Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Seriously...Stop Talking!

Let me know if you've heard this before...

"My students just will not read instructions. Ugh...they should be able to do that by now."
"These kids are soooo needy.  They are driving me crazy with all their questions." 
"How come these student won't just try to problem solve and try to figure something out on their own?" 
"I gave those instructions five times already...how is that you haven't heard me?" 
"I cannot get those kids to work together.  They just won't listen to each other."

If you're a teacher (or a student) you have probably said and heard a variation of the above statements multiple times. And as a teacher it is extremely frustrating to say something and have to repeat yourself time and time again.  I have a solution for you.

Stop talking.


By the time students have entered middle school they have become experts at toning out the teacher's voice and thinking about whatever is interesting.  They know how to play the game of group work and do only what it necessary.  And they know that teachers with an apologetic smile they can get a teacher to repeat the instructions again.

Kids are smarter than we give them credit for...

Kids are smarter than they think they are.


So make them.  Remove yourself from the tedious work of "reading instructions."  Give it to them, tell them to read it with their teams, collaborate with others if they don't understand, and figure things out if they get stuck.  Remove the temptation.  Tape your mouth shut!

It is AMAZING what they will do on their own, when they don't have you to tell them.

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