The Classroom Experiment

I am not sure if any of you have watch the video The Classroom Experiment. I recently watched it for the second time, it is a great video and I recommend it to everyone. Both Part One and Part Two are available on youtube. This is a 2 hour long documentary, but it is definitely worth watching it. Instead of watching a movie take time to watch this documentary. Professor Dylan William spends one term with a class and tries different strategies to improve academic achievement. We have been talking about 21st century learning in this class and I think this video fits nicely into this topic. Professor Dylan William shares many great strategies that have be proven to improve students achievement.

I found this video very informative and helpful, I would definitely like to try some of the strategies shown in the video in my own classroom.  The video shows about 5 different techniques that professor Dylan William decides to try to use in the classroom and how the students react.  I agree with most of the strategies that were portrayed in the video and I am excited to try them out with my students.

In the video professor Dylan said: “Hands-up is damaging.” I found this statement interesting I never realized how damaging hands-up can be.  It is such an old tradition that most teachers don’t even think twice about, they just do it because that is how it has always been done. Instead William suggests using popsicle sticks with students names on them instead of using Hands-Up. I think the popsicle sticks are a great way to add variety to the class and give all students an opportunity to answer questions.  My Core French Education professor has mentioned this strategy many times and I think it can be very effective in a second language classroom because the majority of students will be too shy to answer a question or speak in their second language.  The downside to this strategy is that the students who are used to answering all the time start to feel left out, therefore it would work best if the strategy was implemented right from day one.

The whiteboard strategy is great, students can write their responses on whiteboards and then show them to the teacher. With this strategy the whole class has the chance to answer. I have seen this strategy used in the 2 schools I worked at in France and it worked great.  The students loved when they got to take out their whiteboards and everyone always participated.  It is something different and it promotes total participation, which is a positive thing in the classroom.

I love the secret student strategy. Each day the teacher decides to watch a specific student’s behaviour without the student knowing, however, the students do know that there is a secret student. If the secret student behaves well in a class they get a point, if the class accumulates a certain number of points they get a reward. I don’t think the reward needs to be as extravagant, It can be something as simple as watching a movie one day. I think it is important to promote good behavior.

Each strategy can benefit the classroom in a different way and I believe if used properly and consistently they can be very beneficial for both the teacher and the students.  These strategies will work best if implemented right from the beginning, that way the students understand that this is how things work in that classroom.  If the strategies are implemented all of a sudden it definitely will take more patience from both the teacher and the students and it will take time for the students to get used to the new strategy. However if the teachers sticks with it, it will be beneficial in the end.

I encourage everyone to watch this video and see if you would want to try the strategies he suggests.


3 thoughts on “The Classroom Experiment

  1. I’ve long been a fan of William and his work. I can tell from your thoughtful posts that your’e really thinking deeply about what kind of teacher you’ll be. I’d strongly encourage you to read a short book called “The Book of Learning and Forgetting” by Frank Smith. You can probably read it in an evening but it’s a great book that challenges so many of our assumptions around schools but really simplifies what it means to learn.

    • Thanks for commenting. I definitely will look into reading that book. I looked and I can order it on amazon. It sounds like a good read, it must be if you are recommending it. Thanks!

  2. Pingback: ECMP355 – Social Learning Review | Expressimental

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