Education forms an integral part of societal culture and socio-economic development. Centuries ago, education mainly took the form of informal learning through methods such as an apprenticeship. However, the concept of education has gradually evolved into the formal nature that is common in contemporary times. The main difference between education in the twenty-first century and that from previous centuries is the level of deliberate organization of the learning process.
Several scholars with backgrounds in education have expressed their opinions on elements that contribute to effective learning with the main ones being lesson preparation, constructing a background, and assessment with reviews. This paper reviews literature from six different authors and establishes the contribution that each author makes towards the main topic and the significance of learning preparation.
Lesson preparation through lesson plans
A strategy for Effective Lesson Planning is an article by Stiliana Milkova, a professor at the University of California. Markova’s classroom experiences with her students are evident in her description of certain aspects in the article. In the article, she highlights the need for a proper lesson plan and the impact that learning plans have on the learning process and overall outcome in terms of achievement of the tutors’ objectives throughout the process.
In essence, she explains a lesson plan as containing what students need to learn in relation to the teachers’ preference. Milkova (2012) explains that a lesson plan should indicate the effectiveness expected with regard to students and their grasp of the subject matter.
She also highlights the identification of learning objectives and the appropriateness of the design in terms of synchrony with learning activities. Generally, this article dwells mainly on lesson preparation, especially on the components of a lesson plan. The article is informative and easy to relate with as the author uses a systematic approach in explaining each component in the entire article.
The target audience for Milkova (2012) is mainly tutors as her inclusion of segments such as lesson introduction, creation of realistic timelines, and planning of learning activities indicate. An interesting fact about the article is Milkova’s idea that tutors should present the lesson plan to students before the commencement of the learning process as a way of indicating their inclusion in the planning process.
The concept is important majorly because most tutors assume full command of the planning process thus resulting in the exclusion of students. Milkova (2012) notes that such inclusion is important in ensuring that all parties concerned in the learning process work towards the same goals and objectives. In this way, both teachers and students tend to feel content with the outcome without placing blame on one party for any apparent failure.
Towards the end of the article, Milkova (2012) emphasizes on the need to include a strategy to test the students’ understanding of the subject matter in the lesson plan. Such tests work as a means for self-evaluation for students and as an avenue to test the success of the teaching strategy for the teacher and the entire learning process in general. The article identifies some of the reasons why learning preparation is important, thus making a significant contribution to the main topic.
Peter John presents a similar perspective to other authors with an interesting twist. In his article, Lesson Planning and the Student Teacher, John (2006) presents the view of the teacher as being a student during the learning process. His article highlights some of the ways in which a teacher may appear as the student especially with regard to the learning preparation. He suggests the experimental nature of the process that necessitates the need for the preparation of a lesson plan.
He states that the lesson plan mainly enables the teacher organize the learning process by putting objectives in perspective, organizing learning activities, and creating assessment criteria to test the efficacy of the plan. He states that certain circumstances change during the course of learning and thus the teacher has to adapt and adjust the lesson plan appropriately.
The article notes the importance of a teacher to communicate with students, present the plan to students, and consider their feedback when modifying it for maximum efficiency and overall attainment of the main objective, viz. successful learning of the subject matter and application of the same outside class by students.
The article’s language is easy and relatable, hence providing a refreshing view of the topic. John’s interesting view on the dominant role that teachers play in the learning process makes his article a welcome addition to this paper’s objectivity.
Another scholar with a contribution to make towards the establishment of the significance of learning preparation is Duane Campbell. In his book, Choosing democracy: A practical guide to multicultural education, Campbell (2010) explains the importance of positive relationships in the classroom setting as a means of constructing a background in the achievement of excellence. His contribution mainly concerns the creation and development of academic background knowledge.
Background knowledge is the type of knowledge that a student possesses in relation to the subject matter, which enables him or she relate to the subject matter in question. Such information may be academic in nature, non-academic, or relating to other areas of life outside the learning environment.
Relationships contribute to attitudes about certain elements, thus affecting a student’s background knowledge. For instance, Campbell (2010) discusses the safety and security of students in the learning environment as his area of concern. He highlights issues such as bullying and harassment as some of the issues that may affect a student’s attitude towards the learning environment and consequently the learning process.
