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Much of what we do by way of teaching takes the form of classroom instruction.
It’s a pedagogy that is highly dependent on teacher performance. So much so that we can identify around 49 specific instructional acts that are teacher-specific.
The key to instructional effectiveness is knowing how to perform those acts effectively.
Part of the dance of the classroom is triggering the connection between teacher performance and student learning.
I think too many teachers work too hard at teaching as performance, to the extent they run the risk of turning learning into a spectator sport. When that happens learning loses its effectiveness.
The pedagogical principle at work here is, “Students learn what they are giving attention to, and when they don’t give attention, they don’t learn.”
In classroom instruction, then, student attention is key to learning.
Here are eight ways to maintain attention in classroom instruction:
Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. He directs the Pastoral Excellence Program at Columbia seminary. He is the author of the bestseller, The Hidden Lives of Congregations (Alban), Perspectives on Congregational Leadership (Educational Consultants), and A Family Genogram Workbook (Educational Consultants), with Elaine Boomer & Don Reagan, and Leadership in Ministry: Bowen Theory in the Congregational Context.
His books on education include Mastering the Art of Instruction, The Craft of Christian Teaching (Judson), How to be the Best Christian Study Group Leader (Judson), and Planning for Christian Education Formation (Chalice Press).