Since September I’ve done a lot of thinking about the structure of lessons and what makes a decent lesson and over the next month I intend to blog a few ideas I’ve had.
Idea 1: Lessons should be planned for learning that is exponential not linear.
NB: If you aren’t a maths nerd and I’ve just confused you there is a picture below:
Traditional lesson planning makes you think that learning is done in chunks. You learn A that allows you to learn B and then C. This is good in theory and makes sense. But it also means that the lesson plods. The kids learn but they do it in regular, predictable steps which means that they aren’t challenged or pushed and it means that the kids are probably passive passengers. In this model the end of the lesson is the same as the rest and probably just consolidates what the kids have learnt today.
Exponential learning is different. In this model the learning starts off slowly, clearly establishing what they learnt before. This is important as it gives the students comfort that they have the foundations to move on. In the main body new ideas are introduced slowly and in this way it is similar to the linear model. But where it drastically differs is seeing the plenary not as a chance to consolidate but seeing it as an opportunity to use the learning they have gained in the main body and extend it, challenge it and push it to a new level. The aim with an exponential lesson is to make the kids really realize they have learnt a ton today. Gone are naff things like ‘what have we learnt today’ that just summarise or consolidate. Instead questions are posed that are really hard.
Destroy minds the few minutes before the little buggers leave. That’s a lesson they will remember.