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Brief Description of the Current "Traditional" Approach

As this is the approach most parents and students are familiar with only a brief description follows.

This approach centers on the teacher as the leader of instruction. Typically goals for the unit of study are outlined and then a progression of lessons follows. These lessons may be motivated by a discussion of a real world use for the procedure being taught. The lesson usually involves a connection to a previously learned concept; the new procedure is then taught and applied. For the most part students are provided with examples of how to solve various exercises related to the lesson. Homework usually involves several problems intended to drill the skill and develop long-term memory links to the steps and concepts involved.

The classroom environment and instructional pace tends to be controlled. When instruction takes place students should be taking notes, listening and attempting to understand the procedure. Students most often work independently and are expected to ask questions if they don’t understand and to try things themselves. Occasionally, students are asked to share their approach with other students or discuss their understanding of a concept with others. Sometimes, group presentations are made to the class; more often one student at a time will explain how they completed the exercises.

Assessments are usually based on the homework assignments and commonly ask students to demonstrate a mastery of both the new skills and the previously learned concepts. Not as often, students are asked to synthesize and apply alternative approaches to a solution and then justify their answer.

The use of technology to enhance the learning may or may not be used depending on the course and teacher. It is not uncommon to see the use of computers, graphing calculators or Internet programs in a traditional classroom. However, the use of these technology aids depends on the intent of the teacher, in most cases it is not a requirement for the lesson.