I appreciate the discussion of Advance Organizers and Presentational Instruction this week. The simplistic and straightforward nature of both of these forms of teaching seem to be very effective to me in conveying a clear message about content to be learned in successive sessions. It seems to me that in today’s world of innovation and creative educational reform, the more traditional method of a teacher simply presenting information explicitly to a student has almost become taboo, but this instructional model assures me that there is still a place for the very direct instruction which I received (I would say successfully) as a student.
While the previous Information Processing approaches (concept attainment, inductive teaching, etc) inspire me as an educator to put learning in the hands of the student and to ignite their own critical thinking processes, the concepts of Advance Organizers and actually helping to scaffold students’ cognitive structures feels like a good anchor to have in my future classroom, especially as a means of introducing entirely new units or themes.
In English Language instruction, we are taught as educators to begin each unit with an Anticipatory phase, in which we engage students’ interest in the coming subject and build excitement for learning the new material. The idea of Advance Organizers reminds me of the Anticipatory phase. I can easily see myself using a fun graphic organizer to present the concept of exclamations (as seen in Figure 1), or perhaps a narrative organizer to introduce the ideas of conversational etiquette. With a visual tool such as an organizer, students – especially English Language Learners – can easily see the impending learning laid out before them, and prepare themselves for the objectives to be met.