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EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION VERSUS INEFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION Effective instruction is defined by classroom facilitators and students as the most important

agents in a classroom setting. An instructor can be very knowledgeable; however, if he or she is not able to find ways to connect to students, then class sessions may not be productive. On the other hand, if a classroom is composed of students who lack motivation, self-determination, and self-regulation, then students may perceive instruction as meaningless and boring. Therefore, effective instruction, from a personal standpoint, should be: Flexible: the recent changes in higher academia show an increase in the number of working adults that are returning to school. Balancing personal life, family responsibilities, and work can be challenging for these adults who are making an effort to remain marketable. Allowing students more time to complete their exams, providing them choices in terms of classroom assignments, and allowing them to take their time to come up with sound conclusions are just a few strategies that can alleviate some of the stress associated with classroom instruction. A reflection of a psychologically secure environment: my goal of instruction is to help students understand the essence of the learning not the methodology behind it. In order to achieve this goal, I model respectful behavior and create a classroom environment where students feel safe and respected. That climate of trust also motivates me to take risks in my teaching, and students to do the same as they learn. An opportunity for students to construct their own knowledge: to support the claim, it is pertinent to assert that meaningful, experiential learning has relevance to the whole person, has personal involvement (involves learners cognitions and feelings), is selfinitiated (impetus for learning comes from within), is pervasive (affects learners

behavior, attitudes and personality, and is evaluated by the learner (according to whether it is meeting needs or leading to goals) (Schunk, 2012). Defined by high expectations and classroom decorum: respect and diversity are just the starting point of creating a psychologically secure environment. During the first day of class, I spend the majority of the time explaining to my students my expectations and the classs goals and objectives. I also invite them to share with me what they expect from me as the instructor of the class. There are certain standards that have to be met and students are made aware of this during the first week of school. I am the type of instructor that sets the rules of the game from day one. Keeping your is dotted and your ts crossed can avoid problematic situations later on in the semester. Communication is key in every single relationship that emerges between two people. A source of knowledge and inspiration: at the community college level, I reach out to the disadvantaged, underserved or at-risk student populations because at one point in time, I belonged to one of the categories mentioned above; I was an at-risk college student. For this reason, my teaching philosophy stems from my personal beliefs and educational experiences. In this process of continuous reflective teaching, I share with my students what I have learned from my mistakes. It is my hope that students take advantage of this information as they define their goals. Adapted to different learning styles: one size does not fit all. Students that navigate the world of post-secondary education have different ways of learning. As a classroom facilitator, incorporating videos, power points, printing handouts, organizing debates and in-class discussions, can invite different learners to benefit from the same material being

covered in class. Using different teaching strategies ensures that your practices are not monotonous, boring, and lack creativity. An opportunity to discover ones own talents and vocation: it is so rewarding when you have a student come to your office to tell you: I hated foreign languages, but you helped me gain an appreciation for it. You have inspired me a lot As classroom facilitators, I believe we have the power to model, monitor, and mentor students as they acquire a higher level of learning. Challenging but not overwhelming: by working collaboratively with students, classrooms facilitators should be able to decide how much [material] is too much. The quality of instruction and its applicability is more important than the amount of content that should be taught in a class. Sometimes concepts and theories overlap. Therefore, by assisting students in creating analogies and establishing connections, learning can become an enjoyable and gratifying task. Accompanied by assignments and lessons that help students put concepts and theories into practice: by developing collaborative assignments, students get the opportunity to take an active approach while they practice what is learned. Schunk (2012) states that learning begins with the knowledge and skills that learners bring to the situation, which they expand and refine as a function of learning. Incorporating service learning in classroom activities can help students analyze current issues that are affecting our society and identify potential solutions to these problems. As a facilitator growing in the Educational Psychology field, I use all possible resources to ensure that every lesson my students learn inside and outside my classroom impacts their lives positively.

Well organized, concise, and precise: as a classroom facilitator, I always begin my class by annotating on the board the topics to be covered throughout the class session and the amount of time that will be spent on each topic. Rather than imparting learning, the primary job of teachers is to act as facilitators who establish a classroom climate oriented toward significant learning, and who help students clarify their goals. By doing so, facilitators arrange resources so that learning can occur.

Ineffective instruction, from a personal standpoint, is characterized by the following:

Poor content and disorganization: it is very frustrating and demotivating when instructors do not have a clue of what they are presenting to students. Learning can be challenging if instructors do not state clearly the learning objectives and outcomes for each class session. Content that is presented to students should be organized, simple enough to ensure that key concepts are understood, and validated by research or empirical evidence.

Lack of creativity, excitement, and engagement: in a continuously changing world, there are some instructors that still repeat word by word what the author of a book has written when lecturing in a classroom. Others read straight from a Power Point or Prezi presentation without incorporating examples that connect theory and practice. These are the instructors that only have a few written exams to evaluate students performance which, at the same time, prevents students from displaying their many talents and attributes.

Psychologically insecure environment: throughout my teaching experience, I have observed that there are some faculty members that are hesitant to change. These faculty members struggle when curriculum changes are required and when practices to include a diverse student population are necessary. On the other hand, some instructors that have acquired tenure or that have a doctoral degree tend to be arrogant and belittle those students that are starting to develop their metacognitive skills. Instructors with these characteristics can make a students learning experience miserable and frustrating.

Diversity is seen as a threat and not as an asset: forgetting that students come in different shapes and colors can be detrimental in the development of instructional practices. Classroom facilitators should understand that individuals are unique entities whose learning and social functioning levels cover a wide spectrum.

Lack of classroom management: instructors are responsible for setting solid goals and expectations from day one. They are also responsible for modeling the behavior that they expect from students. I find it very ironic when instructors demand respect but yet they are not willing to listen to what students have to say. Some others want students to be in the classroom at a certain time and they arrive fifteen to twenty minutes after the scheduled class time.

Inconsistencies between the theory and the practice: I have learned that, when teaching a class, certain incongruities between theory and practice will become evident. However, it is the teachers responsibility to fill in the gaps of knowledge that emerge in certain instructional practices. I have taken a couple of classes in which instructors usually state: Do not worry about that concept is not important. I do not have a clue

as to why the author of X book is making that assumption. When teaching my classes I use different sources that can verify the validity of theories. Monotony: have you ever heard students say: he/she always talks about the same topic he/she uses the same strategies and that is somewhat boring? Monotony can affect the quality of instruction as well as the motivational levels students may have as they acquire a higher level of learning. Rearranging the seats of the classroom in different ways, using various technological tools, and asking students to adopt different roles in the classroom can have a positive impact on the way information is processed. Students creativity is coerced: limiting the opportunities in which students can transfer what they have learned to different situations may be detrimental, once again, in the students levels of self-efficacy. Transfer occurs after an individual makes a successful connection between previously acquired knowledge and new knowledge. Transfer involves applying concepts and strategies in different ways to create more meaningful information. Communication (verbal and written) among students and classroom facilitator is seen as a barrier: there should be no excuse for not being able to connect with students. At present, the Internet and different learning management systems have allowed the communication process to be more fluent between instructors and students. Some instructors do not even take the time to check their emails to respond to the questions that students posit after class. This semester, I have created a Skype account to assist those working adults who cannot take advantage of my office hours. I see technology as an enabler of communication; not as a barrier.

Reference: Schunk, D. H. (2012). Learning theories: An educational perspective (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Miguel Llovera Da Corte