Saturday, March 15, 2014

The more the students do...

As teachers we all seem to agree that the more the students work the more learning that occurs.  Yet we seem to be prepared to lead them step-by-step through mathematical processes, we make them sit and listen to long periods of lecture, we read solutions to homework - we make them sedentary.

So I have been reflecting, planning and working hard to keep them doing math - utilizing the entire 44 minute class period.  Class time is our time for math, I couple that with smaller homework assignments and a constant barrage of "You have to study math" versus assigning problems to grade or check.  But making the class period a power packed period of doing math has been #1!  So no homework grading, lectures are broken into segments with students doing (trying to get to 6 minutes max of me talking).    The goal is to get most of the doing (which is learning) in the class period, where as an instructor I can guide them.

It means not being too helpful though, struggle is okay when guided - when I ride in on my white donkey (budget cuts) to save a student I am most often doing a disservice.  So I constantly remind myself to "be less helpful."

In the end - students need to work more, I need to guide more, "teach" less and I expect better student outcomes. yself to "be less helpful."