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Secrecy

Just had a thought going back to our topics lessons a few weeks ago. We had to plan a lesson in groups of four, to deliver to the rest of our class.

As a group, we were very open about our topic, never worrie about people finding out what we were teaching, and in fact happily showed people our IT resources before hand and had a run through in front of some of the class.

Conversely, some other groups took a very secretive approach. They used codewords to refer to certain parts of their lesson, and wouldn’t respond to queries.

On the day(s) many groups lessons were met with a level of confusion or misunderstanding, however there was a high level of comprehension for ours. This was undoubtedly due to a number of factors (not least the fact that our group was not at the end of a long day with concentration already lagging). However I have just found myself wondering whether the fact that much of the lesson was familiar (even if just in appearance) meant there was one fewer thing for students to take in, allow more effort to be devoted to the subject content.

A parallel between this and school teaching is when pupils ask about things that are relevant to a point layer in the curriculum. An example being in maths when a pupil asks about the square root of negative one before the class is learning about imaginary numbers. The teacher can point out “we’ll be learning that later”, thus extinguishing the thirst for knowledge demonstrated by the pupil, but avoiding the complicated topic until a later point when the whole class is ready.

Alternatively, a pupil could be encouraged to investigate the topic independently, or even just given a short worksheet on it. It is then in the pupils own hands whether to look this up, but the topic will be more familiar to them when it comes to learning it fully and formally at a later date.

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