So, go ahead. Mix it up. It will not only energize your
audience, it will keep you fresh.
A note to my blog followers: This week’s post marks the fifth anniversary for this blog. Thank you for following and sharing my weekly posts. It all began in an Austin, Texas hotel room on May 31, 2010. I had just completed facilitating a session at the NISOD annual conference and decided it was time I dove in to the blogosphere. Ironically, as I start year #6, I am sitting in Austin once again. (Love this city! And NISOD!). Please let me know if you have ideas for future topics.
Tomorrow I will facilitate a session on student success strategies at the annual NISOD conference. As is the case so often, strategies for success in school can be broadly (and at times, specifically) applied beyond the classroom. Hence the inspiration for this week’s blog post.
Whether you orchestrate a staff meeting, call to order a community action group, or lead a classroom, consider mixing it up with your audience. Especially if it is a repeat audience.
Educational psychologist Lee Shulman developed a simple non-linear model for engagement in the classroom. It allows for a teacher/leader/organizer to start a lesson/meeting/session from any one of six entry points. The six points are:
I have found this one model a simple reminder that I never have to begin two sessions in the same manner. Nor do I have to stay in the same gear for an entire presentation. It switches things up for me, keeps the students “guessing” (what will he do today?), and helps make the material relevant.
There are times it is appropriate to deliver a lecture when the audience needs to have a quick grasp of knowledge. For instance, if students needed to know the safety precautions in a science lab, it would probably be best to provide a mini lecture for understanding. Safety is probably not the area for experimentation. The same might hold true before sending a group of volunteers into a local river to pick up debris.
Or maybe you want to get the thought processes flowing with an opportunity to reflect on a significant event from the news headlines. Speakers often begin with a story to engage the audience’s thinking. This requires that they also reflect on the words of the speaker and the meaning of those words to their lives (judgment).
Many times I had my history students begin a lesson by forming small groups (engagement), reading a primary source document (reflection) and then evaluate (judgment) how it supported an historical perspective.
Have you ever conducted the Marshmallow Challenge? This immediately places your participants in a performance mode. Engagement, reflection, judgment, and commitment soon follow.
Or maybe, after evaluating a particular issue from different points of view, your students/audience can commit to one position or another.
Video recommendation of the week:
As you can see, it is possible to use all of these in one session. They are not linear. You don’t need to do a certain one first and another one at the end. You can enter at any point and mix and match as serves the needs of the people in front of you.
So, go ahead. Mix it up. It will not only energize your audience, it will keep you fresh.
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.