May 19, 2011
ROLE strategies: talk less
Teachers talk too much
Teachers talk; it’s simply in our nature. We give instructions – two and three times, because we don’t think our students are listening. We repeat a concept over and over, because three students had their heads down or weren’t looking in our direction. We dwell on the same visual aid, talking about every bullet point. We spend five minutes in closing, belaboring an earlier lesson for no good reason, other than to fill the time with sound. We talk and talk and talk. Sure, we’re told that lecturing is not good, but we continue. Why? The answer is simple. Talking makes us feel like we're in control.
Let the students talk instead
Research indicates that people remember about 10 percent of what they read, 20 percent of what they hear and 30 percent of what they see. However, they remember an almost uncanny 70 percent of what is discussed. If this is accurate, it seems that students will learn best when they share information in a cooperative setting – not when listening to teachers. So, in many cases, all you have to do is replace your own talking with silence and let the students do the rest.
It's not easy, and it takes practice. Think of ways to eliminate direct instruction with other teaching methods, and soon, you'll be talking less, your students will be talking more, and there will be more learning than ever in your class.
Other ROLE strategies
If you missed it, check out ROLE strategy 1: year-long projects
Don't miss the book
You can learn how to be successful, while almost completely eliminating direct instruction, in my soon-to-be-released book, ROLE Reversal: How Results-only Learning Will Change Education As We Know ItTM.