Adaptation #2: More active, less passive learning

In my college classes, I am able to use the interactive lecture style most of the time. It’s an extremely efficient way to convey information to students and I can see that students are learning based on their performance on short tasks that I assign during class. This teaching strategy works at my college because our students are highly motivated, know how to learn and behave in a lecture style class, and have excellent prior experience with mathematics.

In my RCHS classes, I have to limit my lecturing to a few minutes at most. Students don’t seem to be able to endure listening to me for more than a few minutes at least at this point, even if my lecturing is peppered with student questions and responses. (Perhaps I can slowly train them to do this?) So, to make the use of every moment in class, I am mostly asking students to do mathematics in class. My class time is usually spent like this: start class with a warm up activity, make announcements, give students instructions on a task, then let students work on the task while I walk around and help individual students. I haven’t gotten good enough to plan for closure at the end of class, but I am working on that.

I’m not sure it would be obvious to someone visiting my class that learning is happening, but I think it is. The trick is in designing the right kind of mathematical tasks that get students to learn without me telling them much. And wow, doing this well takes so much time and effort.

2 thoughts on “Adaptation #2: More active, less passive learning

  1. The style of teaching that you are engaging in is the exact style of teaching that my favorite math teachers of high school used. I found that I often learned much more in class from them than I did in other classes where I was being lectured at and I was also much more encouraged to learn because I knew that teacher would be watching. I am not sure that much conclusion outside of the students knowing that they have accomplished something something is necessary, I can imagine a situation in which calming everyone down and talking to them about what you learned that day could end the class on a boring note for the students in stead of having them leave the class excited about what they just experienced.

    I can also say that I am honestly learning quite a bit about methods that I might want to try and might not want to try in my future classes from your blog!

  2. I use this same style…it feels haphazard and is not neat but it seems to work when you write the right mathematical problems/tasks.

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