School year has begun, enough existential angst. Now it's time for some practical, pedagogical thinking. For a while, the goal is to give this blog a practical slant by blogging about what I do and what I'm trying.
First, what is it that I already do? Who am I as a teacher? I started with the thing I have probably taught the most, the figure-8 tie-in knot for rock-climbing. I tried to video myself and learned the following things:
- Video is difficult (hence the lack of video here - maybe one day)
- I rely greatly on feedback from students - modifying as I go along.
- I rarely talk for more than a few seconds before getting the students to do something. That surprised me, actually. I thought I talked for minutes at a time. I do when I teach something I don't know so well, but in the things I really can do - I get the students going quickly.
- I don't move on until each pupil has mastered each step. The quick automatically become helpers for the slow.
- I start with the known and work to the unknown - demonstrating to the students that they already know the basics here, even if they think they don't.
- My approach takes about twice as long as the simple 'follow-me' instruction that most people seem to use to teach this knot. I do it my way because I feel I get better retention. On day 2, most people remember.
Now - how can I use this approach in, say, Sociology class?