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Appendix D: Instructional Models - Teaching Content and Thinking Skills

Appendix D: Instructional Models - Teaching Content and Thinking Skills

An instructional model acts as a blueprint for teaching. However, just as blueprints do not dictate all actions of engineers, instructional models are not intended to dictate actions of teachers. Teachers must select the appropriate model in order to achieve a specified goal, just as engineers select appropriate designs or methods based on desired outcomes. Models differ from general teaching strategies because they are designed to reach specific goals. In fact, instructional models generally include a variety of instructional strategies. (Eggen & Kauchak, 2001) The sample instructional models outlined below, designed to help students learn content and develop thinking skills, include many high-yield instructional strategies identified by Robert Marzano (2001) and his colleagues.

Integrative Model

In the Integrative Model, students develop a deep understanding of organized bodies of knowledge while developing critical thinking skills. The model is designed to teach combinations of concepts, generalizations, principles, rules, facts and the relationships between them, typically through the use of matrices which may be either teacher or student-generated, depending on student readiness (e.g. a chart comparing characters in a literary work in terms of personal attributes, conflict, and symbolism). Students are expected to do the following: describe, compare, and search for patterns; explain similarities and differences; hypothesize outcomes for different conditions; and generalize to form broad relationships.

Social Interaction Model

The Social Interaction Model involves students working collaboratively to reach common goals, increasing learner involvement and providing leadership opportunities and decision-making experiences. It takes various forms including group work (e.g. think-pair-share, pairs check, and combining pairs), cooperative learning (e.g. student teams achievement division, jigsaw, and group investigation), and discussion.

Inductive Model

In the Inductive Model, students use information that illustrates concepts to search for relationships that lead to uncovering of principles, generalizations, and rules, thus allowing students to acquire a deep understanding of those concepts. Illustrations may include concrete materials, pictures, models, case students, simulations, and role play. The Inductive Model is grounded in the view that learners construct their own understanding of the world rather than recording it in an already-organized form.

Concept-Attainment Model

Using examples and non-examples to illustrate concepts, the Concept-Attainment Model employs inductive strategies to help students reinforce their understanding of concepts and practice hypothesis testing. As additional examples and non-examples are examined, students analyze possible hypotheses. Students then isolate a hypothesis and form a definition. In the final phase of the model, students analyze additional examples based on the definition.

Concept-Development Model

The Concept Development Model builds on students' prior knowledge and refines and extends concept information so that students can understand increasingly complex and abstract ideas. Students list, group, and regroup items related to a subject, verbalizing common attributes and revealing thought patterns. Students label the groups, draw inferences, and make generalizations from the specific data available to them. Finally, creating a one-sentence summary about each of the groupings, students demonstrate understanding of multiple relationships.

Problem-based Model

The Problem-based Model is designed to teach problem-solving skills and content and to develop self-directed learning. The model uses a problem or a question as a focal point for student-led investigation and inquiry. Problem-based learning is a broad family of teaching models that includes problem solving, inquiry, project-based learning, and case-based learning.

Direct-Instruction Model

With emphasis on active teaching and high levels of student involvement, the Direct Instruction Model focuses on both concepts and skills. In this model, the teacher structures the topic, explains it to students, provides students with opportunities to practice, and gives feedback. Control of learning gradually shifts from teacher to learners.

Lecture-Discussion Model

The Lecture-Discussion Model uses a teacher-centered approach to help students understand organized bodies of knowledge. Teachers use advanced organizers at the beginning of a lesson to preview and structure new material, linking it to students' existing network of organized and interconnected ideas and relationships.


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