Who’s Doing the Most Talking, Moving, or Writing?
There is a simple but profoundly important question to ask yourself whenever you teach, train, or present information to others: “Who’s doing the most talking, moving, or writing?” If the answer is YOU, then YOU are doing the most learning!
Brain scientists acknowledge what effective teachers, trainers, and instructors have known all along: active learners remember more content than passive learners. Active brains learn more. Passive brains don’t. Active means that learners are also talking, moving, and writing. Active means that learners are boosting the oxygen levels in their brains (sitting passively does the opposite and sitting brains become lethargic after about 15-20 minutes). Here are seven ways to allow and encourage learners to take a more active part in classroom learning:
1. CHART-WRITING: YOU don’t write class responses on flip charts. You ask a learner/volunteer to do that for you, you direct the volunteer to PRINT in BIG letters, and you have the class copy what the volunteer writes.
2. LECTURE: If you deliver content via lecture, you pause every 10-15 minutes and direct learners to form pairs and take two minutes to talk or write about what they just heard: a summary sentence, a question, the three most important facts, what they can do with the information, etc.
3. QUESTIONS: You have everyone in the class stand up and stretch, to get more oxygen to their brains. Then ask the class a content-related question that has multiple answers. Learners with answers to the question state their answers and sit down. Repeat this process, asking another question to those who are still standing up, until most of the class is seated.
4. MORE CHART-WRITING: Direct learners to write a content-related summary, question, or fact on chart papers that are posted around the room. Or they can write on sticky notes and post these on chart papers. Both activities get learners out of their seats and walking for a minute, which boosts brain oxygen levels.
5. NOTE-TAKING: Whenever you lecture, learners need to be taking notes. During your lecture, you PAUSE frequently to give them time to write, or you say, “This is profound, so write it down!” Then stop talking for about 10-20 seconds so that they can write.
6. SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS: Direct learners at table groups to stand while discussing the content (FYI: There is no rule that says learners must remain seated while verbally reviewing information).
7. BODY BREAKS: Insert short, quick, standing and seated stretches into your content-delivery. You are standing and moving while lecturing; your learners aren’t. Their brains are going to sleep due to lack of oxygen. Having them stretch, yawn, stand and move their bodies will wake them up. They will laugh (which is, in itself, an oxygen boost), and they will feel refreshed and thank you for it!
The person doing the most talking,
or moving, or writing,
is doing the most learning!