I was teaching some adult learners to use a certain software this morning, and not surprisingly, one of them asked if I had handouts.
"You won't need any handouts for my lesson," I told them half-jokingly, but actually meaning it.When I teach, I strive to make my lesson so brain-friendly that students remember what I teach without even realizing it, because it's been made so obvious and natural, like when you first learnt the name of the Pitcher plant.
Of course, that doesn't mean that I never give handouts. I give handouts when there is information that is difficult to simplify given the constraints, or when some information may be quite intuitive, but may be forgotten because it won't be used often or anytime soon, or there's simply some difficult-to-remember information. And also, it gives students a sense of security – the I-can-rest-easy-if-anything-goes-wrong-cos-I-have-the-handouts feeling.
Back to this morning's lesson.
After I announced that handouts were unnecessary, some of the students took out their own notepads, ready to preserve my pearls of wisdom (as if). And every now and then throughout the lesson, I would quip "hey there's really no need to take this down – this is easy stuff!"
At the end of the lesson, I walked around the class, trying to take a peek at what they had written.
I was glad that they didn't write much, and that they were comfortably using the software without referring to their notes.