Math Class With Less Direct Instruction?
Posted on March 1, 2014 at 4:16 pm by Lisa
I have a request and if you would be so kind to indulge me, I’d appreciate it. If you can answer the following, I would appreciate it. Tag me on Twitter (@lmhenry9) and/or post your answer in the comments (or blog about it and post the link in the comments). Thanks.
How does a math class look/operate/function that is NOT based on direct instruction? What does a typical day look like? How is direct instruction infused in when needed?
Background on my question:
Andrew Stadel in January had posed a question on Twitter about finding and implementing tasks. Since then, I have been pondering on and off how I would change how I currently teach. I do quite a bit of direct instruction. I know that I should be looking at other options and not relying on DI so much. However, I find that when I ponder how my class would change, I feel completely clueless. And when I start to really think seriously about it, someone (usually an adult) says something to me like “You do such a great job of explaining to your students.” Usually this is prefaced or followed with an explanation of what the person has seen in another class and what was lacking that I seem to provide. And then every fiber of my being says, “See – you shouldn’t take that out of your class.” But yet, I keep coming back to making changes in my class structure.
I know there are things I could be doing differently, but I don’t know how to. I teach based on how I was taught. Granted, that was a long time ago and it worked well for me. I’m sure it still works well for motivated students who are usually at the top of their class. I want to make sure that whatever changes I make benefit as many students as possible and in particular help those students who generally would fall in the middle and bottom.
I know I should be integrating rich tasks into my class – how does that work? When you have students who are not used to doing rich tasks and are used to being taught to, how do you help them make the adjustment (especially students who have tended to struggle with math)? I have so many questions going through my head it is hard to articulate it all. The more information and detail you can provide would be helpful.
I’m not looking to flip my classroom, meaning that I am not looking to move the “direct instruction” portion out of my class time. There are many reasons for that but the main one is the lack of available internet for many of my students. I am looking to minimize the amount of direct instruction and to provide it in a meaningful, natural manner. So how does that look?
I appreciate you taking the time to read my questions and I even more appreciate those of you who will take the time to respond. Every bit helps. Thanks.Tags: direct instruction, instruction, questions, reflection