Instructional Note Guidelines
The “Instructional Note” has been a staple of Teaching English in the Two Year College for some time and serves the purpose of providing evidence-based, research-situated discussions of innovative teaching practices/approaches. Authors, readers, and reviewers should know the following about the Instructional Note and its conventions.
An excellent Instructional Note does the following:
- Establishes an exigency: A publishable Instructional note will identify a teaching problem to be addressed that requires some innovative strategy in order to reach the desired outcomes. What is the exigency for the project? What are the desired outcomes? On what basis does the author’s claim that this is an important teaching or learning problem rest?
- Situates the strategy in the context of the ongoing discussion: In other words, a literature review is expected, albeit not the full-fledged, thoroughgoing one that would be expected in a feature article. Strong notes will identify how their ideas reflect or challenge current disciplinary thinking about the teaching or learning questions being discussed. Effective instructional notes will also situate the author’s pedagogical ideas within local circumstances by describing the course, the curriculum, the campus, and the students to some extent.
- Presents the “how-to” of implementing the instructional strategy: The pedagogical approach is outlined in sufficient detail to reproduce in another instructor’s classroom. Further, as experienced instructors, readers know that no plans proceed without a hitch. What challenges can readers expect? What bumps in the road did the writer have to problem solve? How were they resolved, and if they weren’t, why not?
- Offers Clear Outcomes: Instructional Notes conclude by offering evidence of student outcomes either through a case study or two of student work, anecdotal evidence of what transpired, student reflections on their experiences, or other assessment measures appropriate to the activity; these should be used with permission from students or from the appropriate institutional review board.
Many readers of TETYC are most interested in learning about innovative practices from reflective practitioners; the Instructional Note’s purpose is to respond to that readerly interest.