Each time a teacher steps into the classroom, his or her goal, more often than not, is to deliver a lesson that enables the most effective student learning to occur. In this case, effective lesson delivery refers to the ability to teach and engage the students, and optimize their learning experiences over time.
To be able to do that, however, is no mean feat but providing teachers with the right resources, support structures and adequate knowledge of what goes behind classroom lessons can give them the confidence that they need to actively contribute to positive student learning outcomes. This contribution comes in the form of what is known as the “Instructional Core”.
The Instructional Core essentially refers to Teachers interacting with Students in the presence of Content (or subject matter). In any learning setting, these three essential components – Teacher, Student, Content – will always be present, be it in a classroom, at home or in bible camp for instance. Key to the Instructional Core is the interactions between these three components that enable effective teaching and learning to occur. By understanding the relationship between these three elements and how they influence each other, we can get a glimpse into what teachers and students do daily in the formal school setting that we would call “education”.
In this issue of SingTeach, we delve into the heart of Singapore classrooms and focus on how our teachers teach and how our students learn educational content. The Big Idea article, “How Teachers Teach and How Students Learn”, will further unravel the definition of Instructional Core, and how it affects both teaching and learning.
The rest of the issue highlights reflective teaching as a key role in improving classroom practices, an NIE flagship research programme that actively examines the Instructional Core, and the importance of this programme from the perspective of the Ministry of Education. Four teachers also share with us how they constantly better their classroom teaching in “In Their Own Words“.
Finally, I hope that you, as part of the teaching fraternity, will be inspired to take teaching and learning in your own hands as you embark on a journey of professional learning that ultimately shapes the lives of our young learners. I also hope that this issue will enable us to think further and deeper into how we teach and how our students learn, so as to improve the pedagogies that we use.
– Dr Dennis Kwek