I’ve seen this list go around for a long time. When I think of my personal learning experiences, it makes sense. When I am preparing to teach a lesson, I do far more research than if I am finding information for myself, because I want to be ready for unexpected questions. In addition, as I am explaining things and making those connections for my students, I often feel myself connect what I am explaining to other things I know. Unfortunately, my students don’t have identical background knowledge to me, so they are not making the same connections. They won’t remember the lesson as well as I will. Kind of stinks, since they are the intended audience, huh?
But, maybe we are thinking about this wrong. Maybe students should be participating in our lessons, reading books, watching videos and having discussions, in order to gather information so that they will be ready to teach the class. Then, they can make connections with their own background knowledge and cement the understanding into their own memories.
Students can “teach the class” in many ways.
1. You can set aside real class time for them to take over class and be the teacher.
2. They can create tutorial videos for their classmates. My students publish theirs on YouTube to help out students around the world. We use these sheets to help us plan our lessons.
3. They can create “guide books” with words and illustrations on how to solve the problem or understand the concept.
4. You can have a “peer tutoring” day where students take turns answering each other’s questions on a topic.
5. They can create photo stories or blog posts to walk others through how to solve a problem or understand the concept.
If we make students the teachers, we don’t lose our role. We still need to help students build their knowledge by creating engaging, experiential lessons; by leading engaging discussions; by suggesting ways to find answers to their questions; by guiding them through the process of developing their lesson or teaching materials. If we make students the teachers, we give our students the chance to remember 95% of what they have been exposed to.