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ICI Academic ║Professor Lei Hao: Basic Logic of Teaching Material Use at School Level


Professor Lei Hao

ICI Deputy Director

Basic Logic of Teaching Material Use at School Level

Research on the use of teaching materials can be traced back to the mid-to-late 1970s. However, at that time, it mainly focused on how teaching materials present knowledge and skills to students from a teaching perspective, and how to carry out teaching activities based on teaching materials. Until the mid-1990s, research on the use of textbooks lacked systematic exploration. However, in the past two decades, this field has developed rapidly. Researchers in educational theory and practice have paid great attention to how teachers and students use teaching materials in school education, and what impact the teaching materials have on classroom teaching practice. Standards-based curriculum reform is the most important enabler in this area. Since the new century, many countries around the world have ushered in a wave of standards-based curriculum reform. However, policymakers and researchers are faced with the confusion that "there is insufficient evidence to prove which teaching materials are effective." In order to respond to this problem in our country, the key is to clarify the basic logic of the use of teaching materials at the school level. Combining relevant theories and practices, the basic logic for the use of teaching materials at the school level should include three aspects: schools must manage the teaching materials well; teachers must use the teaching materials well; and students must learn the teaching materials well.

1. Schools manage teaching materials well and establish standards for the use of teaching materials.

The use of teaching materials is a systematic project. Schools should formulate regulations to ensure that national and local requirements for the use of teaching materials are implemented. At the same time, the use of teaching materials should be used as an opportunity to highlight the school's educational characteristics. First, formulate a plan for the use of teaching materials at the school level. School-level teaching material use planning comes from the interpretation of teaching material policies and the analysis of school education history. Based on these, different types and variety subject teaching material use plans are established, thereby forming a characteristic path for school-level teaching material use. Secondly, establish a system for using textbooks at the school level. The teaching material use system at the school level includes the selection, use, supervision and safeguard measures of teaching materials. These systems provide basic guarantees for standardizing the use of teaching materials at the school level, and also provide incentives for teachers to increase their enthusiasm for using teaching materials. Finally, create an “enabling” mechanism for using teaching materials. Subject groups should be regularly organized to carry out school-based teaching and research activities on the use of teaching materials based on curriculum standards to improve the level of teaching material use by school teachers.

2. Teachers make good use of teaching materials and form a cycle mechanism of “understanding-application-evaluation-improvement” of teaching materials.

Teachers' use of teaching materials is a key link in the use of teaching materials at the school level, and its starting point and destination are the goals of subject education, which should be implemented in detail when using teaching materials. The basic mechanism for teachers to use teaching materials is, first, understanding the teaching materials. The process of teachers understanding teaching materials mainly includes understanding the ideal teaching materials (subject education goals), interpreting prototype teaching materials, characterizing and selecting teaching materials, and adjusting and improving learning teaching materials. Secondly, using the teaching materials. The process of teachers using teaching materials is the classroom teaching process, which is also a process of interaction between teachers and students using teaching materials as an intermediate. In this process, issues such as the interaction between teachers and teaching materials, activity situations, and teaching results require special attention. Then, evaluate the teaching materials. The purpose of teachers’ understanding and use of teaching materials is to promote students’ learning and development. Therefore, the evaluation of teaching materials use with the emphasis on “how well students learn” is also an important part of teachers’ use of teaching materials. Finally, improve teaching materials. Based on the evidence of the teaching material use process and the evidence of goal achievement collected in the teaching material evaluation, teacher's teaching material use process will be further adjusted. The above four links constitute a cycle mechanism for teachers’ use of teaching materials.

3. Students learn teaching materials well and achieve their own development by interacting with teaching materials.

Students' use of textbooks is not a matter of rote memorization of textbook knowledge, but a process of gaining a good learning experience and realizing their own development through interaction with the textbooks. In this process, on the one hand, students understand, based on the learning goals, the structure and function of teaching material , and continuously structure the teaching material content, and the functions of each part of the teaching material are also demonstrated based on the learning goals; on the other hand, students gradually formed their own way of using teaching materials under the impact of learning motivations, beliefs or other factors. Surely, it needs to be pointed out that in order to ensure that students can better use the teaching materials, this process needs to highlight the typical learning methods of the subject, so that students can gradually form a way of using teaching materials with subject characteristics during the practice process.

The use of textbooks at the school level is not only an important measure to implement the national education requirements, but also a practical need to stimulate school vitality and cultivate creative talents. However, it should be noted that although this article has presented the basic logic of the use of textbooks at the school level from three levels which constitute a system with their own division of labor and mutual influence, rather than being separated from each other. The high-quality development of education is prompted by systematic use of teaching materials at school level.