Friday, January 27, 2012

The Dulling of Repetition and Intrigue of Creativity

Every time that I have taught a vocabulary lesson in Mr. Agajan's 3rd grade class, I've always used "All Write Round Robin." (AWRR) If I had to teach a lesson on suffixes, I would use it. If I had to teach a lesson on prefixes, I would use it. If I had to teach a lesson on long A words, I would use it. Mr. Agajan recommended that I only use it about once a week. I neglected that recommendation.Until recently, I have had no qualms at all with making use of the same technique over and over again. That's because I have faith in the idea that my repeated use of a given technique such as AWRR will lead to my improved execution of it.

The last time before I used AWRR, one of the students asked me a question:

Student: "Mr. Auto?"

Me: "Yea?"

Student: "Are you gonna do All Write Round Robin today?"

Me: "Yea. Do you like doing it?"

Student: (She smiles at me... then shakes her head)

That using AWRR over and over again would make my students bored was in my blind spot. My students will learn something new everyday. That's a given. But, my presentation format is able to remain the same. Unfortunately, the lesson content is what is presented through that format. So, if they find the presentation format boring, they will necessarily also find the lesson content boring. It won't matter whether the lesson content is new. Unfortunately, if I retain the same presentation format everyday, then I will lose my students' interest.

What is the solution? Briefly speaking, the solution is to not present in the same way over and over again. At first, that might sound impossible. That's why I need to clarify that I'm not saying that a presentation format should only be used once and then never again be used. Going back to Mr. Agajan's recommendation, if I'm going to use the same presentation format, AT THE VERY LEAST, I should not constantly use it from one day to the next, to the next, and infinity. At the very least, perhaps I should limit the use of any given presentation format to once a week. That way, the newness or unfamiliarity of any given presentation format will be retained much longer than if I were to use it from day to day.

Another minor solution is to tweak a presentation format. So, perhaps instead of simply facilitating AWRR, I also add various roles to it. For example, one individual in AWRR could be a recorder of all the words that each member has and another individual could report those words to the rest of the class. In any case, it is undeniable that I cannot use the exact same presentation format for every lesson.

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