Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pass It On


Change comes in many different forms, and when it does, it hits with a delightful surprise. It is bliss to see teachers taking a teaching strategy and making it their own. The teaching strategy is called "Pass It On." Instead of a teacher repeating the answers of a student when they respond to a question, the teacher asks the student to select another student in the class to either repeat, elaborate or provide a different answer.

Here is an example of what I saw in a physical education class. After the student leaders had guided the class through the warm up exercises, the teachers had the students come together in a huddle at the front of the gymnasium. The teachers wanted the students to review the elements of doing a "set" and a "bump" in volleyball. The teacher asked a review question and then had students respond through using "pass it on".

In a 9th grade English class, the teacher used the "human thermometer" as a motivational exercise to get students to address one of the themes in a fictional selection they were about to read. After explaining the rules of where to stand to indicate their views, either agree, disagree, or neutral. The students had a brief time to discuss their thoughts as to why they stood in the particular side of the room. The teacher then had the students share out in which the students were responsible to "pass it on" to make sure the members of their team had a chance to express their view.

OK - so why am I still abuzz? What you just read was a brief glimpse of real world application of a teaching strategy as it looks in a classroom. A principal presents an idea and models the technique in a faculty conference. Usually it is the end of the day, and one hopes that teachers will experiment and try it out. It was so cool to see not only teachers experimenting, trying it out and making it their own in the classroom. Now that's cool stuff.

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