This week, I decided to branch off of the use of Class Dojo and explore other methods that shouldn’t be used in classrooms. I came across this blog by Jennifer Gonzales, and each one of these was a pet peeve during my time in school before college, and unfortunately some of them have continued into my time in college. The method I’m going to focus on this week is giving students prepared notes. I cannot count all the teachers I’ve had that are guilty of this.
Remember way back when teachers used to roll out an overhead projector, riffle through clear transparency pages of printouts, and then mark them up with Vis-A-Vis markers? Remember the frustration when they couldn’t find the right page, only to have it be stuck to another plastic page? We’ll call that time the projector mode period. Most of my teachers, college, high school, middle school, and even late elementary school level, are still stuck in projector mode. Even back then, teachers did not understand the concept of giving a basic outline of what they’re going to talk about that day and expecting students to take their own notes. Instead, they type their notes, put it up on a projector, and read it word for word. I even had one teacher go so far as to print out his presentations, but remove one word from every slide. We would be required to fill in that word and then hand in our notes so he could make sure we were paying attention.
These are the same teachers that misuse technology. They see a Smartboard and think, “Oh, a fancy overhead projector!” Instead of using it as a way to interact with students, they present their lecture notes on it. Smartboards have replaced overhead projectors, and Powerpoint presentations have replaced clear transparency sheets. This is not the way to have students take notes and this is not how to teach. Students are no longer taught how to take notes properly, and teachers aren’t doing them any favors by spoon feeding them all the information. When students copy the notes on the board word for word, they don’t retain as much as they would if they were to put the notes into their own words. Teachers also don’t realize that they cannot teach this way. Instead of using class time to engage their students, they are taking that time to bore students to death with lectures. Yes, sometimes a teacher has to lecture. But come on, if a student is falling asleep with their pencils in hand while copying notes off the board, is that really the best course of action to be taking in your classroom?
Photo CC – Jim Hickcox