Lesson Planning

Course Design: The Backwards Model

  On March 21, Dr. Sheila Simpkins delivered an in-service instructor training webinar to almost 500 attendees in cooperation with the Ministry of Education Directorate in the Asir region and Rijal Alma entitled "Course Design: The Backwards Model". She began the webinar by asking participants to reflect on the question "What is your role in the classroom?" According to Dr. Sheila, the answer to this question is fundamental to course design.   She indicated that best practices in educational research tells us that we need to shift from the direct transmission view of the teacher's role towards the constructivist view. She introduced Bloom's taxonomy as a powerful tool to help teachers plan lesson/unit/course/program objectives that are in line with constructivist views of teaching/learning where the teacher is a facilitator, and the students are actively engaged and involved in learning. Best practices in teaching encourage teachers to set learning objectives that require higher-order thinking skills such as analyzing, evaluating, and creating.   Having introduced these two principals Dr. Sheila shared the backwards model of course design. She indicated that teachers should plan 'backwards' beginning with the end in mind. Teachers should ask themselves three questions.   Where do I want my students to 'be' by the end of this sequence of work? How will I know whether they have gotten there? What are the best strategies to support students on this journey?   Dr. Sheila indicated that all course design should take the constructivist view of teaching/learning into consideration.   With that in mind, she indicated that   Course learning objectives/outcomes should be student-centered, concrete, and observable/measurable. Bloom's taxonomy should be used here. Assessment/assignments should be aligned with the learning objectives and they should be authentic. This means the assignments/activities that students are engaged in to learn the material are also used to evaluate their accomplishments. Assessment/assignments should be student structured, and direct evidence. Examples of this kind of assessment are role play, drama, student portfolios, journals, debates, and presentations. Rubrics should be used to measure performance. In the constructivist view, traditional paper-based measurement should be kept to a minimum. Teaching strategies should match assessment. In other words, how you assess is how you teach. Conversely, how you teach is how you assess. Then you plan course content and select course materials—what textbook/film/speaker will speak to the topics and help accomplish learning objectives. The last step is to create the course schedule and sequencing. Activities must be organized to provide sufficient practice, skills must build upon another, and there must be sufficient time for feedback. Date: 3/28/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation

Practising Professionalism in EFL Teaching

  Mohammad Adil conducted a workshop entitled 'Practising Professionalism in EFL Teaching', which was organized by the Language Research Center on October 2, 2019. The workshop was centered on effective classroom and test administration practices. The workshop comprised some input sessions and brainstorming tasks.   The workshop began with a warm-up task that covered good classroom practices. This task fully engaged the participants by activating their existing knowledge of classroom practices.   Mohammad Adil started his input session by discussing classroom practices that emphasized 'Principled Eclecticism' and the learner-centered approach to teaching. He explained that the teaching method might vary according to learners' needs and the content of teaching. A well-designed lesson plan could make the entire lesson well-organized, he said, while talking about lesson plan stages and shapes.   Adil also discussed effective whiteboard use in class that could make a lesson engaging, effective, and interesting. "Successful whiteboard use can change the entire classroom environment," stated Adil while demonstrating various ways to use a whiteboard.   Mohammad Adil finished his session with significant issues related to testing. He highlighted what to do before designing a test while designing a test and after the test is finalized. The key concepts covered were the importance of exam training for students, the clarity of instructions in tests, and meeting the testing criteria.   During the input sessions, there were a few brainstorming tasks that engaged the participants and made the whole session interactive.   The workshop was a great success and raised awareness of successful and professional English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom practices among the participants.   Please click here to browse the booklet used in the workshop. Date: 10-2-2019 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation Photography: Dr. Justin Sfariac and Jahangir Alam

Bloom’s Taxonomy: A Powerful and Practical Tool for Effective Teaching

On Monday, March 13, 2017, Dr. Sheila Simpkins talked about the importance of Bloom’s Taxonomy in a seminar organized by the Language Research Centre held at the Al Samer Campus. Her Presentation was titled Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Effective Tool for Language Teaching. Dr. Simpkins' presentation was centered on the revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy. She emphasized the proper application of Bloom’s taxonomy in pedagogy and designing lessons. She related that learning objectives should be student-centered, concrete and measurable. Appropriate use of process verbs could make learning objectives concrete, she added. She also allowed the participants to discuss freely how Bloom’s taxonomy could be incorporated into teaching and lesson planning. She, while talking about the proper application of Bloom’s Taxonomy, pinpointed some major issues associated with education; one of which was excessive teacher talk time (TTT). She asserted excessive TTT as a primary indicator of a teacher-centered classroom where learners play a passive role most of the time. She put emphasis on learner-centered teaching where students are fully involved in the learning process. The presenter concluded that proper application of Bloom’s Taxonomy helps to create effective lessons that make students retain information longer, enhances critical thinking and engages students successfully in the learning process. It is worth mentioning that Gregor campus also participated in the seminar through video conferencing. The presentation was worthwhile and raised awareness in regards to lesson effectiveness among faculty members. Date: 03-17-2017 Source: MD Adil Multimedia Contribution: MD Sirajul Islam