LESSONS LEARNED FROM NOT TEACHING Peter Liljedahl Quadruple Entendre Lessons Learned from 1. NOT teaching in my 8-12 classroom. 2. being in a classroom but NOT as the teacher. 3. teaching in a way that is often considered as NOT teaching. 4. NOT teaching while taking 5 months to travel Europe.
STUDENTS DONT THINK! (sort of) More Specifically 20% of students are successful at mathematics far fewer than this think of themselves as successful why? their culminating experience (Calculus) overpowers them
universities have been saying for years that the students are not prepared enough An Example You ask students to try an example: I dont know how to do this mimic your examples ask a question about what if ... which anticipates something you have yet to teach. Only the last of these is thinking
Who is Thinking? Students who treat mathematics as a sense making activity. The ones trying to build connections to past and future ideas. 2-3 students per class. Is this a New Idea? Explicitly YES I have found no research or commentary on this.
Implicitly NO almost every movement in the last 20 years has tried to get at an itch without knowing where to scratch
curriculum revisions NCTM movement and AUS and UK equivalents numeracy movements Singapore math 21st century learning movement both sides of the math wars back to basics movement BUT they didnt know it! It was AN IDEA WITHOUT A NAME
So what are students doing? NOT LEARNING waiting mimicking memorizing asking to be spoon fed Students are gaming the classroom the course grading criteria
you GAMING Gaming you may want them to think they want to get an A, or a B, or a pass, or to do no homework, etc. in essence, students are playing a game with an objective that is not yours
What to do about it? DE(CON)STRUCTION of teaching:
the way we answer questions the way we level the way we give notes the way we give homework the nature of tasks the way we assess the way we review the way we summarize the organization of a lesson
the student work space we are changing the rules of the game The Way We Structure Student Work Space Our research has shown that if you change the student work space we change the way they work: random groups non-permanent, vertical, big, work surfaces
chaotic desk arrangement no front of the classroom THEY CANT HIDE Answering Questions Our research has shown that students only ask three types of questions: 1. proximity question 2. stop thinking question 3. keep thinking question STOP ANSWERING THE FIRST
TWO TYPES OF QUESTIONS! Levelling Our research has shown that the average teachers levels 4-6 times per lesson. levels at the top assumption that they cant go on unless everyone is level this demotivates students to think they will get an answer in 2-4 minutes they will get the best answer
Levelling To stop demotivating: stop levelling level to the bottom the feeling that we cant go on is only true in individual work (sometimes) not true in group work settings level as a form of summing up (at the end)
The Way We Give Notes Our research has shown that notes are not meaningful: usually a copy of whats in the text it is a SENSE MADE exercise rather than a SENSE MAKING exercise replaces learning NOW with the drive to ensure they have material to maybe learn LATER Meaningful notes: what is interesting what cant be found elsewhere what had meaning
The Way We Give Notes Our research has shown that students dont need to TAKE notes: about 3 students per class will be uncomfortable without notes 1 of these will be paralysed by it GIVE STUDENTS THE NOTES Build a Culture of Thinking
Students are creatures of habit: demand thinking expect that they own their learning enable them to own their own learning never let up Skills
collaboration communication perseverance risk taking motivation curiosity
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