3 responses

  1. Steve Nguyen
    April 25, 2010

    Richard: When I was training teachers in classroom management, one useful tool is called TWWA or teaching while walking around. I’ve trained professionals and no matter how large or small the group, I try to always move around the room. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible depending on the topics being taught or spacing issue. The other thing might be that doing so actually distracts the audience (if it’s done too much). To balance between capturing the audience’s attention while achieving my aiming of delivering the lesson or training, I use a combination of TWWA and asking open-ended questions to random students. I’ve even tried to use humor (one time I came right next to someone who was nodding off). It made everyone laugh and lightened the mood.

    More often than not, I do find that TWWA works. Sometimes, I’ll lecture or talk from the back of the room. It keeps the students or participants on their toes. I’ll be curious to hear what techniques or strategies you’ll try next. I was laughing at the “Should I cram the fajita down their throats?” comment. Good luck.

    Steve

  2. Richard N. Landers
    April 25, 2010

    I actually use that technique to some degree already – I hate podiums. I don’t walk to the back of the classroom, but I use the old-school debate technique of staying generally in one place while making a point, walking to another place in the room while transitioning from point to point, and then staying generally in the new location until the next transition. It keeps visual interest and also ties your movements to what you’re talking about.

    The odd thing is, even in the last few undergrad classrooms I taught in (last academic year and summer), I don’t generally have people texting excessively. Maybe the occasional message, but nothing to nearly the degree I often read about online – stories of entire rooms of students looking under their desks clicking away. What I’m struggling with now is figuring out if that’s happened because my style discourages such distractions, or because more people text compulsively now than they did a year ago.

  3. Steve Nguyen
    April 25, 2010

    The use of technology has permeated our people’s lives so much that students now blur the line between how they use technology (tweeting, texting, surfing the web, etc.) away from school and at school. Even adults seem to struggle as excessive use of technology (e.g., constantly checking emails, web surfing, online games & shopping, etc.) in the workplace has increased. I believe the simplicity and availability of web phones has made it easier to distract ourselves. That’s the double-edged sword of technology.

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