Teaching is, by its very nature, an improvisational activity that requires complex cognitive processing of many competing factors (Riel). This portal section connects to research and resources on the many dimensions that a skillful teacher orchestrates in the process of teaching - tasks, scaffolding, adaptations, instructional strategies, group work and teaching style and methods/frameworks.
Educators need to understand a range of approaches to learning, organizing tasks, and information to better suit individual student learning abilities. This area has articles and research on making adaptations to instruction to help students reach their educational goals. Adaptations can relate to 1) socioemotional/behavioral environments; 2) physical environment and 3) the instructional environment (lesson plans, techniques, content, media, technology, and evaluation.)
Assessment is an essential element in effective learning environments and involves gathering student performance data, analyzing against specific goals and criteria to aid the teacher the teacher in instructional decision-making. Mislevy et. al. describes assessment as built on a model of how students represent knowledge and develop competence in the subject domain, tasks or situations that allow one to observe student performance, and an interpretation method for drawing inferences from the performance evidence. Under this area are articles and research on aspects of assessment - pre and post assessment, formative and summative as well as conducting formal and informal assessments.
Classroom instruction is a multi-faceted endeavor involving strategies for working with students, presenting materials, and guiding learning; sequencing of tasks to apply and practice learning, frameworks for structuring tasks; methodologies like differentiating instruction; processes for group work, and facilitating class discussion.
Discourse - the ways of representing, thinking, talking, agreeing and disagreeing - is central to what students learn. The teacher's role is to initiate and orchestrate discourse and to use it skillfully to foster student learning (NCTM) Under this link are articles related to strategies teacher can use to facilitate discussion - skills for listening, responding and questioning to promote student learning.
Group work, instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other's learning (Johnson), has a variety of approaches and dimensions, Possible topics in this area are cooperative groups, complex instruction, diverse classrooms and meeting diversity, differentiated instruction, group motivation, and group incentives.
Advances in educational research has given us a rich collection of frameworks, philosophies and methods that help us understand cognition, learning, and human development. When studied and applied in the classroom they can enrich and scaffold learning. This area cannot cover the breadth of resources available but a subset that users of SimSchool have found most helpful - Bloom's Taxonomy, Marzano's research on Classroom instruction, National Research Council's How People Learn and others.