"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Practice That Increases Student's Engagement Without High Costs

When learning resources are quite limited, there are practices that can be employed to enhance student's participation in lecture-based classroom. To help students keep their attention during the instruction, previously prepared notes with missing items can be given to students. These notes follow the flow of the lecture but are incomplete. Students are then required to fill in the blanks as the lecture progresses. In this fashion, the student maintains specific goals throughout the lecture. The guided notes serve basically as a list of questions to which students must respond, and the answers or the missing pieces are in the lecture. Moira Konrad, Laurice M. Joseph and Elisha Eveleigh of Ohio State University have performed an analysis of how effective guided notes are in enhancing student learning:
https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/education_and_treatment_of_children/v032/32.3.konrad.html
Guided notes basically achieve two goals. First, it provides students with a good template for taking notes. By seeing concrete examples of notes, students are more likely to develop good note-taking skills. Second, by enhancing a student's engagement and attention during lecture, guided notes enhance learning outcomes. The above study pertains specifically to upper elementary and secondary schools. And as the above authors cite:
Guided notes are a low-cost and efficient way to help teachers promote active engagement during their lectures. Heward (in Guided notes: Improving the effectiveness of your lectures. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Partnership Grant for Improving the Quality of Education for Students with Disabilities, 2001) recommends the following steps for creating guided notes. First, teachers should create an outline of the lecture to be presented to students, focusing on the most salient concepts that students need to master. This outline can be created using presentation software (e.g., Power-Point) or overhead transparencies, which the teacher will use to guide the lecture. Next, teachers should create a handout for the students, strategically omitting important information from the outline, leaving blanks for students to fill in as they listen to the lecture. Though students should not need to write lengthy responses, an adequate number of blanks must be distributed throughout the handout to encourage active attending and engagement. Also, there should enough space at each blank so students can record all information provided during the lecture....
Lectures will be part of instruction for many more years to come. Guided notes are simple additions that can make these lectures more effective.

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