, the criteria, okay.

Dan: (06:01)
You don’t want to have. Yeah. Generally speaking tests, don’t lie. Not very well with that, unless your goal is to do well on the tests. But if you’re trying to check for whether or not a student can, you know, create training programs or check students can identify things on maps or whether they can create maps and that kind of stuff, you’re better off getting them to create maps. You better. Okay. And then to create training programs and monitoring how they do that and seeing the kind of product that they create at the end, rather than say, right, let’s just do a quick test about whether, you know, what’s meant to be included in a training program. I want to actually see them create it. And so aligning the type of assessment with the goals, and sometimes, you know, your assessment will be a test that will align better with the goals you’ve got, but you just need to make sure that how you’re looking to assess students’ learning.

Dan: (06:52)
And this is really for just monitoring their progress, formative type assessment. You can do it for formal assessment as well, but you want to make sure you’re aligning that assessment type and how it works with the goals you’re trying to achieve and what that might look like. Now, when you’re creating it, you also want to make sure that your assessment is reliable, which means that it can basically be repeated multiple times and get the same kind of results you want it to be authentic that actually connects to students and their lives and all that kind of stuff that it’s meaningful for them. And that it’s valid that it’s actually testing the right thing. And that’s why aligning your goals with your assessment is really important. The final step is of course, to create the best conditions for learning. Now, I really love, uh, so Ken Robinson is a garden metaphor where he talks about learning, not so much as a, you know, you stand at the front and, uh, you’re trying to put information yeah.

Dan: (07:48)
Into a student’s head, right? That’s not what we’re after. He says it learning happens best when you create the conditions for learning. And it uses a garden metaphor where it’s actually, students are not like an industry where you’re creating a car. All the things need to be the same. And they all come out the same. It’s actually more like gardening. It’s more like growing your herbs, growing your veggies. And I’m really into a thing called permaculture. If you’re listening and you’re Intuit, hello, and, you know, shoot me an email. I’d love to chat about permaculture stuff. But basically what it is is about creating gardens that are self-sustaining and that work on their own a lot. But also you’re creating the conditions for the growth. And the most important thing in permaculture is always the soil quality, but know for plants to grow, they need sun, or they need the right amount of Southern for the type of plant they are.

Dan: (08:41)
They need the right amount of water for the type of plant they are. They need the right soil conditions for the kind of plant that they are, the kind of soil that they need. And so there’s all this stuff that comes into creating the right conditions. And I think that the same is true about learning. Each student is actually different and the way that they’re going to learn best, it’s not necessarily that, you know, there’s visual learners and there’s audio learners or learners who like to read or learners who are practical and everything we actually can genuinely learn from any of those ways that often we have our preferred way of learning, but we can learn jelly for a lot of ways, but it’s really about creating the best conditions for that student. So a student already has interests. They already have their own goals.

Dan: (09:27)
And then you’re going to bring your goal alongside that in terms of what you’re trying to achieve in your particular subject, a particular stage, and to be able to bring those together in a way that is beneficial and creates growth in their learning so that they can progress. And we do that by really understanding the student really well, the better you understand the student, the better you can create the conditions to help them to learn. And it’s just like guarding the better you understand each garden, each plant, the better you can create the conditions for that plant to grow and do it. Yeah. It’s best. Yeah. When you’re creating these conditions, you need to make sure you base it on how students learn. So yeah, you’re basing it on making sure that you understand their prior knowledge, their prerequisites, making sure that they are getting the basis before you go into deeper learning.

Dan: (10:13)
Only giving them small bits of information, chunking that information, you know, remembering crime. So the reversal imagery, mnemonics, and elaboration here, building all those things, things into your learning conditions is really beneficial for your students. You also want to focus on the progress and process over the content. It’s more important that students learn how to learn than it is that they learn the content that you’re trying to get them to learn right now, hopefully that will do both. And generally speaking, if you focus on progress and process, the content will get learnt anyway, because they will become better learners and they will learn what you’re trying to get them to learn. Now you need to make sure that you’re learning, he’s engaging, right? The number one thing for you to do your part is to make sure students are actually engaged and focused in their learning, not distracted and not bored.

Dan: (11:06)
Okay. Really important that they’re not bored in your class, make sure it is engaging. Make sure it’s interesting. You want to build it in students, voice and choice in the things. So try and get them to contribute to things like I was talking about with the creating of the goals and the success criteria and stuff. They can be involved in that the more you can collaborate with your students, the more voice they have. And then when you present things to them, give them choice and particularly choice that you might connect to their interests in those types of things where they might choose, Oh, I’m really into photography. So I’m going to actually create something that has to do with photography or use photography to create my, um, and product that showcases my learning. Yeah. So they can build all these things in that connects their interests into their own goals, your goals.

Dan: (11:50)
And that’s when you’re setting things up really well for great success in your classroom. The final thing I want to say here is that learning really needs to be cohesive. Number one thing I find when it comes to teachers creating their units is often they pull out the syllabus. They look at the dot points and then just put the, got points into the program in the order that they’re in the syllabus. And then they just walk through what’s there in whatever order that came out of the syllabus out. But the people who created the syllabus work, creating programs that were identifying things that students should learn, not then putting it in the best order to learn it or working at how things can easily link in and to create those connections for students chunking things. They didn’t do that. And so when you’re creating your yeah unit, you want to make sure it is really cohesive, right?

