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Friday, September 25, 2015

Active Learning Today: What's a Teacher To Do

I love to multi-task while learning. I like to listen to information that matters and quickly make connections as I learn using multiple online platforms. I find that this active connection making helps me to retain and apply my learning later.

Yet when I'm teaching and everyone is multi-tasking with multiple platforms, it throws me off course as a presenter. I admit I also get a little annoyed, yet I do the same thing when I'm learning since, as noted above, that active connection making results in deep and productive integration of new ideas which is so much better than the result I get from passively sitting and listening to the way a presenter has decided that I learn best.

So what's a teacher and or learner to do?

As presenters we have to think deeply about our learners and spend some time getting to know our learners up front.

One initial technique may be asking questions such as what do you  hope to get out of this presentation, how will you learn this information best, and do you have the big picture view of the topic?

This kind of questioning will create a connection between the instructor and students.

Next, the presenter can outline the teaching/learning path including rationale. After that some time for a meaningful overview, active learning and share, then reflection and final thoughts.

I want to try this approach out with my teacher candidate class as we discuss the expectations for teachers today.

First, I'll ask, What do you think a teacher today is expected to do?

Then I'll give the students a chance to work together or alone to draft a list of up to 33 descriptors of what they think educators are expected to do.

After that, we'll review Massachusetts' teaching elements' expectations, and each teacher candidate or small groups will have the chance to review a few and creatively present those elements to the class as one way to educate all about the expectations for Massachusetts' educators.

This will allow for some active learning, student voice, and share.

I want to think more about how I will change teaching/learning lessons and endeavor for students young and older to make it more learner friendly, active, and purposeful. Onward.