Instructional Planning for Effective Teaching

Instructional Planning for Effective Teaching 
By James H. Stronge and Xianxuan Xu
(Solution Tree Press, 2016 – Learn more)

-Robbi NdebiReviewed by Robbi Ndebi

This book might be a good choice for a new teacher who needs guidance on how to plan lessons that are effective, appropriate and engaging.

The authors gathered data about the common practices of teachers they defined as effective (student progress on tests) as well as ineffective teachers and their similarities.

instructionalplanningeffect ndebiThe book does a good job of discussing the research and, to some degree, describing how to translate the findings into everyday teaching practice. However, I would have liked to have more detailed examples that described highly effective units and lessons and also poorly planned ones to compare those to.

It would also have been helpful to teachers if the authors had selected one or more actual state learning objectives, picked the objective apart, and used their model to create a lesson or unit that in fact aligned with the exact process skill(s) required and achieved the level of rigor expected.

Then, for comparison, the book could have a poorly planned lesson that was lacking in differentiation and poorly aligned with the way the teacher assesses the students.

This kind of “this not that” presentation can be extremely eye-opening and help even experienced teachers see flaws in their lesson designs.

What’s in the book

Each chapter was equipped with reproducible checklists and charts for teachers to use for planning. However, most of them were vague self-assessments the teacher could use to evaluate her lesson planning at the end of the process. I would have liked to have more forms to guide the planning process instead of referring to the documents to evaluate the already constructed plans.

Overall the book would be helpful to newer teachers to evaluate and modify some lesson plans and to perhaps gain some insight into the work of an effective teacher. However, it would have been much more practical to have lots of real examples to demonstrate the ideas behind the research and bring those ideas to life.

Mrs. Robbi Ndebi has been teaching for six years at Bob Hope School, a charter school in southeast Texas. She is currently the Science Department Chair and has taught middle school and high school science. She enjoys the challenges of being in the classroom and feels that every student has the ability to succeed with the right support from caring teachers.

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