All About: Take A Stand
The twenty-first technique titled Take a Stand, involves students actively participating in the classroom based on their personal judgments on a particular question. This technique encourages teachers to push students to take a side or acquire a certain answer to a posed question. For example, a teacher might ask, “Who thinks that mammals only live on land? Raise your hand if you think the answer is yes. Clap your hands two times if you think the answer is no.” The fantastic factor associated with this technique is that it is perfect for any age. The intensity and difficulty of the technique can be determined by the teacher and modified with each increasing grade level. A high school biology teacher might ask, “Who believes that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution should be taught in all public schools? Stand up if you think this is a good idea. Display a “thumbs down” if you do not agree and think this theory should not be taught in a public school.” Essentially, after a while of using this technique, a comfortable and effective learning community will be implemented. Teachers using this technique should make it a place where errors are accepted and the challenge of disagreement is praised and celebrated. The book, Teach like a Champion, discusses an example of praising error that states, “Thank you for stomping; I appreciate that you took the risk of challenging us. Now let’s figure out why you didn’t agree.”
Why This Strategy Would Work
The idea of Take a Stand is effective in learners because it gives a variety of ways to learn and retain information. Because this strategy encourages intensive, deep thinking, it is more likely that these questions and answers will be stored in their long-term memory; not simply a blip of information or a quick question that otherwise would not stick. Further, this technique adheres to meaningful learning strategies such as elaboration. The kinesthetic approach of the strategy will hook the learners and will prepare them to hear more about the question asked and the answers they gave. Essentially, they will want to know if they succeeded by stomping for the answer they thought was correct. Once they give a specific answer, the teacher should address each side. Therefore, the teacher will have to elaborate on each answer and discuss each answer and theory to the question. After, each student will have a better understating to why the answer is what it is and be able to argue and identify with both answers.
As an elementary school teacher, there are many different ways I could implement this technique in my classroom. I have a concentration in natural sciences and one branch I love is botany. Here is an example I might ask a 3rd grade class that is just learning about plants. First, I would start off by giving them different colored cards, just like we did in my psychology 3010 lecture class. I might have a dark green and a light green color to coincide with the plant lesson. The first question I might ask would be, “If you think plants are actually alive hold up the light green card. If you think they are not alive, hold up the dark green card.” Next, I might ask, “If you think that all plants have flowers hold up a light green card. Those of you who think that all plants do not have to have flowers, hold up a dark green card.” After a series of questions, I would individually address each one. “Who held up a light green card? Now, who held up a dark green card? Kelly, I see you held up a dark green card. Why do you think that plants are not alive?” After Kelly gave her explanation I would praise and acknowledge her courage by saying, “Wow Kelly! That is a great theory you have about plants. Thanks for sharing your idea with us. Would someone with a light green card like to share their idea with us about how plants maybe are alive? After hearing both sides, I would explain that this is a very tricky question. Plants actually are alive, even though they don’t walk around and talk like humans and make sounds like animals. To further this discussion I would show them pictures of the living features of plants and how they make their own food, absorb their own water, and adapt to surroundings. This strategy would be a great introduction to any lesson.