STANDARD LESSON FORMAT
CoRT 2 - ORGANISATION
There are no Principles sections or Project sections in the CoRT 2 lessons. Otherwise, these are run in a similar way to the CoRT 1 lessons. Teachers are, however, encouraged to introduce variety (see Teaching Points section) and to develop their own style, so long as the basic purpose of the lesson is not lost. This basic purpose is to direct thinking processes.
The lessons are designed to be used over a single period of 35 minutes. In most cases, this will be rather short. Where possible, a double period can be used. It does not matter if not all the practice items are done so long as the central process of the lesson is made clear. When time is short, teachers must be crisp and brief and not stop to discuss every interesting point that arises.
Teachers give out the student notes to the students at the beginning of the lesson or after introducing the lesson. This second method is interesting as it frees the teacher from having to follow the introduction in the student notes and yet provides a back-up to what the teacher said. The introduction can be shorter than for the CoRT 1 lessons, since the lessons are centred on a specific question which is self-explanatory. This key question is more important than the lesson title. Philosophy should be avoided in the introduction. Ideally, the lessons should be introduced with a local example. Suggestions are given in the Lesson Notes for each lesson, and teachers can make up other examples for themselves.
Illustration and example are more useful than subtle points of explanation. There is no need for the teacher to read out the introduction, since the students can do this for themselves during the lesson.
Groups and Individuals
The students work in groups as in the CoRT 1 lessons (see CoRT 1 for details). In the CoRT 2 lessons more opportunity can be given for individual work and some items can be tackled on an individual basis as indicated in the Lesson Notes for each lesson. A teacher may ask an individual student for an answer or for comments even when the students have been doing their thinking as a group.
Choice of Practice Item
Each lesson contains eight practice items of which four are to be done. The Lesson Notes indicate when an item should be done and when choice is allowed. Nevertheless teachers need not stick precisely to these suggestions and can make their own choices or ask the students to suggest some practice items. They should remember, however, to have a mix of items some long and some short; some familiar and some remote; some easy and some that challenge the students.
As there are no Principles or Project sections in CoRT 2, more time can be spent on the practice items. Suggested timings are shown in the Lesson Notes for each lesson, but these will vary enormously with different students. All these timings are on the short side and should certainty be extended if the lesson is to last longer than a 35-minute period. With some classes it may not prove possible to do more than two or three items in a period. The teacher should try to cut down on discussions that explore the subject matter and should concentrate on the thinking process being practised. There is always a great temptation to move away from process to content.
For many of the practice items, suggested answers are given in the Lesson Note. These are not meant to be treated as the "right" answers They are only suggestions to help teachers should their own minds go blank when they are searching for an illustration of what is wanted. When students are producing ideas freely, these suggestions can be ignored. Indeed, the teacher could note in a book for future use the ideas turned up by students in a lesson. They could use these ideas as illustrations when giving the same lesson to another class.
The output can take several forms:
- In-turn group output: Through its spokesperson each group in turn gives its output or adds one more point to the master list.
- Designated group output: One group is designated to give its output through a spokesperson and then individuals in other groups can comment on this or add to it.
- Individual within group: Here the thinking takes place in groups but the teacher asks named individuals to report on the thinking of their group. The teacher may also respond to ideas from individuals.
- Individual output: This refers to lessons done on an individual basis.
- Written output: This can be from groups or individuals and can take the form of notes written in answer to a question. The essay-type output is restricted to individuals and is more suitable for a test situation.
The teacher can operate a master list of points or ideas on the blackboard. Alternatively, the teacher can ask the students to make a master list of all the ideas put forward and can then pick on an individual student to read out his/her list. After each practice item, a certain amount of discussion may be allowed but this should be kept brief. With the more able students, certain parts of a lesson or even a whole lesson may be given over to individual essay-type outputs, but this should be in addition to the lesson, not instead of it.
There is no Project section, but those schools which are used to giving the students projects can use any item from the lesson itself or from the items in the test section.
This is the usual open discussion with the students acting as individuals rather than groups. The teacher can question any student or accept comments from any student. The purpose of the discussion is exploratory and there is no need to go through the questions one by one. They are only meant as suggestions. They are intended for use when there is difficulty in getting a discussion going. The teacher need not pretend to have all the answers, and can throw a question back to the class for discussion. The purpose of this discussion is to explore the particular process of thinking on which the lesson is based.