Sunday, July 15, 2012

When Engagement Strategies Attack

Just watch this.
h/t @mpershan

We have to be really careful here. Total physical response is great. Having common responses to things in class can be very effective (and fun). But to call this "whole brain teaching" is troubling when many students are mindlessly following mirroring.

I've had a problem with the use of "engagement strategies" for a while. It's as if we are buying into rhetoric sans argument; looking at the accidents and ignoring the essence.

Stop it, already.

Sign below.

I was warned.

x ________________________

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Joshua Zucker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joshua Zucker said...

They're definitely treating the idea of slope as though it was something to memorize, like a bunch of arbitrary conventions, which is troubling.

The mirroring is particularly challenging here because the left-right reversal causes all kinds of problems for these kids if you look closely. They're making things have positive slopes from their own point of view or the opposite person's point of view.

On the other hand, the idea that they're really making the kids stop every minute or two and do at least something active is a lot better than a pure lecture class. And the something might well be just restating/summarizing, not really thinking or understanding. This would be a good approach for memorizing things. It would also be a good approach for deeper things if the student expectations went beyond mirroring.

Lance Bledsoe said...

I'm not sure I would ever teach this topic exactly like this, and I can understand how different people might agree or disagree with different aspects of this lesson, but the thing I appreciate about it is that the teacher was willing to put the video up and say, "This is how I teach this."

Any time a teacher is willing to do that, I have to applaud, as I always get a lot out of seeing different teachers' approaches to teaching. Agree or disagree, I learn a lot.

jgd said...

To me, the question raised by this video is: what are we trying to teach here?

A deep conceptual understand of slope and why it exists in the first place?

A notion that there's this thing called "slope," and there are few different ways that it can look?

Obedience to authority?

It's troubling to me that in the youtube comments there seems to be a tendency toward this binary distinction between lecture classes and this sort of motion. What about encouraging autonomous thought as a high ideal of teaching?

Unknown said...

Mirroring and memorizing is probably the most common why students are presented with information. As I have seen as a teacher, it is really difficult to get students to go away from that and apply some thinking into what is actually going on. Most of the learning takes place depending on how the students want to learn it, which most likely will be students wanting to know procedures instead of understanding ideas. As teachers, we can only do so much to assist them.