Dan: (12:41)
That you’ve really thought through what they’re doing first and why they’re doing that first what’s next and why. And so I should be able to look at your program at the end and say, and point to any activity that’s there and say, why did you put that there? And you should have a reason you should off the top of your head, know that I’ve got that there because it builds in repetition. Maybe it’s some imagery, maybe it’s allowing some elaboration, maybe it’s a class, but you have activity and you want to work on their actual learning skills in collaboration. Maybe it is something that you’re putting that allows students to have choice in what they do doing, or maybe it’s, um, it could be, you have video that you’re making them watch and you say, well, I’m going to make them watch the video for homework as a public learning thing, maybe so that my students, when they come into the classroom, I have more time to work with them in their smaller groups, as they’re applying that content and I can check their learning even before they come in and I can differentiate.

Dan: (13:38)
And that’s why I’ve got three different activities planned afterwards, a lesson or that kind of stuff. So for it to be cohesive, you need to really make sure that you got that required base of knowledge that you’ve covered first. You need to then build upon this need to, once you’ve built upon the required base of knowledge, you then want to get, start to go deeper and have things like critical thinking and analysis and assessment and happening. You want to have everything connected Dean and making sense throughout this whole, whole process that you know, this flows into that flows into that. And you can see the connections that are formed. And you’re purposely when you’re getting the things that connect back, making sure that that’s in your program, that you are connecting this back to this activity or to this content. And so bring that content in, remember this, this is what we’re doing with it in this lesson.

Dan: (14:30)
And so making sure those connections all there, and it makes sense and really considered everything in your program that you’ve really thought through each activity and how it flows for one, yeah. To the next, because if you do that, and I remember what I, when I first started doing this, it would be when I stumbled across, uh, understanding by design, by grant Wiggins and Jamie T I’d been creating programs very much just following the dot points. But then I read Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe’s book about Understanding by Design and they’ve got a three-step process for backwards mapping, um, essentially for programming. But then it also read, Hattie and Yates’ book about how students learn and that book in collaboration with the, with Jay’s stuff and a few other things that I’ve read over quite a long time. Now I’ve been teaching for too long, not too long, you never teach for too long.

Dan: (15:26)
Um, but I’ve been all that reading, uh, bringing it together into this four steps, right. But I think it’s very important that we understand our students and how they learn. I think that is the absolute crux of then creating really good programs. Now, when you’re putting chose choices into your program, you want to make sure that the aim is to transfer knowledge, right? So think about how will you know, what they know, how will you know, what the students know, how will students know what to do, right? How, how will they know that? Are you thinking about every choice that you make about what you put into that program should be meeting something like this, right? So how will students know what to do? Well, how are you going to give them the instruction, going to say it at the front? Are you going to write it on the board?

Dan: (16:11)
Are you going to give them a handout? Are you going to post it onto Google classroom or in to SeeSaw? Maybe it’s all already done for you in a hyperdoc, but there’s lots of different ways for you to give students information. How would they learn the basic content? Would you be explaining it? Will they be interviewing someone? Will they watch a video or a documentary or something? How will you check that? They learnt it? I think I do a pop quiz. Are they going to interview each other and then respond to you? Are you going to interview them all yourself? Lots of different ways for you to check students’ learning. Okay. How will the students go deeper? How are they going to go start doing their critiquing, evaluating, assessing things, or do their own inquiry. That takes things deeper as well. How would they apply the knowledge?

Dan: (16:56)
And in what contexts are you going to give them choice in terms of where they apply it in terms of their context? Or are you going to maybe specify it a bit more? They’re going to do woodwork. They need to create a toy car out of wood, and they’re going to create it and display it here. Everyone can make their own car, different types of cars they can choose from, but they all want to make their own child, their own car. Or maybe you’re going to say, look, you have to make something out of wood. It can be anything that you’re interested in. And then that allows the better differentiation because someone might go, well, I’m actually quite good at woodwork. So instead of making a small car, I’m going to make, you know, an eight wheel truck, that’s a semi-trailer and it can connect and disconnect and that kind of stuff.

Dan: (17:36)
You also need to think through how you might foster their own ideas. How will you actually help students to be creative or to solve problems? Uh, how are you going to teach the skills for that? And then what skills are you seeking to develop throughout this unit? And then how you developing those. So throughout your whole unit, generally there’s skills that are specific to your content area. There’ll be skill specific to the stage that you’re teaching. And so how can you match up those and make sure that the students are developing them? Have you specifically got activities in there that are helping students to learn those skills in their programming? Well, that’s it for this episode is episode 17 before I, just by way of a quick wrap-up. If you’re going to do a very quick basics overview or how to do some programming, my four steps are to make sure you know, your students and how they learn, make sure you know, where you are going together with them, that you have considered an adult using the best way to check for success, and then to create the best conditions for learning.

Dan: (18:38)
Now, I actually have an infographic you can grab for this episode, if you head over to teacherspd.net/74, and you’ll land on the show notes, and there’ll be a form there, and you can grab an infographic that’s poster size. So you could go and get it printed. If you want, stick it up on the walls at your school, in your, um, maybe in your staffroom or in a faculty area to just remind people and to remind yourself of the basics of what you need to go through to make sure that you’re creating a quality program for your students. Well, I hope you’ll come back and join me next week. Please make sure you hit the subscribe button. If you have not subscribed to this podcast. And I would love to hear from you. So even if you’re not in the infographic, come over to teachers, pd.net/ 74, leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you and get, know how you go about your programming process.

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