An interesting point in this article is that in contrast to Markova’s perspective, Campbell (2010) insists on tutors developing their roles as mentors, guardians, and counselors in addition to being teachers, which most other authors seem to overlook. Campbell’s concept suggests that tutors should concentrate on their roles as teachers without compromising their other roles. He adds that tutors should make students feel safe and comfortable in their learning environments as such a move contributes to the overall success of a student.
He mentions anxiety, stress, depression, and poor concentration as some of the problems arising out of discomfort and insecurity in the school environment. As a result, students with such problems develop a negative attitude towards the learning process, thus impairing their academic background knowledge development and overall study outcome.
As a remedy for such problems, Campbell (2010) suggests the development of relationships between teachers and students and encourages tutors to foster the same within the student community as it reduces chances of discriminatory behaviors such as bullying. It also enables teachers to establish areas of concern in the learning process for specific students and modify their lesson plans appropriately for those specific students.
Robert Marzano (2004), the author of Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievements, provides a perspective similar to that of Campbell (2010), with the main difference being that Marzano’s view on background knowledge is more of general opinion on background knowledge while Campbell pinpoints the issue of attitude and relationships. However, Marzano (20004) gives more in-depth details on background knowledge including the various types of background knowledge.
As the article progresses, the author exhibits his preference to discuss academic background knowledge, which makes his work relevant to this paper’s main topic. A notable disadvantage with this work is the author’s exclusion of elements such as lesson preparation and assessment. Although this aspect means that his work contains more details regarding background knowledge, his work lacks some components of learning preparation and would thus need supplementation with other works such as Campbell’s and Markova’s.
Marzano (2004) notes that students with high rates of academic background knowledge may lack in non-academic background knowledge such as survival skills. However, he explains that his choice to concentrate on academic background knowledge is that unlike the non-academic type, it is not innate and develops with time, thus every student has a chance to gain from it.
Additionally, academic background knowledge plays a big role in the academic success of students, which plays a major part in their future outside the school environment. Marzano (2004) explains that most states employ individuals according to academic qualifications, thus affecting their earning potential. He aims at improving earning potential for students by guiding teachers on how to improve academic background knowledge for students.
Assessment with review
Henry Braun and Anil Kanjee among other co-authors in the book Improving education through assessment, innovation, and evaluation, insist on the need for incorporation of innovative ideas in the creation of lesson plans and periodic assessments for learning efficacy. Like John (2006), Braun et al. (2006) agree that the teacher has to be ready to learn from students regarding elements that work best for them and thus ease the learning process for them.
The authors are keen to note that the entire learning process is often student centered and thus, the approval and cooperation of students in materializing the objectives of the lesson plan is crucial. The inclusion of all three key elements of learning preparation in the article provides balance to the piece, provides objectivity on the subject, and makes the article significant to this paper.
The only weakness in the article is that although it presents a holistic view of all elements, it provides more of an overview and lacks in details. For this reason, supplementing the article with others with more detailed information may prove helpful.
Lastly, Gopal Midha, the author of the article Looking into-and beyond-Lesson plans, discusses the role that the quality of a lesson plan plays on the quality of delivery in the learning process. Midha (2012) emphasizes on the creation of quality lesson plans by teachers and constant reviews on the plans. The author suggests inclusion of independent reviews by outside sources on the plan, mainly other teachers sharing the same learning experience.
The author mentions a method used in Japan whereby teachers collectively contribute to the creation of a single lesson plan with features that serve the needs of the teachers with an option of adjustments specific to certain situations arising in the classroom. The author’s informative and objective idea makes the article a valuable piece in the discussion of this paper’s main topic. Although brief, the article is helpful as it provides concise information.
All articles chosen for this review contain significantly similar information on the main elements in learning preparation, albeit with the inclusion of unique views from the different authors. The articles create objectivity in the discussion and prove the importance of learning preparation in general.
Braun, H., Kanjee, A., Bettinger, E., & Kremer, M. (2006). Improving education through assessment, innovation, and evaluation. Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Campbell, D. (2010). Choosing democracy: A practical guide to multicultural education. New York, NY: Pearson Publishing.
John, P. (2006). Lesson planning and the student teacher: rethinking the dominant role. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 38(4), 485-490.
Marzano, J. (2004). Building background knowledge for academic achievements: Research on what works in schools. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Midha, G. (2012). Looking into-and beyond-lesson plans. Web.
Milkova, S. (2012). Strategies for effective lesson planning. Web.