10 routines for teaching online – #10 Reflection

by / Wednesday, 09 September 2020 / Published in Instruction, Routines

FUNHakodateA long time ago (20 years), in a country far away (Japan), I was an associate professor of communication studies at a brand new university. Most of my colleagues were Japanese, and most were in the hard sciences, including things like robotics and computer programming.

One day, a younger assistant professor came up to me. He said he was new to teaching, and asked what he could do to help his students learn better and smarter. “Is there a magic way to do this?” he queried.

Without hesitation, I said to him: “right now my guess is that you take your two hours of time and you talk the whole time”. He agreed this was his approach. I continued: “in this case, it’s quite easy. Make sure you stop talking after a set period of time. Every 10 minutes should be good. Talk for 10 minutes, then make your students talk to each other for three minutes to discuss what they understood about that 10 minute lecture. See if they have questions from their discussion, and answer their questions.”

Later, he reported back that yes, this small thing raised the energy of the entire class, and students became much more interested in the topic. The class ran more smoothly and motivation stayed high!john-dewey-quote

You, too, can implement this in many ways in your class, but the important thing is, your students need time to reflect on things. It could be on what you say, it could be what they do in their class. It could be a video they’ve just watched. It could be a short reading passage you’ve given them in class. No matter what it is, give your students time, in class, to process what’s going on before you move too quickly too soon.

This is a new series of tips for teaching online. This series focuses on the small things, in this case, small routines that you can, and should, easily incorporate into your every day instruction online. These routines address student motivation, participation, and metacognitive training leading to higher order thinking skills that focus on the conceptual and metacognitive knowledge dimensions from Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001).

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