Instructional Pacing for Students with Diverse Backgrounds
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Being an effective teacher does not only require one to be knowledgeable and creative. Effective teaching, furthermore, deals with not only the right and appropriate techniques and methods of teaching. It is also about applying proper time management when teaching students. Thus when it comes to effective teaching, instructional pacing is equally important with instructional methods and strategies.
Instructional pacing is simply defined as the rate or speed of a teacher to carry out lessons to his students. (Lignugaris-Kraft and Rousseau, 1982, p. 5). This could also be taken as the rate of progress in a specific program or curriculum. Appropriate instructional pacing is important in the process of effective teaching as it helps students in understanding better the lessons. Moreover, instructional pacing is vital because it serves as a way to assess and evaluate the students’ progress of learning. In a sense, any good teaching strategy will not completely work if not executed with proper pacing.
Generally, researches have proven that students could learn more if the teachers conduct lessons at a brisk pace. The main reason behind this is that by having fast-paced teaching of lessons, students’ participation and attentiveness are being stimulated. Moreover, they could absorb more content. This scenario, in fact, applies also to low-achieving students (Wyne, Stuck, White, & Coop, 1986, p. 20). In addition, teaching at a brisk pace helps in decreasing disruptive classroom behaviors.
In preparing an instructional pacing plan for Grade 5-8 students having diverse cultural backgrounds, difficulty in relaying the lessons through English language could be addressed by providing information in a way that is clearly understood(tea.state.tx.us) If the teacher is not successful in doing this, instructional pacing will be directly affected. As long as a lesson is not clear to the students, the teacher might resort to slow instructional pacing. Given this scenario, an effective teacher might start teaching using the following methods:
Organize Materials. By having an organized, well-prepared, and accessible materials, interruptions during work time will be lessen. In maintaining an effective instructional pacing, it is important to prevent interruptions that are caused by misplaced materials.
Maintain a brisk pace. Too fast or too slow pacing is not helpful to students. Rosenshine (1980) found out that “teachers who were more successful at engaging students had their students engaged for two hours and thirty minutes per day, or 53 percent of the in-class time. The least successful teachers had students engaged for one hour and twenty minutes per day, or 28 percent of the in- class time.” ELL’s however could be handled by explaining vocabulary terms in words known to them, writing in simple and short sentences, providing vocabulary terms everyday, using of pictures and illustrations, and other helpful tools.
Ask questions and give corrective feedbacks. To maintain students’ interest, asking them questions will help. This should also be done in a moderately pacing mode. In addition, allot 3-5 seconds to wait for students’ responses. More importantly, by providing them corrective feedbacks, the teacher could maintain optimal pacing of instruction.
Manage classroom behavior. Students with diverse personalities and background should be handled well. By giving them positive reinforcements, corrective feedbacks, and prompts, their classroom behavior could be managed properly. In that way, the pace of instruction will be maintained.
Review content/skill areas to be taught. The purpose of this is to be ready for any possible problems that might be encountered. The teacher must be alert to those areas students find difficult. By reviewing such areas, the teacher would know if adjustment in instructional pacing is necessary to employ.
Apply varied instructional strategies. Having appropriate and varied instructional strategies could increase the chance of students to master, remember, and transfer knowledge. However, always assess and review first the skills of the students before doing variations.
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