Posted in Teaching Techniques

Student Run Lessons

If you’ve gotten this far, it means that you’re reading my blog post. If the title of the post has freaked you out a little, please don’t run away from this post. Take a couple of minutes and actually read it. It’s probably not as scary as you might be imagining it to be.

I firmly believe that sometimes students learn better when their peers teach them. Sometimes they just need that jolt of something new, a fresh perspective, a more relatable teacher. I also believe that there is nothing wrong with this, and that we should be open to the idea of student taught lessons.

To be clear, I do not imagine this as a free for all, nor do I view it as a decision to simply not teach that particular day. In my head there are multiple and important steps to this process.

  1. I think it’s best to introduce this idea to students when they are starting a new book or unit. The introduction is important because you might have a group of students who really don’t want to do this. Please don’t force students to participate in student run lessons if they are truly resistant to the idea.
  2. Provide students with a guideline and/or template of what you want them to do. They’ve never taught a course before (presumably), and they need guidelines. And just as importantly, you need to maintain a level of control.
  3. Proof and review their lessons before they teach! This step is very important. Students might not have done the assignment correctly. They might need some guidance. You might want to collaborate with them. Don’t assume that they’re on track – check!
  4. On the days students are teaching, you should still be the one to start class. Let students know what the day holds for them. Introduce the student(s) who are teaching. Maintain a basic level of control so that things don’t get out of hand.

Try it out. See how a student run lesson might work for you. It could be pretty fabulous.



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