The Plastic Brain

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Rewriting the didactic contract

More brilliant advice on changing the culture of the Mathematics classroom from Dan Meyer.

They may even resist you. They signed their “didactic contract” years and years ago. They signed it. Their math teachers signed it. The agreement says that the teacher comes into class, tells them what they’re going to learn, and shows them three examples of it. In return, the students take what their teacher showed them and reproduce it twenty times before leaving class. Then they go home with an assignment to reproduce it twenty more times.

Then here you come, Ms. I-Just-Got-Back-From-A-Workshop, and you want to change the agreement? Yeah, you’ll hear from their attorney.

I love this concept of a “didactic contract”. We need be aware of what has been metaphorically signed, especially if we are attempting to rewrite.

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Teachers Visual Guide to Backchanneling in The Classroom [reblog]

Backchanneling is an important skill in the 21st century education. By definition, backchanneling is interacting with the primary activity through participating in a secondary activity. For instance, you might be watching a documentary and in the same time sharing information nuggets about it with your friends on Twitter, or, you might be exchanging short messages with colleagues attending the same lecture…etc.”


Teachers Visual Guide to Backchanneling in The Classroom ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

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“Practical work to develop students’ scientific knowledge is likely to be most effective when:

the learning objectives are clear, and relatively few in number for any given task;
the task design highlights the main objectives and keeps ‘noise’ to the minimum;
a strategy is used to stimulate the students’ thinking beforehand, so that the practical task is answering a question the student is already thinking about.”