Finding the Balance Between Process and Product Through Perceptual Lesson Planning
by P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Bradley M. Conrad & Christy M. Moroye - 2013
Background/Context: Lesson planning is one of the most common activities required of teachers; however, since the late 1970s and early 1980s, it has not been a major focus of study, either conceptually or empirically. Although there are recent articles on the topic, much of the current work is specific to examining a particular teaching method or subject area. This essay not only examines the lesson planning process, a neglected area of study, but also puts forward a perceptual or arts-based approach to lesson planning that has not been attended to since Elliot Eisnerís essays on objectives.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The purposes of this conceptual paper are is to provide theoretical grounding for perceptual lesson planning; to analytically examine the two current, dominant approaches to creating lesson plans; and to put forward ideas that undergird a fresh approach to creating and analyzing lesson planning.
Research Design: This study consists of a major literature review and a related conceptual argument. We also present qualitative data (a lesson plan with attendant interview material) and preliminary findings from an ongoing study.
Analytic Framework: We use an original analytic framework to discuss the two dominant approaches to lesson planning, the behaviorist and constructivist modes, and to compare them to the perceptual mode. Our analytical categories consist of the following: intentions, process, product, and outcomes. By intentions we mean the aims, goals, or objectives of the lesson plan. The process refers to how the lesson plan is created and what that experience is like for the teacher. Product refers to the actual lessons that result from the planning. Outcomes refer to both the anticipated results of the lesson as well as the general kinds of student outcomes desired in the mode of lesson planning.
Conclusions/Recommendations: Perceptual lesson planning may be characterized as engaging teachersí and students senses and creativity; as an artistic endeavor that is joyful in and of itself; as consisting of various stylized products; and leading toward meaningful learning for students and teachers in an environment open to elements of surprise and innovation. Lesson planning may be functional and meaningful to teachers and subsequently their students. Lesson planning could be something teachers enjoy, learn from, and appreciate. Thus, we note that focusing on the process of lesson planning is an important part of education that warrants much more attention.
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