Guiding Question: With so much pressure on IB teachers to deliver content knowledge to students, how can IB teachers design and facilitate more student-centered learning experiences?
Guest: David Riehl of Washington International School Here are a few of the strategies that David sent as follow up to support what was shared in the podcast.Some strategies that I try to employ in order to process and internalise content include:
- The use and development of historical models eg. when teaching “The Origin and Development of Authoritarian States/ Wars" - these allow for the "layering of content" into a very visual/spatial construct while addressing bigger picture questions like "Are there discernible patterns in History?". ie, Chunking of information.
- The use of manipulatives eg. When the order of events is key to understanding, type out the events in order. Have the students cut them into strips (fun!!) and then place them back in correct order. These can be kept in envelopes and reused for review. Just now as we are looking at the post-Lenin power struggle. I created Bolshevik cards where the students collect biographical information on the back side and positions vis a vis NEP for example. As we read a text or watch a movie the students should move the cards around to suit. Good for checks for understanding etc. Again useful for review.
- A primary source on a large poster size paper where a pair group must discuss material. Skills - agree on a message/meaning, value/limitations using the OPVL skills taught in the IB program. Ask key questions - What happened before this source was produced?, What happened after? What can we determine from the source/what questions remain? Display of this work where possible illustrates/builds a thinking culture aesthetic and not just one of information.
- Nothing beats a field trip or a guest speaker. I have been fortunate in my previous schools abroad to be near to centres of key events. Right now I live in one. Whatever the barriers/obstacles/demands on our time, I have found the investments worth it and trips memorable.