How do I get my students to read the material before class?
This is perhaps the greatest challenge college teachers face today! (Ideas? Post a comment!)
This will have to wait, though. What I have here [Download!] is a very simple way of getting at least ONE student to read the material before class. It is as simple as assigning them a presentation on the readings for the day.
The basic format of the presentation:
- The student introduces him/herself and the topic
- The student summarizes each unit assigned (a section, a paragraph, etc.) in two to three sentences, written beforehand.
- The student provides a “reaction” to the reading (likes, dislikes, things that left him/her thinking…)
- The student proposes one or two questions to the class. These are not rhetorical: Only after the questions have generated a few minutes of discussion is the student allowed to go back to their seat.
- Write in the header the name of the student and the assignment. In this way, there’ll be no excuses.
- It is better to assign short sections to many students. In that way, you get more students to actually focus on the reading!
- A good presentation will take 10-15 mins. of class. Of course, I am counting on reasonably smart, motivated students. Results may vary.
- Don’t let a student get away with a question that doesn’t elicit a good follow-up discussion. If they made the mistake of asking a question that can be simply answered with a “yes,” let them suffer the *uncomfortable silence* that follows for a few minutes. This will motivate the following students to prepare better questions!