Swotting at education

A year ago, I took my first business class in entrepreneurial studies.  The class title lured me because of these two words: creativity and innovation.  Those seemed useful to me as an educator.  The class was fantastic and my mind stretched.  I couldn't help but think all semester long, "How can educators use these ideas in their classrooms?"



Today is all about "swotting" a lesson.  Or in business jargon, doing a SWOT analysis.  The next time you teach a lesson (which always includes teacher reflection in the lesson cycle, right?) or the next time you are crafting a lesson, consider swotting it.

S

What are the strengths of this lesson?  What worked?  What were the greatest moments within the lesson?  What did students enjoy most?  What did you enjoy most?  How did the lesson meet your learning objectives for the day?

W

What are the weaknesses in this lesson?  What part(s) of the lesson seem less engaging?  Where did the lesson lose steam? 

O

What opportunities are available to improve this lesson?  What other resources could you include?  How can you provide extension activities for students who want to learn more?  How can parents and families get involved?  How can parents and families extend the learning at home?

T

What threatens the lesson?  How will you manage your resources and materials?  Time?  Budget?  Volunteers?  How will your lesson be impacted if  technology is unavailable that day?

Put on your business hats and see what other questions you can develop.  Could you teach students how to SWOT their own work?  Could you use the SWOT analysis with the committees you serve? Please post your ideas in the comments section below. 

Off to write a business plan, I mean, lesson plan.
Jen

PS - Did you enter our giveaway yet?  You have until March 4th, 2011 at midnight EST.  Click on the image below for more details.



9 comments:

  1. I think teacher reflection is a huge missing piece in education. Too often teachers teach the lesson and stick it in their folder or binder for next year without making any modifications. They are missing out on the chance to make their lessons really meet student needs.

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  2. Bree - My sentiments exactly. A quickie SWOT would close the loop on the lesson.

    Best,
    Jen

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  3. SWOT is a great idea. I rarely think about the T and feel like I don't push myself hard enough to find additional Os and advance my lessons. I'm excited to see how my lesson would change if I kept this in mind during and after instruction. I try to do a reflection with my kids once a week on what they perceived to be the strengths and weaknesses - this could be a cool way to frame their analysis this week...

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  4. I think, in the constant quest to increase the Joy factor in teaching, we work on celebrating overall numerical successes such as increases in mastery, homework completions, excellent behavior, but as a class, we never figure out what things were just plain "fun." What activities were a success, not just because they taught the material, but because the students as a whole enjoyed them. I would love to SWOT a lesson with students. I don't think right now I could do it with a whole class, but maybe pull a few kids out of each class and discuss what went well and what didn't, would both improve that lesson for next year, but help my planning be more engaging.

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  5. Eliza - I agree. Baby steps might be the way to go with SWOTTING and teaching your students to SWOT. Maybe you could just start with the S. Also, "fun" generally means engaging. We need engaged students in our classrooms, right? Plus, you can still have fun and have rigor. One doesn't mean a trade off for another.

    Jen

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  6. SWOT is an easy way for a teacher do a quick self check. It's not nearly as daunting as the TAL rubric. It's user friendly and easy to remember. And, I learned something about the business world...

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  7. Jenna - SWOT is absolutely more digestible than the TAL rubric. Do you and your fellows use TAL daily? Feel free to email me with your thoughts.

    Jen

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  8. This tool goes hand in hand with being an intentional teacher (doing an activity or a lesson for a reason). While I am not an educator yet I do know that time management is critical to a good and effective lesson. If the above acronym was used to plan each day then you could be sure your time was used wisely. What a great tool!

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  9. This is a great tool! I love acronyms; they are catchy and make things so easy for me to remember. I think that the most effective, engaging lessons always have some sort of a hook, something to draw the students in, capture their attention for a moment so that the teaching can begin. Although this hook would be incorporated into the lesson plan itself, I think I would add it to the SWOT tool; I will SHWOT my lessons...ask myself if my lesson has a hook, and if so, what is it/was it effective? By incorporating the Hook into the SWOT I think it would make me much more cognizant of the importance of implementing a hook into the lesson.

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