Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

‘MTV generation learns through fun’

I’ve covered the idea of “mini-lessons” before, so hopefully this isn’t too off piste, but reading this piece from Times Higher Education, about the role of humor in teaching and how long students can be expected to concentrate for, struck me as being something that those delivering drug education need to think about as much as any other teacher.

“The old guy who stands there and just lectures to the class – these days are gone. Their [students] attention span is in the minutes now,” he said.

Mr Dever [winner of the Bill and Ginny McKeachie Award] said that studies as far back as the 1970s had shown attention spans of only 15 to 20 minutes at a time. But today’s bricks-and-mortar institutions now faced a threat from online courses that engaged students and avoided the problems of one-way lectures.

I doubt whether online learning is such a threat for school aged young people, but boredom and a failure to engage clearly is.

The findings from the Blueprint Delivery Report indicated to me that one of the key challenges for some practitioners was finding ways to introduce new ways of working without feeling that discipline in the classroom would be lost.  Here’s the relevent section:

A number of teachers observed that in their normal, day-to-day subject-based teaching they were used to a more didactic approach with predictable outcomes and found the emphasis on active and interactive learning and open-ended discussion very challenging.

“When you have been chucking acid on metals for donkey’s years you don’t have to worry too much about the next thing, you know there is going to be a whiff and a pop.”
(Teacher, Area B, School 12, Year 7)

“I have to say I didn’t feel very comfortable with discussion because that’s not something I do very often. I found it difficult not to preach…….I’m more used ‘This my way, this is the way we do it’.”

(Teacher, Area C, School 3, Year 8)

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Filed under: educational theory

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