Monday, November 8, 2010

Students invented the wheel

After reading this blog post you will be aware of how to efficiently evaluate your own communication. The example used here is the student <-> teacher relationship, but it applies everywhere. These findings are based on extensive research over several years as a student, noticing what works, and what does not. As usual I will do my best to concise with my text here. I do not need to write things over and over again, I will leave it to you to read it, over and over again.

Teachers have this perception that when students do not listen, it is because they are communicating in the wrong way. Did it not occur to them that it does not have to be how, but what you communicate, that is wrong. I am not talking about your indirect communication such as body language etc. I will leave that to another day, because for now we will focus on what you are telling your listeners.

Is it something they already know? If yes, do not tell them again. Most common mistake from teachers is to tell what the students have already read. By doing so, you directly motivate the students not to read, I will show you the math:
Teacher gives student homework -> Student reads homework -> Teacher tells student what he just read for homework -> Student is bored -> Student stops reading homework, because:

Students will be bored during classes since they already know what the teacher is telling them. There is no point doing something twice (read and have the lecturer read aloud), and students see this connection. In addition they stop listening because they also know that should they need this knowledge, they can just read the book later.

What a teacher needs to do is simple:
Take what you expect the students to learn from the books (theory, models etc.) and give them assignments that require this knowledge. If a student does not do his homework it is no longer your responsibility that this student is behind in class.

Please comment and share if you like, I'll be happy to respond to any inquiries.