Today, I tried an experiment in my Pure Math 30 class. I gave the students a photocopy of the notes for the day and asked them to read the notes, add to the notes, discuss the notes amongst their group. (I have my students sitting in groups of 4).
Essentially I was having my students learn the material on their own!!!! Man was this awesome!!! The lesson that normally took me 60 minutes to teach was transformed into a self-paced, personalized learning experience for each and every student. It was amazing!!! The students help each other and clarified their understanding by asking me specific questions while I wondered around the room.
After about 20 minutes every single student was working on their assignment for the day. They now had the opportunity to complete their assignment in class, ask each other for assistance and ask me if they were really stuck.
About half way through the class I asked the students how they liked what we were trying today. Here are some of the responses.
"I could learn like this everyday."
"I like this way better"
"I don't learn like this. I need to hear the explanations."
All in all I can't think of why I did not try this a long time ago. I guess fear had a little bit to do with it. Today I jumped in to the deep end of the pool and did not drown. In fact, because I took a risk my students are having a far better learning experience than I have ever provided to them before. I am really glad I took the risk today.