Lesson #2: Stop talking.
No lectures to my children. This is a promise I made to myself even though it is often difficult for me to uphold because I love a good lecture. The problem is that it’s simply the least effective way to teach them right now. Cognitive science gives us proven ways to reach deeper levels of learning. Enjoy this short article on learning:
In a recent email to our Acton Academy guides, Jeff Sandefer outlined how we apply the ideas in this article to our daily life at Acton Academy:
” 1. Learning requires context. For us, it means having a clear visual ‘journey map’ and milestones ON THE WALL that you and students can relate to, from time to time (‘you are here; here’s where we have been; here’s where we are going and WHY it matters’); plus a diagnostic Framework (‘here are some questions you can ask to decide what to do next’.
2. Every launch must put students ‘in the shoes of a protagonist’ facing a decision that will matter in their lives, and somehow will shape their identity and determine their destiny. Otherwise, who cares?
3. Our job is to set the rules and incentives. Then let the students learn through ‘learning to do.’ Experiential learning is best; Socratic case discussion next best. Experts/lectures – only if you are watching a master on TED or reading a great book; never wasting class time on this, because it needs to be individualized for each student.
If we get the following right:
1. End goals that matter;
2. Maps and milestones.
3. Frameworks; and
4. Rules and incentives;
then great learning happens.”
Of course, the ultimate goal is to equip students to create these for themselves and others, so the “learning to learn” becomes a deeply imbedded habit, and spreads exponentially.
And that is my incentive enough for me to resist my temptation to lecture.