Thursday, December 10, 2015

A jar of your first impressions

This week I got the idea to get my students to be brave and write their own understanding and definitions of certain terms in the class. I have used this activity throughout all my classes.

It was a simple activity yet powerful to get students to discuss their understanding. You just need an empty jar! Yes, the empty biscuits jar! What I did was in the first few minutes after I introduced the topic to my students, instead of going ahead with explanations I got them to write their first definition and understanding that comes across their mind. For example, in the Foundations of Education class, we discussed on the topic of equal opportunities in education. I passed them a small paper each and then got them to write down what is their first impression about the topic.

To make it fun, they could be anonymous or use a secret name to tag their paper. After they finished writing what they understand, then they fold the paper and put it in in the empty jar I provided. Now, the jar is not empty anymore - we filled it with thoughts!

What we did after that was to read a few definitions out loud. It was done by the students who I chose to draw a paper from the jar. We discussed what we feel about each of the paper read. I then, started my lecture and then stopped to continue the activity. We kept repeating this activity throughout the class until we finished (it depends on the number of the students, if there are too many maybe it is not necessary to finish all).

It was good to see the students discussing their own understandings and what their friends had written in their understandings. I believe it made them think and be aware of other people's views of this world!

PS: always try to relate things around you with teaching and learning, then you will not run out with ideas...aha...