Teaching Investigation Plan

Teaching Investigation Plan



Purpose: In conjunction with the Teaching Investigation Report, the purpose of this assignment is to practice a complete teaching cycle of planning, implementing, analyzing, and adjusting - something we hope will become second nature to you. In the Teaching Investigation Plan you will identify a problematic issue in your teaching that you would like to work on during your Guided Lead Teaching. You will propose a solution (your hypothesis) based on teaching principles you learned in class and research. You will implement your proposal, collect data on its efficacy, and analyze the data in your Teaching Investigation Report.

I. The problem

Identify a problematic aspect of your teaching that you would like to work on during your Guided Lead Teaching. It should fall into one of the following categories.

  • Content specific issues such as common misconceptions related to the specific content you will be teaching or problems students are likely to have conceptualizing the content. For example, Newton’s Laws are difficult for students to grasp, because of the common misconception that if there is no force, there is no motion. Plate tectonics is difficult content for students, because of the long time frames and motions that are beyond human experience. This could also include issues around having students do the process of science, their scientific reasoning skills.
  • Activity cycle issues such as getting successive activities to build on each other.
  • Motivational issues getting students to value or see the relevance of particular content or science in general.
  • Structural issues related to lesson planning such as making use of a whole class period and having smooth transitions.
  • Issues with students’ general learning skills such organization, reading comprehension, or ability to transfer ideas to new situations.
  • Do not choose a management issue. You will analyze these in your TE801 class.

Write a paragraph describing the problem. Include:

  • Specific observations that are symptoms of the problem,
  • The category that the problem fits in,
  • A general description of the problem.

This should read like a doctor’s diagnosis. There should be enough symptoms or facts that secure the diagnosis. For example,” when I teach my focus class, the class is rarely quiet until roughly 5 minutes into the class period. During this time, I take attendance and the students are supposed to answer a journal question that is on the board, however they usually just socialize. My mentor has the same routine, and her classes get right to work.” There is not enough information here to determine if this a motivational issue (your mentor’s journal Qs are more interesting than yours), a structural issue (students have learned that your journal Qs aren’t used in the lesson), or simply a management issue.


  • Does the category match the symptoms? Are there alternative explanations for the same symptoms?
  • Have you used enough detail describing the problem and symptoms that we can be convinced of your diagnosis?

II. The hypothesis backed by research

Write the hypothesis in the form of an “if, then, because” statement. The “if” part should describe your proposed solution. The “then” part should describe the hoped for changes. Finally the “because” part should explain THE GENERAL TEACHING PRINCIPLE LEARNED IN CLASS that suggests that your proposed solution is reasonable. You should elaborate on the “because” part linking the teaching principle to your specific problem and backing it with some research. The research should be something new, not merely citing a past class reading. Also, the research should pertain to a teaching principle. Activities off the internet do not count!


  • Does the “if” part briefly describe what you are going to do as a proposed solution to your problem?
  • Does the “then” part identify some specific outcomes that you can look for?
  • Does the “because” part draw on ideas from class?
  • Does the “because” part articulate a principle that can be applied to other situations?
  • Is the “because” part backed by some new research?

III. Implementation Plan

Write a paragraph describing in some detail how you intend to implement your hypothesis. Follow this with some specific examples.


  • Does the paragraph show how you are going to apply the general teaching principles to the specific unit you are teaching?
  • Does the proposed plan fit your hypothesis?
  • Are your examples specific and substantial?

IV. Data Collection Plan

A. Observations – Write a paragraph describing the specific observations that you will make when you implement your plan that will help you determine its efficacy. Be as specific as you can, but be sure that you are also realistic. You will still be the teacher.

B. Video – Write a paragraph describing the specific event(s) you will video. Remember that the camera can be an extra set of eyes and ears. You can have it follow a group if you are doing group work and floating between groups. Or you can train it to catch what you may be too busy teaching to catch.

C. Mentor’s Observations – Enlist your mentor’s help. Talk with him/her about your teaching investigation ahead of time and agree on what helpful observations s/he can make. Describe them here.

D. Student Work – Even though you may not be working directly on teaching particular content, improving your teaching should improve your students’ learning. Identify at least 2 assessment tasks that will help you gauge the effects of the changes in your teaching. Write a paragraph about each assessment task.

  • Describe the task;
  • Describe what kind of results you might have expected without changing your teaching.
  • Describe what you hope to see as a result of the changes your institute.