Western Alamance (NC) High School
I primarily teach ninth grade World History, but have also taught Civics
and Economics, World Religions, Military History, U.S. History, and World
Cultures. I entered teaching as a second career through lateral-entry
certification after two decades teaching youth and adults as an ordained
full-time youth pastor.
Finding ways to keep history interesting: Students make cardboard shields and act-out ancient Greek phalanx warfare
A researcher brings much to a project. In recent years, I have witnessed/experienced a (seemingly) endless bombardment of anti-lecture rhetoric from administrators and so-called-experts who are no longer in an active teaching environment. For some time, I have called my own practice “directed-discussion” – a kind of politically-correct cousin to lecture.
Rather than a “monotonous monotone monologue by a moron,” directed-discussion includes: pre-class student reading, frequently posed dilemmas for student verbal response in “real-time,” multiple forms of input (student-drawn maps, charts, tables, visual images), and my own colorful/ humorous/ energetic content-delivery.
STUDENT POPULATION FOR THIS STUDY
It is important to know the basic profile of the student subjects. This was a second-semester ninth grade class, so the students had largely acclimated to the High School environment with its increased demands and expectations (contra Middle School). The class was a World History class, so assessments and expectations were teacher-developed rather than state-mandated. It was an Honors-level class, so there was an atmosphere of preparation for college by the students (expectations, homework load, higher-level thinking, etc.) and by myself (format, expectation of initiative and study skills, etc.). The actual research-event was fairly deep into the semester, so the students had become comfortable with my delivery and my in-class academic expectations.
- How does pre-class preparatory textual reading impact in-class note-taking during directed-discussion?
- How does a student’s in-class verbal participation impact his/her note-taking during directed-discussion?
- How do pre-class preparatory textual reading and in-class note-taking in a directed-discussion format impact performance on teacher-developed assessments?
- How do a student’s in-class verbal participation and in-class note-taking in a directed-discussion format impact performance on teacher-developed assessments?
FOCUS RESEARCH QUESTION
How do students learn from directed-discussion as evidenced by their note-taking efforts, self-reflection on their learning, and preparedness for teacher-developed assessments?