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Monday, September 19, 2016

Last week I said that the idea of substeps was a bit ambiguous, well that was before this weeks reading. There was a lot of detail on the process of substeps and breaking everything down into bite size pieces that guide the student in the learning process. I think that I have always understood this concept and have done this myself with my teaching, but not to this level of detail and not as well planned out as this chapter purports. Breaking things down into smaller segments makes sense, having a plan makes a lot of sense, I think that is where I didn't do as well as I could have in the past. Having an instructional goal and then building from there and making sure that each step along the way gets you closer and closer makes a lot of sense, I just feel that as a teacher I didn't have the time I needed to make this happen as fluidly as it should.

I really liked the guiding questions, "What is it that the student must already know how to do, the absence of which would make it impossible to learn this subordinate skill?" This question is helpful when determining subordinate tasks and what additional teaching, if any, is needed. I also really liked, "What mistake might students make if they were learning this particular skill?" I like this because it really makes you evaluate how you would teach the skill and prepare for mistakes.

Overall, I think that the issue for teachers is that while entry behaviors are part of design, if a student(s) has holes in their learning they may lack those skills. Certainly each grade level should build on the next but if students don't have some of these entry behaviors then remedial instruction in necessary. This is time consuming and if students have special needs it may require extra help that the teacher may or may not be able to provide. The idea of building from one year to the next is built into our education system and it works when students have learned the material. If they have forgotten or never learned it, it becomes quite problematic for the teacher. It is important to recognize entry behaviors and have a plan to remediate when students don't possess them.

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