Action Overview: Current Instruction

Action: Examine current instructional practices across the organization

This set of resources is designed to help educators collect and analyze data about current instructional practices that are evidenced by educators in their organization.

Introduction

Instructional practices are the techniques that teachers use to facilitate student learning. These practices are influenced by many factors, including experiences teachers have had as learners, their preservice training, professional development, and interactions with colleagues.

Why examine current instructional practices?

One of the tenets of a standards-based education system is that improving student outcomes requires that supports are provided for improving instructional practices. Data on current instructional practices can provide information for teams to consider when selecting effective instructional practices for implementation, as well as for understanding the ongoing support needed.

Examining current instructional practices can provide data

· To gain an understanding of instructional practices being used across the system
· That can be compared to beliefs (See Action 1)
· That can be used to compare to later learning about effective instructional practices
· To help in the selection process of effective practices to focus on
· To help educators see the need for improvement and understand where there is room for growth.

When making instructional changes, there is a natural tendency for descriptions of effective instructional practices to be viewed as different labels for what is already being done (Munter et al., 2015). Data on current practice can help educators see more concretely where practice aligns with effective practices and where there is room for growth.

What if we don’t yet have all the data we think we need?

The two activities that support this action help teams identify data they have and need, and then provide a few ways to analyze that data. We recommend both activities be completed. Continuous improvement is a growth process. Depending on where your team and organization are on the journey of continuous improvement, some data regarding current instruction may not yet be collected and available for analysis as part of the process of selecting instructional practice(s) to implement. In this case, do what you can with the data you have, and as your standards-based education data system becomes more robust, the analysis activity can (and should) be repeated.

Suggested Activities

Activity 1: Develop or revise tools to collect data about instructional practices.

Activity 2: Engage in a process for analyzing current instructional practices data.

References

Munter, C., Stein, M. K., and Smith, M. (2015). Is there a common pedagogical core? Examining instructional practices of competing models of mathematics teaching. NCSM Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership, 15(2), 3-13.