Classroom Procedures Cont.
- This combines the advantages of the above three techniques, and allows
for more in-depth discussion of or reaction to course material. You may set aside class
time for students to complete their journal entries, or assign this as homework. The only
disadvantage to this approach is that the feedback will not be as "instant" as with the one-
minute paper (and other assignments which you collect the day of the relevant lecture).
But with this approach (particularly if entries are assigned for homework), you may ask
more complex questions, such as, "Do you think that determinism is correct, or that
humans have free will? Explain your answer.", or "Do you think that Dr. Kevorkian's
actions are morally right? What would John Stuart Mill say?" and so on. Or you might
have students find and discuss reports of scientific studies in popular media on topics
relevant to course material, such as global warming, the ozone layer, and so forth.
- Clearly, this is one way to coerce students to read assigned material!
Active learning depends upon students coming to class prepared. The reading quiz can
also be used as an effective measure of student comprehension of the readings (so that
you may gauge their level of sophistication as readers). Further, by asking the same sorts
of questions on several reading quizzes, you will give students guidance as to what to
look for when reading assigned text. If you ask questions like "What color were
Esmerelda's eyes?" (as my high school literature teacher liked to do), you are telling the
student that it is the details that count, whereas questions like "What reason
Esmerelda give, for murdering Sebastian?" highlight issues of justification. If your goal is
to instruct (and not merely to coerce), carefully choose questions which will both identify
who has read the material (for your sake) and identify what is important in the reading
(for their sake).
- This is a simple technique aimed at fostering "active listening".
Throughout a lecture, particularly after stating an important point or defining a key
concept, stop, let it sink in, and then (after waiting a bit!) ask if anyone needs to have it
clarified. You can also circulate around the room during these pauses to look at student
notes, answer questions, etc. Students who would never ask a question in front of the
whole class will ask questions during a clarification pause as you move about the room.
Response to a demonstration or other teacher centered activity
- The students are
asked to write a paragraph that begins with: I was surprised that .
.. I learned that .
wonder about .
.. This allows the students to reflect on what they actually got out of the
teachers’ presentation. It also helps students realize that the activity was designed for
more than just entertainment.
Questions and Answers