To help draft this specific and clear definition, I first worked through a few exercises to push my thinking a bit deeper. Check out my “5 Whys?”, “Why-How Ladder”, and Point-of-View Madlib below.
Why does my SIMPLE Learning Cycle need to be redesigned?
- Because too much of the current cycle results in passive students.
Why are my students currently passive?
- Because I am telling them too much of the information through lectures and videos.
Why am I telling them all of the information?
- Because it takes less time to tell them the information rather than left them discover it.
Why is time a deciding factor?
- Because there is so much information to cover before the AP Exam in May
Why is there so much to cover?
- Because there are 55 AP Biology standards to cover plus other important ideas and concepts.
Today’s short attention-spanned high school students raised with an entertain me attitude need to actively construct their own knowledge because facts will always be readily available on the Internet but students need to learn how to think.
After working through the above thinking exercises, I drafted the following definition statement:
High school students currently spend up to 90% of their school day passively listening to their teachers and peers. This passive environment does not deeply engage the students and therefore, it falls short of providing long lasting understanding while also failing to produce good thinkers.
A major cause of this problem is that teachers feel the burden of numerous local, state and national standards. As a result, teachers feel a need to communicate as much information as possible in the shortest amount of time. This usually results in lectures and creates a very passive environment. To start to remedy this problem, teachers first need to take a careful look at what they must teach. This exercise will hopefully discover less meaningful or irrelevant topics in their curriculum that can be omitted. The time freed up by removing this unessential content can then be used allow students to actively construct their knowledge through hands-on investigations and projects.