Students spend a lot of time in the classroom with their hand in the air waiting to be told how to do a task, what they think the answer is or to tell you what happened to them during break time. Students are obsessed with replicating ideas that they have assimilated from the teacher and then reproduce it enough times so that the method is understood without the need for them to think about what they are doing.
During one of my classes before half term I tried to cover this by giving students 3 things to do in their lesson, Discover through trial, Formalise the task, show their Understanding . So I used Google Classroom to deliver the whole of the lesson ideas:-
- A Desmos task designed to allow students to discover the equation of a line and it’s properties.
- A Google form to make them think about what it was they were actually doing in the task.
- Create a poster on Google Slides to show their understanding.
The first two had specific instructions about what needed to be done. These were written instructions and students didn’t read them before starting the task. Hands aloft began and some students were unsure of the task. What happened next was a discussion with students about reading the instructions. When the same instructions were read out loud nearly all of the students understood what was required of them.
So what does this mean? I don’t believe that students can’t read as they can manage to assimilate information and can read the words but do they actually think about the words that they read? Are they just a series of words that students say without thinking what any of it means?
This has lead to think that students are actually not thinking for themselves yet an they need time to digest the task before trying to rush in.
During the rest of the lesson I spent time going round talking to students about what the task was asking them to do despite the written instructions. Students need educating on following written instructions and thinking for themselves.