Five Things I’ve slowly Started Doing over Time

A few new teacher practices that have been developing in my repertoire are following:

1. Pausing during “Lecture” to ask students to explain to each other what the heck I just said. 

  • This can be surprisingly effective and engaging. Students also tend to pick up on why lecture is often ineffective and value self and peer dialogue. I also do this with students contributions. What the heck did Jamie just say? (Not whether you agree or disagree)

2. Putting up diagrams from a reading, and asking students to explain what the heck the diagram is trying to say.  (As well as what do you notice? What question does this raise for you?”)

  • I’ve done this a fair amount with waves, but I could use this more broadly. Like the category above, this is really about learning “elaborative interrogation” and “self explanation”, which have a good research base. 

3. Pausing during a clicker question to ask students to not talk about the answer to question (yet), but to explain to each other what this question / situation even is.

  • This proves useful, especially when almost whole class has voted the wrong way. 

4. Putting up two equations that are similar but different and asking students to compare and contrast. 

  • I want to structure this better, but I’ve used this before leading into card sorting tasks where some of cards are equations. 

5. Having post lab questions that require students to read textbook. Like what does this lab have to do with equation 5.3? Or, in section 2.8 there’s a paragraph about such and such. In light of our lab, how are you making sense of this now ?

  • This again is about getting students to engage in productive reading through self explanation, but I’m also helping them to see class resources as connected. 

A lot of these moves are geared toward:

— understanding ideas that are presented to us, whether a teacher, peer, or text. Literacy as broadly construed. 

– observing and trying to understand before evaluating, judging, or answering. 

– learning by actively looking for relationships among disparate parts (diagram and text, lab and text, etc) . Skempian in my kind. 

2 thoughts on “Five Things I’ve slowly Started Doing over Time

Add yours

  1. I particularly like #5. I see, at the undergraduate level, students consistently have trouble tying lab to lecture (or the book). I believe the students will get in the habit of making this connection themselves if it is integrated into the lesson.

    You refer to “clicker questions” in #3. Are these standard, anonymous response clickers?

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