Reflection on the usage of an ‘engaging’ teaching method

I just came back from my first class for today…and you know what? I re-lived and re-assured myself of the importance and power of engaging teaching methods. The portion today was on ‘expertise’ (cognitive psychology class)…but instead of lecturing and presenting (in less than 5 minutes) all the characteristics of an ‘expert’…we spend 1 hour and 20 minutes doing it…hehehe. This is what we did.

I asked each student to write down an area (knowledge or skill) he/she is expert in. Then, I asked them to describe (in at least 5 sentences) their expertise. Then, I asked them to find a pair and share their expertise (and whatever they have written about their expertise). After that, I asked both to put their ‘heads together’ and identify a characteristic of an expert … seen emerging from the commonality of whatever they have shared with each other.

Then, I ask each pair to share their answers (to the whole class). Each students talks about the other person’s (partner’s) expertise. This gave each one of them to feel proud about themselves today!!! I saw smiles…many blushed…and many others were laughing away…when their expertise was shared with the whole class. Isn’t this what we call teaching for emotional intelligence? Then, I asked the pairs to share the one characteristic of an expert. We identified 12 characteristics altogether…where did all these come from? from the textbook? NO…they all come from EACH AND EVERY STUDENT who came to learn…and they took responsibility for their learning. I felt so good…coz I saw engagement throughout the class period. We had fun…at some of our friends’ expertise :p 

Of course, I also presented them with points from the textbook…but doing what I did…I related to my students that THEY TOO CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE EXISTING BODY OF KNOWLEDGE…if only they are asked and encouraged to do so. They are smart…and that’s a fact!

E.g. students’ expertise that made us laugh:

1. expert in making soup – this student is seen everywhere picking up whatever leaves she can get to cook soup…hahaha (she’s a ‘karen’ person)

2. expert in sleeping and eating – can sleep wherever and whenever; can eat 7 meals a day and still feel hungry

3. expert in physical activities (a short/chubby girl) – I teased her and asked if it is aggressive activities she is talking about (wrestling?)…!!!

4. expert in arguing for arguing sake…even when the answer is obvious

5. expert in knowing (reading) people’s heart (this was actually funny and scary at the same time)

Well, you should have been in the class to have the laughter. We had a good laughter…the class so fun. And we learned together…and we came up with our own findings. Isn’t that meaningful knowledge? Yes indeed.

5 thoughts on “Reflection on the usage of an ‘engaging’ teaching method”

  1. How enthusiastic relections! Dr. Roy.
    I am really motivated and enjoyed reading this. I feel like i am really engaged and contributing meaningful ideas that are related and useful to our study. By socially and cognitively engaging in this kind of learing, it can help enhance our knowlege, ideas, communication skills by gaining and contributing, and even help promote our self-esteem too. We feel good and worthy about ourselves. We laughed, had fun, and shared our experiences to one another created a very meaningful and enjoyable atmosphere in the class.

  2. Yes, our Cognitive class is really interesting and friendly. hehehe, I am so happy you teach this class and I have so much fun for my last semester.
    Anyway, I just want to say that usually people like to say their good points. So so many students wrote their expertise some how. But do you remember when at the beginning at the class, you asked the stduents to write some things you are not good. Then I finger out no body wanted to say anything about their “bad” things. So a few people kept quiet. It’s a great comparation that people like to say good side of them. haha, I think we are truely human.

  3. Isn’t it wonderful to have a student like me in our classroom. I am 100% sure that the teachers of the future leaders will have unique student in their class. I am proud of myself that i can be an object that people can really face in their class one day. There is a saying; when we are in Rome we have to act like Roman. Is that the correct one? But no body know exactly who I am and what i am. I might not lucky enough if i don’t have the chance to be the joker or different learner in the class. Now i am very happy that i am the one who evry one can joke and laugh about. It is a privilage and nature to be that kind of student. I wish to graduate soon and try out all methods that i have learned (in this edu and psyc) so that i can write some books on my own research and sell it. Goody! But honestly, by the time when i graduate, i worry that technology will take my job and i will be unemployed or jobless.

  4. Very interesting reflection to read! Yes, I can still remember on that day all of us enjoyed our class and have fun a lot. Especially, you, Dr. Roy, I noticed that you laughed so much than other days. At first I found that it difficult for me to come up with one characteristic of an expert, but at least I did it! I’m so happy to be in this class and to learn and share my ideas with others. I agree that you mention we can constribute our knowledge by encouraging us. Not only teachers are teaching, they are also learning from their students, too. I’m glad to hear you said we are smart and that’s fact!

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