What Will Dewey Do?


What Will Gardner Say about This Lesson Plan?

In role play activity, I was play as educational psychology guru, Howard Gardner, to comment on the lesson: Port of Entry: Immigration. Following are my comment.

This lesson design suggests a very good generative topic, has multiple entrances for different levels of learners and is connected to learners’ old experiences. Examine this lesson design with my four dimensions of understanding theory, the lesson design has considered knowledge dimension ('historical facts' and 'what can we learn from history'), purpose dimension ('Why do we need to know about history'), method dimension ('How history was created'), and form dimension ('multiple forms to communicate what learned with others').

Also, the lesson provides rich resources for learners with different levels of literacy and learning styles. Learns can choose to cut in the topic from any point that he or she is familiar with or good at. The abundant resources allow different levels of learners to dig further as long as they are interested in the topic.

The seven suggested activities and projects are very thoughtful. By writing reflection, captioning pictures, categorizing materials, and reporting or charting scattered information, learners are required to think, engage, extend context, and hopefully, learners will be able to reach the objectives.

If I can give suggestions for the lesson design, I will suggest the designer to consider about the assessments for students' learning outcomes by performances. The assessments have better be ongoing, more than once, and by more than one assessor. The criteria or rubrics should be transparent to learners and be announced before the class. Also it’s important to conduct 'ongoing assessment' (assess on more than one performance during the class, e.g., engagement or contribution in group discussion, oral presentation, or culminate writing.) as well as to use 'multiple ways for assessment' (provide different ways of assessments for learners with different intelligences) and, whenever possible, the assessments should be completed by 'more than one assessor' (instructor review, peer review, and self review).

BTW, the three handouts are good moves, too. They serve as guided inquiries that will promote deeper thinking and help learners focusing on core matters.

I like to give some suggestions about the objectives, too. Although it’s important for learners to learn about facts and principles, I suggest the instructor to take a bold step and think beyond that. Think about 'What do you want your students to remember ten years after they leave your classroom?' rather than think about concrete facts and skills.

Su Tuan Lulee, play as Howard Gardner

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Last updated on July 4th, 2007