This lovely video shows Elana Feder and her GED class doing a social math activity about Positive and Negative Numbers.
In it you can see the advantages of making learning social in the adult education classroom:
- Learners are active, which wakes them up and gets the brain going.
- Learners know they will have to do something, so they can’t be entirely passive.
- However, they don’t have to do the whole problem (in this case, add or subtract positive and negative numbers using a number line). They can hang back until they see what to do, or until someone helps them.
- It’s easy for the teacher to see who is having trouble by watching learners’ activity style and body language.
- The activity produces lots more dialogue about the problem and the solution than happens when everyone works on their own.
- Finally, (my favourite) learners get to socialize a bit, make a few off-topic comments, and grumble a little about the activity and the teacher, which releases stress for many people, and helps them form bonds with other students.
Elana’s video is part of a great site for finding video of teachers teaching in adult basic education, GED, ESOL, or literacy classes: the Media Library of Teaching Skills for adult learning and literacy (MLoTS) http://mlots.org/.
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I love – and am not surprised – that your favorite is that students get a chance to grumble about the teacher. You have always liked a certain kind of “bad” students. And I admit they remind one that one is teaching adults – adult “badness” is very different than kids’ badness.
Great exercise for basic math students.