I’ve written versions of this idea before and I will return to the theme.
There, I’ve said it. By the year 2015, I’ll probably be required to enter a 12-Step Program for Lecturers or at least job remediation of some kind. Lecturing is almost as out of fashion as the plaid polyester leisure suit.
I flash to a discussion I once had with a Principal who explained that she wanted her teachers to spend no more than 10 minutes lecturing. The rest of the time, students were expected to participate in group activities such as Think-Pair-Share, Numbered Heads Together, Walk and Talk, Four Corners or Stand Up Hand Up Pair Up. These students were on a block schedule, too, with about an hour to misinform each other after that short snippet of lecture finished.
I don’t want to explain the above strategies. Anyone who is interested can look them up on the web. Any new teachers reading this post ought to look them up. They are useful activities, at least once students have learned something well enough to communicate their knowledge to fellow students. They also break up a block of 90 minutes, providing students an opportunity to talk, move and clear their heads without bringing instruction to a full halt.
Eduhonesty: If we have reached the point where we believe our students cannot handle more than ten straight minutes of instruction, we might as well give up now. The developed world is already kicking our butts educationally. With plans like the 10 minute instructional block, many of our students are likely to be sharing math and language scores with the war-torn neighborhoods of Somalia in the near future.