One of the best activities I do with my classes involves asking them to take a specific activity from their daily routine and break it down into the smallest steps. Until they experience “task analysis” they have no idea how many incremental actions are necessary to complete an activity that has become routine over time. We apply this activity to lesson planning, emphasizing the need to describe multiple mini steps in order to target areas of weakness in the flow of the learning process.
Many comment on the CCSS being overwhelming, too detailed. However, if we read each CCSS within the framework of a task analysis, we can begin to see how each and every one provides an opportunity for improved analysis of a students’s skill set as s/he progress through each grade level.
We all agree that students of all ages learn more from what they observe than other means of communication. Vicarious learning demands that we become fully acquainted with how we are transferring information to our students, what are we doing and what are they seeing. If we realize that we are constantly being observed, we would then realize how important it is for teachers (parents, babysitters) to model for their students what their own action plan looks like and take time to share with them how many steps it takes to actually complete an activity, whether in the first grade or college.
Self-regulation encourages us as educators to regulate ourselves, before we can help our students. Explicit modeling of how we read a passage, define a difficult word, solve a complex math equation or select the correct response to a test question, requires a task analysis approach. Task analysis is not just a simple list of steps, it is an analysis that best begins with the way we conduct our daily activities to determine if we ourselves are self regulated.