It’s one matter to declare the essential need to talk less from the front of the room and another to provide ways to actually engage students. In Chapter 1, Mary Budd Rowe’s 10-2 is the perfect segue.

If we are to make this essential shift, we need tools. One of the best and most accessible is the principle of 10-2, which was developed over twenty-five years ago by Mary Budd Rowe. It is a natural pathway for using our talking skills to stimulate student interest and learning based on a simple principle: For every ten minutes we provide information, knowledge, or skills, we give students two minutes to process…

Implementing 10-2 Thinking, as I prefer to call it, is particularly important for those of us who lecture. This age-old format usually requires students to take notes throughout the period as we talk and occasionally respond to questions. But, when we commit to 10-2 Thinking, we reshape our lectures into segments and plan for the two-minute activities. At first, we and our students will find it challenging, but we will persist when we see the benefits for our students and us. Our classes will become more interesting.

The most significant value of 10-2 Thinking is that it allows us to concentrate on student learning. It also enables students to participate in a way that mirrors their interactive lives (albeit mostly through technology) outside of school. When we simply lecture, we do not know until the test (way too late!) whether or not we are causing learning. When we use 10-2 Thinking, on the other hand, each processing segment provides us (and students) immediate feedback about to what is understood. Any time we teach and students are “not there” we are wasting our time—and theirs. In the words of Dylan Wiliam:

If students left the classroom before teachers have made adjustments to their teaching on the basis of what they have learned about the students’ achievement, then they are already playing catch-up. If teachers do not make adjustments before students come back the next day, it is probably too late.

To learn specific ways to implement 10-2, purchase Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting Students to Learn (Stetson Press, 2010) and read “Chapter 1: Implement 10-2. It’s eye-opening! Purchase from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Middle-Room-Frank-Thoms/dp/0615358918

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