Sunday, September 13, 2009

All At Once

Today a colleague lecturing in law shared with me a great class activity. This would work for subjects like Law (obviously), Literature and Philosophy where a compelling case needs to be presented.

Select about half a dozen students, get them to prepare their case/speech/argument/whatever, group them in a circle, and make them talk simultaneously.

The rest of the students (who could be standing anywhere or even allowed to move from speaker to speaker) would be instructed to listen carefully and select the speaker they find most interesting. The speaker with the highest number of votes 'win'. Then we change speakers and go again.

All the ingredients for charged-up learner-centered learning are here:
  • multi-directional communication (instead of I-talk-you-all-listen-ism)
  • a competitive element with the class as a whole judging the winners (and not the facilitator)
  • initiative and creativity i.e. the students shape the learning (as opposed to the facilitator deciding exactly how and what will happen)
  • real-world simulation where we really do have to match our voices/performances against that of others (compared to totally abstracted superficial scenarios)
That's what it's all about.

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