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Instruction Techniques and Arrangements

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Choose a technique below for more information

Follow-up questions:

In order to best facilitate dialogue in the classroom it is often necessary to “follow-up” student responses, to further develop students’ understanding of the present issue.  After a student responds to a prompt use one of these follow-up questions. 

  1. Ask for clarification
  2. Ask for a student to substantiate the response (often with textual evidence).
  3. Ask other students to evaluate the response (opinion).
  4. Check for consistency (Then how would you treat situation Y, if you do that for X?).
  5. Ask how the response is related to a previous issue or comment.
  6. Ask student to extrapolate/draw out the implications from their response.
  7. Resolve an aspect of the issue and move onto a new part.

Types of assignments:

Other instructional considerations:

  1. Humor is effective, but tricky. Humor can make you appear as a real person to students, not just a faceless instructor. It helps. However, a joke in the middle of an explanation or statement can be distracting and make it harder for students to follow the lesson.
    • Sarcasm is dangerous. stay away from it. Anytime your humor will hurt someone in some way (as would sarcasm) you run a dangerous risk that the student will not take your sarcasm as a joke.
    • Puns are fine, even bad ones.
    • Always make it obvious you are joking.
    • Never call students dumb or stupid.
    • Humor is especially effective as a tool for managing trouble students at the beginning of class, before class really begins.
    • One teacher's example: I try to use jokes that belittle possible problem sites by going "overboard" in caricature of the problem, so much that it is obvious I couldn't be serious, sending the message that the issue isn't an issue to me at all. An example would be where I had a really short girl in class. Once I started hearing comments about her height, I went over and said I'd find out how short she really was. Starting at her head I moved my hand downward to my knee like someone comparing heights, but diagonally down instead of across. I then remarked "Yep! She doesn't even come up to my knee."
  2. Your Body Language is read by your students all the time.
    • Put your hands in your pockets or behind your back when you are trying to be serious. We tend to clench our hands when tense.
    • Don't cross your arms. This is an antagonistic stance. If you don't know what to do with your arms, put your hands behind your back or in your pockets.
    • Look students in the left eye when talking to them. This is less antagonistic than looking at the right eye.
    • Smile! It makes you appear human and caring.
    • Lean forward when students are talking, especially if you are sitting. This makes it apparent you really care what students are saying.
  3. One of the Best sites for teaching techniques in all its forms, including structuring lessons for college and handout, can be found at the TLC Teaching Center. Make sure you stop by if you are teaching any classes.
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