October 05, 2004
Let them try it first – then lecture them about it

I think this is interesting:

A teacher wrote me a letter, saying, "I found it very interesting that the Japanese teachers have students struggle with a problem before they teach them how to solve it. We never do that. We teach them how to solve it first, and then let them work on examples."

She said, "I’m a very traditional teacher – I just get up and lecture – but I decided to try something after reading your book. I now start my lessons by letting students try to solve it on their own, and then give my lecture." She said this small change had worked brilliantly for her. She saw a huge change in motivation and engagement in her students.

First they do it. Then theorise about it for them, in a way that then makes sense. Load. Fire. Take aim.

It found this here.

Many adverts work like this. First confuse them with a confusing message. Then explain it.

And TV shows. And newspaper and magazine pieces. First you hit them with some enticing but rather confusing surface facts, perhaps facts which have already got around in a garbled form. Then you say: okay, what's really going on here?

Personally I favour pupils choosing what to be confused about, and on that basis choosing which lectures to attend, or to attend to, but that's beside this particular point. Close, but beside.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:47 AM
Category: How to teach