μεταcole

No Handouts

Posted in all posts, education, software, teaching by coleman yee on June 19, 2006

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.

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2 Responses

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  1. hemapa said, on April 10, 2008 at 5:50 am

    I see this thread has been posted two years ago, but since I happended to wonder here,
    I’m guessing a bunch of other interested people are bound to find it.

    I am a rather ADHD person as a student, and therefore I like keeping notes of what is said, even if the teacher/ speaker/ lecturer doesn’t see his/ her thoughts as something relevant enough to write down.

    As I write something, I get not only the audial sense of what is being said, but also something visual to glance upon if I need to recollect it – something really useful, f. ex., in the case of a lesson followed by an exam.

    I seldom actually read my notes afterwards, but it does also create a firmer, more constructive grip on the subject, it serves at the same time as a reminder and an attention holder (not that easy to drift into other thoughts if you occupy yourself with writing what you hear)

    – and if you don’t understand an expression, it’s really handy to be able to write it down immeadiately and ask for a deeper meaning after the lecturer has finished with their flow of thought – interrupting could sometimes be considered a crime, and you don’t necessarily always remember what you wanted to ask about. Writing it down means not having to occupy your thought with something that stuns you on the way to the bigger picture of it all.

    Thanks for a smashing forum!

  2. coleman yee said, on April 10, 2008 at 10:33 am

    You have a lot of good insights there – in fact I do take down notes sometimes for the very same reasons, even though I don’t consider myself ADHD 🙂

    Thanks Hemapa.


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