I am going to shock a few teachers out there when I tell them that our innovative model wants students to be engaged and talking in class 80% of the time which means only 20% is left for the teacher. Think about it, 20%! While we may never reach the nirvana of 80-20, it should give us pause as to how much we dominate the discussion in class. Direct instruction is necessary, but how many opportunities are missed or how many behavior problems occur because students sit passively listening?
Facilitating student talk is a skill that must be honed. Start small and work your way to the magic numbers. We want each student to be actively involved in class so that their confidence in articulation increases. Students need to be good at both speaking and listening. Both teacher and students are accountable:
How do we know that student talk is taking place? What is the evidence? Ask:
ASK THREE BEFORE ME (Questioning, Discussion)
Description: This is a student-centered procedure focusing on student self-reliance.
Application: Use this procedure as a guiding doctrine in the classroom.
Process: Teach students that at certain times when they are working on an assignment and have a question, they must ask each other rather than asking the teacher first.
Last week I moved houses. There was fun, drama, and an occasional pity party, but all-in-all, I realized I needed it. I transferred this idea to teaching and it made me think about all of the educational moves I made in my nearly twenty years. I took a serious risk about ten years ago when I heard that my district was adding an early college to the system. It was going to be located at the local university and the entire program was just starting. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that moving to this school would change my life, but it did! Just one year later, I became the district's Teacher of the Year and that opened other doors of opportunity. That original move, as scary as it was, was the best thing that happened to me as an educator. I still reap the rewards.
Moving to another school or even a different classroom in the same school can spark a renewed sense of purpose. Moving can also force us to trim our collections of materials or resources, get more organized, or even use more technology! Look at a move as an opportunity rather than the hassle that it is and you will be settled sooner than you think! Good luck!
This protocol is wonderful and it involves students moving. Take a look:
STAND-SEEK-SPEAK (Collaboration, Feedback, Discussion, Questioning)
Description: This protocol allows students to think individually before thinking and explaining together.
Application: Use this activity to practice a concept just taught or as a review. It can be used in a mathematics course.
Process: Create a set of questions. Ask first question, requiring students to answer it on their own. (Give them a time limit, depending on the difficulty of the question.) Once time is called, ask all students to stand. Direct them to raise their hands when they have found a partner and assist students that still need a partner. Have partners discuss their answer(s) to each other or help solve if the problem was unfinished. Instruct students to stay where they are to solve the next question and to find a new partner, repeating the process until all questions have been asked and answered.
Alison Thetford, M.Ed