I lecture too much!

My students all completed a teacher evaluation survey for me recently.  The responses were positive, but there was a particular prompt for which I noticed that “sometimes” was the modal response.  The prompt was “My teacher inspires me.”  I am a mathematics teacher, and I think as such, I can inspire, but perhaps need to work hard at it quite consistently.  Expecting students to sit and factor quadratics for 30 minutes is not inspiring.  Having students graph flight paths of basketballs and water fountains is more inspiring.  I do think a balance is needed though: students do need to learn and practice technical skills, but they also need to see the context and relevance of their learning.

Anyway, to address this, I asked students to comment on this.  I asked them to write what were the most, and least inspiring aspects of math class this year.  Unfortunately, because of time constraints, the students weren’t able to do this anonymously (although in retrospect, I should have gone low-tech: index cards), so that might have limited the frankness of responses.

The first class were very positive, and gave the message that I was, in fact, inspiring.  The second group was also positive, but a clear message came through their responses: I lecture too much.

This is clearly going to need to be a focus area for me for next year.  How can I overcome this?  I think sometimes I am too rushed so deliver the content in the most time efficient, and easy to prepare, manner.

Any ideas out there for limiting lecture in math class?

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About eadurkin

Originally a HS Mathematics teacher from New Zealand, currently working as Associate Principal in the Secondary School at Canadian Academy, an international school in Kobe, Japan. Married with two children.
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3 Responses to I lecture too much!

  1. Could you cut down the amount of content? Fewer topics would allow you to arrange things so that the class could go into greater depth… more investigations, labs, projects, etc. Another idea is to think about what you are currently spending time on that is making you feel rushed… are there components that can be eliminated or shortened? Look at problem-based or investigation-based curricula for ideas. You can set a goal for yourself of doing one interactive activity per week (or something like that) and go from there. Another possibility is to look at flipped classrooms that move the lecture (or whatever type of instruction) outside of class so that class time can be used for investigations or kids working on problems. I think that if you want to do this, you will find ways that fit you and your students. Just experiment and see what happens!

    • eadurkin says:

      Hi Anna,

      Thanks for the great ideas! I was actually toying with partial flipping for next year anyway, so here’s yet another reason. 🙂

      Liz

  2. Pingback: Pros and cons of flipping | Liz Durkin's Blog

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