Why can’t learning be more spontaneous?

I have taught for more than 10 years in Republic Polytechnic. In my classroom, the final part of the lesson is typically a presentation by the students to showcase what they have learnt in the whole morning and noon. This final part of the lesson is called usually called the Third Meeting.

The Third Meeting used to be very boring with group by group presentation of the same problem statement, or the same topic. After some years I found that repeating the same topic did not quite make sense, so we evolved to team by team presentation of different questions. Things were slightly better that way, but some students were still resistant towards it.

Then we changed to doing Gallery Walk, meaning that each team was divided into ‘Walkers’ and ‘Talkers’. The talkers from each team were tasked to present some questions, and each team’s questions were different. There were three rounds of presentations, and during each round the walkers moved to a new team to learn from the talkers there.

Students prefer this way because they don’t have to go through the stress of presenting in the awkward silence in front of the whole class. There are more interactions too and the talkers are more willing to ask questions when they have doubts. It becomes ‘safer’ to make ‘boo-boo’ mistakes and learn from it.

Initially I was reluctant to continue with this method of presentation because I often can’t monitor all the five teams who are concurrently presenting different questions. Then I thought: if students are evidently engaging in learning activities,  does it matter that I cannot ‘supervise’ all of them? Should I stop some learning activities just because I can’t catch up with them? The answer is certainly that I should encourage learning activities.

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