This Is Hard!

Overheard in my high school blended learning class last week…

How do you teach someone something without just telling it to them?

I want to play a game, but what if everyone else plays games in their lessons and people get bored of games?

You’re not going to bail us out if the tech fails?!

What if people are looking at their tablets instead of me? I don’t want to look out and just see the backs of tablet screens. How will I know if people are paying attention?

This is hard! No, seriously, this is hard.

As the final part of their cumulative project, the students in my blended learning class are planning the learning experiences (lessons) they will lead for the class in the weeks to come. Over the course of that time, each of the students will be responsible for posting prep work for students to complete prior to their class, facilitating the lesson, and evaluating students’ preparation and participation. Students who are participants in the lesson will evaluate the facilitator/teacher. (We’ve had discussions about what makes effective teachers/lessons as prep for this part of the project.) The incredible thing about the project so far has been watching students become really invested topics and then wrestle with how to teach that to others.

I will act as a student doing all the prep work and participating in the lesson. I’ve told students that I will not be intervening as an authority figure unless something happens contrary to the code of conduct in the student handbook (violence, hateful language, etc.). As a teacher, it’s no small thing to give your class over to seventeen and eighteen year olds for six and a half weeks. I’m sure there’ll be occasions when I’ll have to resist the urge to offer a correction or bail a struggling student out. In those moments, I’ll try to remember my first days of teaching. The wonderful, painful, hilarious days of fumbling to discover what it was to be head learner.

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