Sunday, 14 February 2016

Elements of an Engaging Lesson

On  Wednesday I observed my Mentor take a 'statistical inquiry' lesson. I wanted to observe and record how Robyn creates an engaging lesson on statistics.  What I witnessed was inspiring!  Robyn places great importance on creating student 'buy in', as it leads to engagement in learning.  She achieves this through:

  • Sparking student interest
  • Promoting student agency
  • Making connections between the learning and the learners

How it was done

In the statistical inquiry, students were given the open task of 'finding out about LS2'.  Robyn encouraged the students to think outside the box, and away from typical questions such as 'what is your favourite colour?' and come up with something they wanted to know about their classmates. Getting our learners to form their own questions sparked a lot of enthusiasm and engagement, which draws attention to the importance of student agency in the classroom.  It was apparent that learners were eager to begin their statistical inquiry as they were following their own lines of interest. It is also important to note that our learners were engaged during the entire lesson.  I feel that if our learners had been given a set question the level of enthusiasm and engagement would not have been the same.  

What I also noticed during the lesson was how seamlessly academic language was woven into what the students were learning.  Robyn made sure to make connections between the academic language and the learners, by unpacking the terms in 'learner speak'. Repetition was also key here.  After each step in the statical inquiry, Robyn went back over the inquiry process, reminding the learners what they had been doing -  in both academic language and learner speak.  

What I will take from this

  • Student agency + effective teaching = engaged learners.
  • Giving learners freedom of choice is an effective way to generate student interest/enthusiasm towards tasks.
  • Unpacking academic language into 'learner speak' allows for learners to make connections to the learning, thus deepening their understandings of tasks.
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition!

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