Teaching Analytics: Analyze Your Lesson Plans To Improve Them

Using Teaching Analytics To Analyze Your Lesson Plans

Classroom teachers commonly use structured lesson plans to orchestrate their teaching as well as share teaching practices with peers and mentors. However, structured lesson plans can also be used by teachers to analyze, reflect on, and hopefully improve their teaching design, before they deliver it to their students. Teaching Analytics refers to the methods and tools that aim to support this process of improvement.

Capturing Your Classroom Teaching Designs: Lesson Plans

It is quite common for classroom teachers to capture, document and share their teaching designs in lesson plans. Classroom teachers use lesson plans as blueprints to document how they will orchestrate the teaching, learning and assessment activities for their students during a certain period of classroom, laboratory and homework time.

To capture the teaching design, lesson plans are usually based on templates, which may include a range of elements, such as:

  • The educational objectives / standards to be attained.
  • The flow and time frame of the learning and assessment activities to be delivered.
  • The educational resources and/or tools that support the learning and assessment activities.

Using templates to structure teaching design in lesson plans makes it easier for teachers to create a portfolio of their teaching practice and also allows them to easily share it with peers and mentors, who can replicate or modify it to meet their own needs.

However, having a structured documentation of the teaching design can also help the teacher in a different way; to reflect on and assess the teaching design before they deliver it to their students, as a means of self-improvement.

Teaching Analytics provides the methods and tools to facilitate teachers during this process.

Teaching Analytics

As aforementioned, Teaching Analytics refer to the methods and tools that teachers can deploy in order to analyse their teaching design and reflect on it (as a whole or on individual elements), aiming to improve the learning conditions for their students.

Generally, in the context of school classroom teaching practice, Teaching Analytics can be used to support teaching planning in various ways, as indicated in the following table:

Task Description Indicative Tool
Analyze classroom teaching design for self-reflection and improvement Visualizes the elements of the lesson plan and facilitate teacher reflection on their design Learning Designer
Visualizes the alignment of the lesson plan to educational objectives / standards, to allow the teacher to track if and to what extend their lesson plans are aligned to specific educational objectives or relevant standards MyLessonPlanner
Validates whether a lesson plan has potential inconsistencies in its design, and allow the teacher to remedy prior to the delivery of the lesson Lesson Plan Creator
Analyze classroom teaching design through sharing with peers or mentors to receive feedback Supports the process of sharing a lesson plan with peers or mentors and allow them to provide feedback through Lesson Planner
Analyze classroom teaching design through co-designing and co-reflecting with peers Allows peers to jointly analyze and annotate a common teaching design in order to allow for co-reflection Common Curriculum

Conclusion

Teaching Analytics is an emerging field, and even though there are limited existing tools for now, it is constantly expanding. For example, recent developments aim to enhance the analysis of the teaching design by tracking how the teacher actually delivers this design to their students.

Additionally, Teaching Analytics can also be combined with insights from Learning Analytics, which aim to monitor how the students engaged with the teaching design.  This synergy, termed as Teaching and Learning Analytics aim to support evidence-based reflective teaching practice.

If you are interested to learn more, you can join me and a large community of innovative teachers from around the globe to Curtin's new edX MOOC on Analytics For The Classroom Teacher.

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