chapter  24
30 Pages

Managing Instruction

Reading instruction involves not only selecting and presenting a curriculum to students, but also structuring a context in which teaching and learning can occur. Setting up and maintaining a total environment-which includes curricular, organizational, and instructional aspects-either for one student or for many is managing instruction. Approaches to the topic of managing instruction are likely to stress either pragmatic or philosophical concerns. Pragmatic concerns are often directed toward finding an optimal size for instructional groups. While such a focus for an individual study may seem mundane or even simplistic, the goal-to discover cost-effective environments for teaching and learning-has both practical and theoretical significance. Philosophical concerns address such questions as whether the perceived needs of individuals or the structure of subject matter ought to be the basis for planning and for managing instruction. Questions like these are raised frequently when the issues related to the return-to-basics movement or the debate about setting minimum competencies are considered. But whatever the emphasis, the underlying quest in the literature on managing instruction is to give proper consideration to value systems, type and structure of content, the psychology of individual differences, and the structures and processes of effective schooling in order to enhance the learning of individual students. Americans continue to "value the individual person more than all else" (Sartain, 1968, p. 197), and this overriding fact sets the tone for virtually all of the work that relates to managing instruction.