Planning a Course
Decide what your objectives are, what you want the students to learn. This can include any of the following:
- Specific techniques.
- Study skills.
- Self-awareness about study skills.
- Intellectual skills.
- Character and attitude skills.
These are listed in order of abstraction from the material and thus, to some extent, in order of difficulty. It is easiest to transfer information, hardest to teach intellectual or character skills.
Make a realistic selectionof the goals most important for the class in question. In a general education biology class, your purpose may not be to teach specific information as much as it is to help the students develop an understanding of how scientists approach the world, of how biology affects much of their life, and of how to become responsible stewards of the world around them.
- Always ask yourself: What do these particular students need to learn in this particular class?
Budget time realisticallyaccording to difficulty of task. Understand that techniques and skills need much practice and often must be broken down into steps, each of which must be learned and practiced.
- Decide whether the goals you have established (i.e. the particular mix of information and skill) are attainable within the period of time provided.
- Make a grid of your available class times and distribute the work over the time. If you are having trouble making it fit, you need to make your goals more realistic or find a way to make your teaching more efficient.