February 15, 2012

I'm throwing out the ROLE

Okay, not really. I am experimenting with some traditional  methods in one class, though, for the sake of comparison. After a couple of particularly bad days of collaboration, I decided to remind one group of students what we have abandoned and why.

So, out came the workbooks, followed by dry instructional reading, 20 fill-in-the-blank workbook questions and a multiple-choice quiz. These activities were tiresome, and the students groaned throughout.

Reinforcing the lesson
The next day, upon reflection, I shared the more ROLE-type activity that we had done in other classes, while working toward the same learning outcome. "Hey, that's not fair," one disgruntled student shouted. "Why didn't we get to do that?" another questioned.

"Based on how you behaved last week during collaborative time," I explained, "I thought you might like the traditional way better."

They didn't. So, the Results Only Learning Environment was reinstated, and all was again right with the world.

Perseverance
This experiment reminded me that not all students adapt as easily as others to a results-only class. Constant reminding about the learning community we're cultivating is necessary. This was a "tough-love" lesson, but I think the message was clear.