10-07-10 Adam Taylor
My first post, journaling my effort to help students break out of the learning box they have been shoved into.
Wow, what a day. In the quest to help students learn I have been trying many different things as of late.
Two weeks ago I had my honors biology get into groups to make skits about the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. “can’t you just lecture?” The students asked. “You mean you would rather sit there and listen to me talk for 30 min?” was my response.
A couple of students got into the activity, had fun, and learned at the same time. Most of the students continued to complain and tell me they didn’t understand what was expected. It’s true my directions could have been more clear, however, it is also true the students have been doing things the same way for so long change is painful.
With a dead line in place for the performances to begin, students continued to mumble about the assignment but began to pull something together.
The first two groups performances where failures in that the students were just going through the motions to complete the assignment. Then the bell rang.
The next time we met I told the students I expected more and they needed to step it up. After allowing more time to prepare all the groups preformed again and they did much better.
I told the students they needed to prepare a lesson about passive transport to teach to a 2nd grader. “But I understand it already” was the cry from one student. Remembering that one doesn’t speak for everyone we pressed on.
After a little coaching students were able to simplify the lesson so a 2nd grader would understand. It was beautiful! About 20% of the class was able to embrace and excel on the assignment without any problems or complaints. That same group developed amazing metaphors, analogies, and examples to teach the topic. Slowly but surely the rest of the class began to catch on and also did well.
As this class adapts to these different ways of learning I hope these assignments become easier and quicker for students to execute.