Book Review on Teaching for Competence

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Book Review on Teaching for Competence
For my book review I chose Teaching for Competence by Norman Higgins and Howard Sullivan. The authors feel that teachers and students will teach and learn more effectively by using C.B.I. or Competency based instruction.
When using the C.B.I. approach teachers will clearly state to students the defined objectives, give effective types of instruction, and lastly teachers will assess the students.
When preparing your own objectives they need to be stated to the students in a written form where the students can identify with these objectives over the course of study. The class's activities may be included in a summary but should not be confused with the written objective. The authors also suggest, that objectives should be worthwhile as well as clearly stated to the students. When writing objectives there are certain verbs that can be used to help convey meaning. For example, when used in test instructions the verb ‘select' directs students to perform an observable and measurable specific action as opposed to a verb that might describe an internal state such as ‘analyze'. The teacher can determine what content she should apply to the objective. The objective needs to be a skill that the student could use in life and be able to use in content.
Competency based instruction should lead to effective instruction by the teacher. Therefore, if the teacher gives proper instruction to the students, then they will in turn gain some measure of competency. In summarizing this section of the book, effective instruction should be presented in a clear and concise manner. The teacher should provide practice and feed back responses in order to meet the objective that has been stated.

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"Book Review on Teaching for Competence." 24 Jun 2018
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The practice can be individual, partner, or group exercises. Usually the frequency of the practice will depend on if the students have a grasp or understanding of the lesson. The acknowledgement of results can be an effective tool in helping students learn the lesson. Feedback responses from the teacher should be given whether the student is correct or incorrect. Feedback should also be given throuought the instruction and not just at the end. Effective instruction ends with a brief review of the lesson that has been taught.
The last section of the book explains how assessment should be developed in the C.B.I. method. When writing an assessment item, students must fulfill the specific task that was stated in the objective. In other words the teacher should make tests from her objectives. A clearly written assessment should be given in a way that the students understand exactly what is expected of them. Teachers use tests to assess but other means of assessing students can be by identifying, naming, or reporting on complex or attitude-related performances.
This book would be helpful and accommodating to a teacher if she had no idea or concept of teaching. As a teacher, I feel the authors wrote a book about a method that we as future or present educators should already know. I already teach using many aspects of the C.B.I. method. The book certainly gave me additional ideas on writing classroom objectives and assessment for preparing my own lesson plans. My lesson plans are submitted to our assistant principal and I was always somewhat confused in writing the assessment part of those plans. The book did give me a better understanding of that topic. I found it useful that the authors illustrated the C.B.I. method throughout the book by using devices and examples that could aid in helping a teacher develop her objectives, instruction, and assessment. For me, the authors' book seemed well written and their writing style was easy to understand. I noticed that the authors wrote each section based on their method. Each section of the book had objectives, then instructions (the examples), and then the conclusion. There was even a portion devoted to further research of assessment if the reader wanted additional practice.
Students learn differently just as teachers teach differently. Some students learn better by just taking notes and having tests, while others need to learn by practicing the lesson over and over. The book gives a great explanation of the learning by practicing approach. I think more teachers should teach students by this method. Students would better understand the lesson and objectives if the teacher gave more effective instructions. I feel the authors presented their ideas clearly. This book used illustrations along with examples which helped me better understand the C.B.I. method. I also think that the authors are trying to reach those teachers who have students that have difficulties in traditional classroom settings. Obliviously the C.B.I. method will not mean competency for every student, but there are a lot of students who need practice, responses, and assessment other than tests. These students could possibly benefit if their teachers use this method.
Every teacher has many different styles and methods of teaching. We all know that the students need to learn and accomplish something from the lesson. Therefore, if reading this book and implementing the C.B.I. method in their classrooms helps more teachers teach effectively then the authors have served their purpose.


Higgins, N. & Sullivan, H. (1983). Teaching for Competence. New York: Teachers
College Press.

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