A Teacher Revisits His Sins

OK…as I said in the last post, bookwork isn’t teaching. But I did it anyway…

I assigned my Media Concepts class to read Chapter one of their book and they were to do the definitions in the front of the chapter and the review questions at the back of the chapter. So…how’d it go?

Chapter One: Old School Style

I gave the assignment to the general delight of section one and to the absolute horror of section two. The general consensus of the morning session was that we were officially starting the year. They were very comfortable with the book and the idea of writing out definitions. The review questions kind of threw them off but they completed them without any worry. The chapter quiz? The failure rate was 100%

The afternoon section did not agree with the morning session. The second I said, “Grab a textbook…” a collective moan was let out by the crowd. I basically had to beg them to just trust me this one time. So they grabbed the book and started on the definitions and review questions. The quiz failure rate was 100%.

Why 100%

The only thing that I can come up with was that the information covered in chapter one of this book was brand new information. It wasn’t review and it was never covered in any class the students have ever had. It was essentially about the business end of the television production industry. Brand new information delivered from a book and followed up with a quiz is a recipe for failure.

Multi-Media Version of Chapter One

OK…I simply delivered the same information with a PowerPoint (Apple Keynote actually) and stopped between topics for Q & A and feedback. All the definitions were on the slides but kind of worked into the topic. Not just “DEFINE CCTV.” The review questions were also all answered during the presentation.

Students were given clarification when needed, real-world examples were given and “Think Time” was provided in order to answer questions. “Think Time” is when I give them a question and nobody is allowed to answer until everyone has time to formulate an answer. Most of the kids can get the answer, some just take a little longer to put the right words together.

Results? Failure rate on the quiz dropped to 15-20%. Not bad for new and abstract ideas and way better than 100%. So I have redeemed my sins by following up the correct way and learned some cool stuff too.


I polled my afternoon block and got some answers.

How many read the Chapter and THEN answered the questions.  0/24

How many got the definitions from the chapter?                          1/24

How many went straight to the glossary?                                    23/24

How many could answer the Review questions?                            0/24

How many read the question and skimmed for keywords?            7/24

How many asked a neighbor for help?                                           1/24

How many never bothered with the questions?                            16/24

Nothing scientific here…just some casual observations. Feel free to comment.


About ex8404

I used to do the news but Journalism is dead. Now I teach. And teaching is dead. For the right amount of money, I will come and kill your career field as well. View all posts by ex8404

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