I am always looking for better ways to teach, putting all kinds of effort into researching, sharing, collaborating and adapting techniques so that I can become a better teacher. It’s almost as the students are just passive recipients that I need to drag into literacy and enlightenment. But a couple of comments this week have got me to thinking that that students actually recognize and can feel good teaching. They are just waiting on me to begin delivering it to them.
I had an interesting discussion with the students in my study hall this morning. On Fridays at the end of class I show them snippets of the Brain Rules DVD. Today’s chapter was talking about the importance of using all of the senses to learn. We know this, but it is always good to review (which happens to be Brain Rule #5: Repeat to remember). The idea is the more senses are employed, the more we remember. If we just hear, we will tend to remember only 10% after three days. With images and hearing, that percentage shoots up to 65%. With emotions and movement it is even more. This suite of sensory involvement is one thing that makes TPRS so effective with students, but I am always looking for ways to improve.
We stopped the DVD to discuss the implications of this idea in their classes. “Do any of you have teachers whose primary means of instruction is lecture?” I asked. Hands shot up all over the room. “What could you do to encourage them to help you learn more and better?” “We could ask them to show us,” was the consensus. “Politely and respectfully,” I added, but they got the idea that they needed to advocate for their own education. They also realized that the teaching they were receiving was not always as good as it could be. I was proud of them.
Some comments in another class sparked a similar reaction. When I am organized enough, I like to give the questions for the end of a unit before teaching the first lesson. That way the students know what is expected of them and what to look for as we move through the new material. Lately, I have had several students thank me for doing this. Maybe they are more aware, maybe they are more responsible and mature than in the past, whatever the reason, this is another indication that the students can recognize good practice and they appreciate it.
I hope I can keep up with them.