Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Teacher Demos Best For Math

The latest issue of the UFT newspaper had an article by Rhonda Rosenberg with the title "Teacher demos best for math instruction."  The research is based on 1st graders and it was found that teacher directed instruction was much more effective than student centered lessons, group work and incorporation of music and movement.

I taught high school for years and have been teaching college for over 10 years and have found this to be true for older students as well.  Time is used more effectively when the teacher demonstrates.  The work is presented in a clearer manner and the students have a good model to follow on their own when they leave the classroom.

I remember talking to an English teacher.  She and I were both laughing at the rave review the Principal had given us when he walked in to the room and saw the kids working in groups.  What he didn't see was the kids fooling around and doing nothing until he appeared.  He didn't see us walking around from group to group getting them to put away their phones and get back on target.  He didn't see the 20 minutes of real instruction prior to his visit.  I guess that was a good thing.  He wouldn't have liked the chalk and talk that was going on.  He wouldn't have liked the kids not talking.  He wouldn't have realized that was where the learning was taking place.

(picture from Canstruction exhibit at Brookfield Place.  Wonderful sculptures made of food cans which are donated to food pantries before Thanksgiving)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Still, there is a role for student demos, especially in early high school. It convinces students that they are capable by seeing one of their peers having solved a problem. They then wrestle a little more with the problem because they think they should be able to do it.

But, yeah, some flavor of the month admins expect a class to look like this all the time, which is dumb-dumb-diddly-dumb-dumb.