Speaking of the union, there are two really good pieces in this month’s American Educator that you should check out:
Putting Students on the Path to Learning makes the case for Fully Guided Instruction (as opposed to Partially Guided Instruction (a.k.a., Discovery or Inquiry learning) particularly for novel information, including this interesting gem:
Researchers found that algebra students learned more by studying worked examples than by solving equivalent problems…For novices studying worked examples seems invariable superior to discovering or constructing a solution to a problem…studying a worked example reduces the burden on working memory (because the solution only has to be comprehended not discovered) and directs attention…toward storing the essential relations between problem-solving moves in long-term memory. Students learn to recognize which moves are required for particular problems, which is the basis for developing knowledge and skill as a problem solver.
The other is “Principles of Instruction: Research Based Strategies that All Teachers Should Know”and it provides an overview of 10 strategies and 17 principles of effective instruction that you probably already know but might, like me, benefit from seeing again.