Planning vs reacting

I have a three-week, four-hours-a-day physical science course starting Monday. With the tight timeline, I’ve found myself trying to plan very carefully and much further in advance than I normally do. I’ve found the approach unsettling & this has me thinking.

Preservice programs are good at getting future teachers to plan lessons & units. We ask future teachers to create activities, scripts & alternative/differentiated activities & scripts. Yet, great teachers are able to react to students in the moment of teaching.

Planning is important, but how do we help new teachers learn to react? I’m not willing to simply say they figure it out in the first few years because many of them don’t.

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4 Responses to Planning vs reacting

  1. brian says:

    Interesting that you post this. Years ago, an administrator once asked me: what percentage of your teaching is proactive versus being reactive? This is exactly what you’re getting at and I think it’s a fascinating question. As you mention, it has big implications for preservice teachers (and teachers in general). You’re right in that teachers are always told to plan, plan, plan, and plan some more. But how do we teach to the moment and how do you train teachers to do this?


  2. Dear Dr. Kruse,
    As someone who is planning on becoming an educator, I am very interested in ways to make the time in class run smoothly. I know I always assumed that you had to carefully plan each class. However, there is no way to predict how quickly the students will pick up the material. Each day is a new day with new problems. So what is the best way to teach future educators to react rather than focus all of their time on planning?
    Rebekah Linton


  3. 4blogssake says:

    train them in improvisation.


  4. Candace King says:

    This is a very interesting post. There is no way to plan on how fast the students will pick up the material so that makes it hard to plan. Planning is a very important part of teaching but sometimes can be made very difficult.


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