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close this bookEffective Educational Practices (IAE - IBE - UNESCO, 2000, 24 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe International Academy of Education
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
View the document1. Parent involvement
View the document2. Graded homework
View the document3. Aligned time on task
View the document4. Direct teaching
View the document5. Advance organizers
View the document6. The teaching of learning strategies
View the document7. Tutoring
View the document8. Mastery learning
View the document9. Co-operative learning
View the document10. Adaptive education
View the documentReferences
View the documentThe International Bureau of Education - IBE

3. Aligned time on task

Students who are actively focused on educational goals do best in mastering the subject matter.

Research findings

More than 130 studies support the obvious idea that the more students study, the more they learn. It is one of the most consistent findings in all educational research. Time alone, however, does not suffice. Learning activities should reflect educational goals. This alignment or co-ordination of means with goals can be called 'curricular focus'. A similar reform term is 'systemic reform', which means that the three components of the curriculum - (1) goals, (2) textbooks, materials and learning activities, and (3) tests and other outcome assessments - are well matched in content and emphasis.

In the classroom

The amount learned reflects both study time and curricular focus. Curricular focus represents efforts to decide what should be learned by a given age or grade level, and then concentrating attention, time and energy on these elements. Consequently, students at a given grade level should have greater degrees of shared knowledge and skills as prerequisites for further learning; teachers may then avoid excessive review; and progress can be better assessed.

Teachers have the most direct role in ensuring that this emphasis is carried into the classroom. The teacher's skilful classroom management, by taking into account what is to be learned and identifying the most efficient ways to present it, increases effective study time. Students who are actively engaged in activities focused on specific instructional goals make more progress towards these goals.

References: Anderson & Walberg, 1994; Fredrick, 1980; Fredrick & Walberg, 1980; Stigler, Lee & Stevenson, 1987; Walberg & Fredrick, 1991; Walberg & Haertel, 1997; Walberg & Paik, 1997; Waxman & Walberg, 1999.