Marzano Lesson Segment 2, Addressing Content: The Big Picture

Lesson Segment 2 of the Marzano Model goes deep into the heart of the higher-order thinking skills students need to cultivate for Common Core success.

Sometimes referred to as the “meat” of Domain 1, Lesson Segment, Addressing Content serves as a template for how successful instruction fosters complex learning. Comprised of research-based teaching strategies and laid out like a road map, this lesson segment gives educators directions for moving classroom instruction towards rigor, to the demands of Common Core State Standards, and toward preparation for CCSS’s aligned assessments, such as PARCC and SBAC.  These strategies help students understand more complex content, they help develop thinking skills, and ultimately through metacognition, they regulate thinking processes so that students reach the desired goal: deep understanding of content. [For a more detailed overview of metacognition, see Jennifer Livingston’s excellent article].

Changing the Teacher’s Role: Moving Toward Student Self-Direction

The Lesson Segment Addressing Content is the heart of the Marzano Model: it’s where deep student learning occurs. Teaching strategies here are “high probability” strategies for increasing student achievement, and they are strategies highly aligned with the focus of Common Core. This Lesson Segment consists of Design Question 2, Helping Students Interact with New Knowledge; Design Question 3; Helping Students Practice and Deepen New Knowledge; and Design Question 4; Helping Students Generate and Test Hypotheses. The lesson segment flows from less to more complex, with students moving from being consumers of knowledge to users of knowledge. The teacher’s role changes from a very active one to a facilitating role.

In Design Question 2, Interacting with New Knowledge, the information or skill being taught is introduced at its most elementary level. The teacher helps students identify critical content, connect it to their previous knowledge, and process it in groups. Students also record the new knowledge and reflect on it.

In Design Question 3, Helping Students Practice and Deepen New Knowledge, students review the previous learning. Again, they process in groups. But now they move one level up in the complexity of their thinking, using similarities and differences and examining errors in reasoning. Based on these examinations, they test and revise their knowledge.

In Design Question 4, Helping Students Generate and Test Hypotheses, students are organized for cognitively complex task and generating and testing hypotheses. The teacher provides resources and guidance, but at this point the teacher steps back and learning becomes more student-directed.

Students as Knowledge Generators

Now that students have developed a deeper understanding of the knowledge, or have become fluent in the skill, they use it to develop new knowledge and insights. Students generate predictions of what will happen when they apply this information or skill in different contexts. Students work with problem solving, experimental inquiry, decision making, and investigations. They have learned, in essence, to generate new knowledge.

Lesson Segment, Addressing Content leads us through the learning process from initial understanding to using new knowledge, to help us gain new insights. Students examine and improve how they think about thinking – the very definition of metacognition.

In the process, students become self-sufficient and effective learners, ready for the demands of the 21st century.

What tips do you have for working with students in Lesson Segment 2? Share your comments below.

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