presentation: learning by doing

I sometimes get invited to to speak to and interact with English pedagogy students at the university level. I have always enjoyed this, partially because of the ego boost, but also because it requires me to reflect on pedagogy issues generally.

Sometimes I've been given a theme, but this time they left it open to me, so I chose to go with a common theme in my class: We Learn By Doing.

Here's the slide show for the presentation:

So I started the session by saying we would learn about how teachers can do consultations with students about their work. Slide 2 sets up a role play with a few guiding questions, and I gave them a few minutes to prepare.

We did the reflection session on sticky notes in slide 3, shared them and answered the 'I wonder' questions. Then they quickly finished the preparation. A few of the pairs did their role plays, and we discussed what we saw. Then I had them do the think/pair/share on slide 4. I listed some of their learnings on the white board.

On slide 5 I showed them the objectives I had at the beginning of the class, and it became obvious that they had learned more specific issues than I had planned, and they could see how I had asked questions to get us to these points in addition to the other stuff that came out of the activity.

In slide 6 I show what we have actually learned about, which is learning how to do student consultations by doing them, not by me giving a huge lecture on them up front and then having them practice.

Slide 7 is an example of a quick start instructions for a mobile phone. The point is this: when most of us get a new phone, we don't read the entire user manual. We look at the quick start instructions and start playing with it, referring to the user manual when needed. It's a good model for student learning, I think.

So I had them think about the way the session had gone and had them list what I had done to make the experience work. They came up with all of the elements of my list on slide 8, plus a few more.

It went really, really well. I will almost certainly do the same thing for other uni sessions to which I get invited.