Precision teaching is about knowing what strategies to implement when for maximum impact. In a single sentence, perhaps, it summarised the essence and direction of teaching for me. To achieve that the author suggested that we have to balance Surface, Deep, and Transfer Learning. It also mentioned a notable thing, to plan a lesson we have to think about the precision teaching . It is a framing device for making decisions about how and when you engage in certain tasks, questioning techniques, and teaching strategies. Lesson should be planned based on “an idea” and “many ideas” (which together are surface), and “relating ideas” and “extending ideas” (which together signify deep). Transfer is when students take their learning and use it in new situations. An example, today while I was trying to gather what is required to reach level 4 certification for the Education Perfect, they expected me to transfer my recent acquired learning to other teachers and institutions by organising workshops and presentations.
The author claimed and suggested that teachers should recognise that learning is not an event, it is a process. We perceive that surface, deep, and transfer learning always occur in this set order, i.e the surface learning should happen at the beginning of a unit and transfer at the end. In reality, these three kinds of learning spiral around one another across an ever widening plane. Learning is not linear and does not follow a repeating pattern and it is needless to say, it is different for different students.
Let me wind up today’s compilation with another important extract, that the deep phase of learning provides students with opportunities to consolidate their understanding of say, mathematical concepts and procedures and make deeper connections among ideas. Often, this is accomplished when students work collaboratively with their peers, use academic language, and interact in richer ways with ideas and information.
Let’s look at an example: based on previous year’s of work on number arrays as model for multiplication, if we, at the start of the year, work on factors and multiples which further develops the idea of prime and composite numbers. All happens through class discussion and aims at strengthening the knowledge of mathematical vocabulary. Thus the process becomes a natural part of the student conversations (surface learning). It follows on to an mathematical game called Factor Game in which an understanding of primes and composites is crucial to developing strategies to win (thus deep learning is occurring now). This can be linked up to study of area and perimeter of rectangles. It may not be surprising if students during these exploration comment that these are just like what they did with primes and composites at the beginning of year. These are talk about making connections.
Students move to deep learning when they plan, investigate, and elaborate on their conceptual understandings, and then begin to make generalisations. But the question is, do all these happen, spontaneously among the students? I doubt. Here the teacher facilitation is essential. Thus, arises the value of teacher awareness.