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Luciano Ferrer

Small Changes in Teaching: The First 5 Minutes of Class - 0 views

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    "Open with a question or two. Another favorite education writer of mine, the cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham, argues that teachers should focus more on the use of questions. "The material I want students to learn," he writes in his book Why Don't Students Like School?, "is actually the answer to a question. On its own, the answer is almost never interesting. But if you know the question, the answer may be quite interesting." My colleague Greg Weiner, an associate professor of political science, puts those ideas into practice. At the beginning of class, he shows four or five questions on a slide for students to consider. Class then proceeds in the usual fashion. At the end, he returns to the questions so that students can both see some potential answers and understand that they have learned something that day. What did we learn last time? A favorite activity of many instructors is to spend a few minutes at the opening of class reviewing what happened in the previous session. That makes perfect sense, and is supported by the idea that we don't learn from single exposure to material - we need to return frequently to whatever we are attempting to master.But instead of offering a capsule review to students, why not ask them to offer one back to you?Reactivate what they learned in previous courses. Plenty of excellent evidence suggests that whatever knowledge students bring into a course has a major influence on what they take away from it. So a sure-fire technique to improve student learning is to begin class by revisiting, not just what they learned in the previous session, but what they already knew about the subject matter.Write it down. All three of the previous activities would benefit from having students spend a few minutes writing down their responses. That way, every student has the opportunity to answer the question, practice memory retrieval from the previous session, or surface their prior knowledge - and not just the students most likely to
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