55-For Tomorrow’s Lesson…Give Students Virtually NO Instructions…Starring Charlie Smith

I’m not telling you how to do it!

Picture this…tomorrow you stroll confidently into your first-period class. You gleefully announce the day’s essential question. You observe with satisfaction the looks on thirty adolescent faces as their intellectual gears perk to life and start rotating. You then point out that 5 minutes of the class is already in the rear-view mirror, so they better get cracking! You spend the remainder of the period gliding from group to group challenging, inspiring, coaching, offering new perspectives, evaluating, and congratulating. This, my dear friends, is the classroom of the future!

Unfortunately, many teachers haven’t embraced this paradigm. They’re still defualt to the stand and deliver model. They hover in front of disengaged youngsters talking…and talking…and talking some more. It’s part of many instructor’s DNA to explain. By default, we want to elaborate and make sure we’re thoroughly understood. When we are asked a question, we’re hardwired to answer thoroughly. But these very tendencies may be robbing kids of valuable learning opportunities! There’s still a need for explanation. There’s still a place for presentation. There’s still room for inspirational messages. Teachers still need to play that role and display those skills. But the lion’s share of class time should be devoted to student-led learning. Instructors who buck this trend are on the wrong side of history.

Today’s guest is a fascinating young Physics teacher. Charlie Smith went through this student-led learning paradigm shift. In this episode, he’ll talk about why he changed, how he now teaches, and we’ll also discuss some of the significant challenges to self-directed classrooms.

Don’t ask me what the answer is…but I’ll help you find it! Charlie Smith

Episode Template

The Problem:

Teachers talk too much and rob students of powerful learning opportunities.

The Solution:

Pose a question and then challenge your kids to solve it.

What You Can Do Tomorrow?

  1. Create a provocative prompt.
  2. Challenge students to offer a solution or build a model.
  3. Encourage students to question their creations. 
  4. Encourage students to evaluate other group’s solutions and models.

Self-directed learning is the way of the future. Embrace this paradigm and you and your students will thrive. 

Listen to “55-Give Students Virtually no Instructions…Starring Charlie Smith” on Spreaker.