Process The Learning

I’m sure that you have heard that to integrate technology into your classroom and then continue to do what you have always done, just with technology, is a mistake. It is what has time and again led to failure in 1:1 programs and other tech integration programs. You have to change what you do, change what your day looks like.

One change I have made to how I teach, is that I take time to have students process many of the activities and projects we do. I found over the years that if I questioned students about a project we were far along on, or had finished, they often would be at a loss to remember much of it.

This really came to our attention once when they were going to be interviewed by a local TV station about a community service project they completed. I thought it would be a good idea to have them practice answering questions the day before. We began with me asking questions about the project and the students jotting down notes about what they remembered. It was ugly! They really struggled and were very inarticulate about it – embarrassingly so, which was good because they noticed and were very eager then to review what we had done.

At first I was astonished by how little they seemed to remember. I would even have to remind them of a few things, but once you get started it suddenly comes back and then they finally can remember it faster than anyone can write it down. I remember when I was in my first year teaching we were trained to have a period at the end of the day to “debrief” the class about what they did that day. I really found it valuable, but have unfortunately gotten out of the habit mainly because we are so pushed on time anymore. This does not only pertain to projects involving tech, or even just projects, having your students discuss all that went into an activity helps them process their thinking and helps bring clarity to what they learned. Also, it does not always occur to students that they were supposed to be learning anything. It is a great opportunity too for you to listen for inconsistencies and outright misinformation that may have been picked up along the way.

We often Skype with other classrooms, and it is not unusual for me to have the class explain an ongoing or finished project to the other students. During preparation these same kinds of lapses occur and we get to clarify for each other. It is very powerful and shows how students “mis-learn” things sometimes, or have difficulty exppresing themselves.

This is also a reason I have all my students blogging. It is a great way to have them share learning and clarify for each other, and since they are sharing with an audience that is worldwide, it gives them more motivation to “get it right.”

So build in time to talk about, discuss and review what is happening in class. It takes time, and you’ll have to make changes in your day to accommodate it, but it is an important part in making change that truly impacts learning. And I haven’t even discussed how it promotes language skills and builds confidence in speaking up and defending your thinking, … well there, now I did. : )

Learning is messy!

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One thought on “Process The Learning

  1. Excellent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need to get back to incorporating”debriefing” at the end of each lesson. Thanks for the reminder!