Yesterday I took my first real step towards trying to change my teaching approach more to a student centered approach versus a teacher centered approach. I changed my lesson plan minutes before lecture and figured I had to take a risk and see what the reward might be.
Instead of talking and showing my power point slides and having the students follow along I tasked each student with a specific goal - 4 students would learn the ankle projections together, 4 the foot, 4 the tibia/fibula, and 4 the toe projections. The 4 students would then go back to their lab groups and teach one of their lab partners their projection. The person receiving the information would then be in charge during the lab to teach the projections to the other 2 members of their lab set. This way if they were having difficulty they could lean on the classmate that originally taught them or the instructor.
The class went to work right away and I went from group to group and listened in. When I felt it was appropriate I would pose a question to the group and then this would evoke more conversation.
All and all this ended up being a great activity. For the last half of lecture I reviewed the projections with a classroom discussion. I found the students were more engaged as they had seen the material and worked with it. I find most of the students don't pre-read, so the conversation and discussions we had were a better quality and we were able to cover more material and in more detail.
I feel this worked because the first month of classes we have worked on building a positive community so the students were willing to put themselves out there and try something new.
One of the things I witnessed as an instructor when the student came back to the group and had to teach their fellow students everyone used a different technique to get their points across.
After the activity, I posed the question "what did you do to teach your projections to your fellow student?" to the class. The responses were excellent and I felt this was almost more important than the material because the students learned what other peers are doing to remember the projections. Some students asked questions to the other student, some students just relayed the information, some students used diagrams, some used the skeletons, some their lab books and some their own body parts. The point was they used a variety of resources and were all successful!
I finished the activity with a "WHIP around" strategy. WHIP around strategy
Each student came up with valuable information that I feel were the key components that would have been covered in the lecture and the "gold of the lesson" is they discovered it themselves! I will definitely be trying this again!