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How do you get your students to work harder than you do?

Hi Friends,

How do you get your students to work harder than you do?  This question, posted on #sunchat by @starsackstein, gave rise to a lot of thinking...  Do my students work harder than I do?  What have I done to help get students do the heavy thinking? After some thought, three things popped into my head that I have learned over the years: don't give out the answers (even when you know them), ask more questions, and provide some time for students to correct their own work.

1. Don't give out the answers...

Leading a science workshop for teachers I learned the power and result of not answering questions and not explaining things.  Thinking!  In the workshop, the participants had to complete a seemingly impossible experiment.  The participants just wanted to know the answers, when I absolutely refused to tell them how to it would work or if their ideas were on the right track or not.  To my surprise, this only motivated them even more.  

2. Ask even more questions... 

Try this strategy that Dylan Wiliam's discusses in the video above, entitledpose-pause-pounce-bounce. Ask a question, wait, pounce on a students question and bounce it to another student. Do this and your students will be doing more of the talking and more of the thinking than you are!  The result for me has been that I know more about what my students are thinking so that I'm better able to plan, in the moment, to meet their needs.

Another way to do this is to answer a question (or a statement) with a question.  Are you sure?  Tell me more?  Why can't it be?  How could it be?

3. Provide some time for students to correct their own work...

Today in classrooms, many activities are hands-on, but when they aren't - who corrects the work?  Does student work sit in a pile on your desk making you feel guilty?  Does it go home with you in your bag each night?  Giving students the opportunity to see and realize their own mistakes makes their learning deeper, it is a more immediate way to give feedback, and allows teachers more time for other things that always need doing like planning! 

How do you get your students to work harder than you do?

Yours in passion for education,

Kate O'Connell

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