Don’t Tell Me; Show Me!
At the beginning of a math lesson this afternoon, I had a student start complaining when I told the group that we were going to review the math lesson they had done last Thursday. I wanted to review for two reasons:
1. I was not there for two days, and I wanted to know what they had learned, and
2. The substitute had left a note suggesting that I review the lesson.
This particular’s student response to my stated intention to review the lesson was that she had already turned in the work to demonstrate mastery of the topic (although not with those exact words). I pointed out that I had not seen her do the work; I had only seen a pile of papers with her name on it and someone’s work done on it.
She grudgingly began to do the work, but she didn’t want to show any of her work. I found myself repeating something I have said many times this year: I don’t care about just the answers; I want to know how my students are getting those answers. Then I decided to shorten the mantra to just five words:
Don’t tell me; show me!
Of course, this immediately brought to mind a wonderful song from a wonderful musical:
I mentioned this song, but none of my student’s knew of it, which made me sad. Nevertheless, the mantra is a true one, which is why I think I’m going to make a poster of it for the room.