This is a topic that I feel very strongly about. A future post will probably delve into this topic with more depth. Adding this into your teaching across all your lessons will take a lot of time and practice. It comes more naturally to some teachers more than others. But integrating this into your daily routine or for one lesson a week could be very doable.
I used a picture of someone swimming for this post. I did this as a concrete example of doing rather than telling. How could you explain to a student what water is and how to swim in it? Would it be helpful? Maybe. What would be better is if the student could experience and learn to swim in actual water. That is what we should do with our academic content as well. Put your students right into the water!
What It Does For You (And Your Students)
- Reduces the amount of instructions you will need to say to your students.
- Increases the attention of students.
- Allows explicit instructions.
- Creates build in examples.
- Allows for I Do, We Do, You Do patterns.
What It Is
The best way to show this teaching technic is to give an example. This example will be a for a reading comprehension lesson on questioning.
Today we’re learning about questioning. Questioning is when you write have a specific question before you start reading, and then look for the answer as you read. Here’s our question: “How does the character change?” Then you read the story and look for the answer. First, use notes to write down the question. Then … (and so on explaining the
Today we’re learning about questioning. Questioning is when you have a specific question before you start reading, and then look for the answer as you read. Here’s our question: “How does the character change?” Let’s get out our book and start reading. (start reading as a class) Now as I am reading, I am thinking, Our character is getting unsure about following his peers. I think this because of _____________ and ________________. That seems like he’s changing. Let’s underline it so we can find it again. Do that now. Let’s keep reading.
Sometimes Math can be easier because you literally show the steps while you talk about the problem. I would just add that you should allow your students to do the math with you. Even for the first time. It encourages them to pay attention.
How To Do It
What you should focus on when you start doing this, is cutting out explanations. Just jump into the content. I usually write my lesson plan, think about what I am going to say, and then take out about 50% of my planned instructions. If you are teaching reading, don’t talk so much about it, just start reading and then talk about your thought process. If you are teaching math, don’t have everyone watch you write numbers and talk to the board, have everyone do the problem. This is true with other subjects as well.
Wrapping It Up
This is a fairly simple concept to that can really increase attention, retention, and success in your classroom. Although it may feel foreign at first, it will start to become second nature as you practice.