Tuesday, March 08, 2011

CAT 6: Minute Paper

Two simple questions: “What was the most important thing you learned during this class? And What important question remains unanswered?” (Angelo and Cross, 1993, p. 148). The two questions that can let us know if we are “on track” teaching, or “off the beaten path.” Asking students what they have learned can help us improve our teaching. Hopefully they learn something that has been taught. It’s always insightful to read responses, and learn what they THINK they have learned.

The other questions asks students to identify what hasn’t been answered. We may have covered the content too quickly, or made too many assumptions, and thus, the student has an unanswered question.

But, what do we do with the results? It’s always easy to use the answers to the first question to validate our teaching, and never share the results. But, that’s where probing may be worthwhile. What made learning occur? Did we use great examples? Was our explanation thorough? Asking why students learned can help us continue to improve our teaching methods.

The second question is, for some, troublesome. Why didn’t they learn? How can they STILL have a question, after my riveting lecture or discussion? The answer to the second question may indicate places where we need to do MORE, or do things DIFFERENTLY. Did I explain things? Did I make the content relevant to their lives? Do I need to use multimedia to help students learn, or to help me teach?

Take the time to ask the questions. Read their answers. Use the answers to start the NEXT class period, and clear up any unanswered questions. Use the answers to shape or RESHAPE the next class period. It’s just two simple questions.

Angelo, T., & Cross, K. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...