One of the challenges for teachers in any elective or Career and Technical Education (CTE) course is student engagement. How to keep them all engaged, all the time? Ned Sheerin discussed this in his post how are you keeping students engaged? The elective and CTE courses have a higher percentage of students who do not sit well in a quiet row taking notes delivered via lecture. The students will challenge teachers and it is all about hooking them without relying on lecture and powerpoints in the classroom. Kinesthetic lesson plans can help make the connection for the students before moving to the lab.
The Shift to Kinesthetic Lesson Plans
The educational community continues to write about experiences with hands-on learning and the benefits. You can read about kinesthetic learning in lesson plans for computer applications. Even though most teachers agreed how kinesthetic lesson plans can help with engagement in the classroom, many find it difficult to execute and implement. The far easier method is to stand at the front of the classroom, talk about the subject, show Power Point slides and assign the work for students to do in a textbook. Here are 3 reasons why teachers find it difficult to incorporate more kinesthetic lesson plans in their classroom.
- Developing kinesthetic lesson plans is time consuming – teaching and connecting with students each hour of every day is taxing. One of the last tasks a teacher wants at the end of the day is to sit down, scan their standards and then develop, test and implement a kinesthetic lesson.
- Kinesthetic lesson plans need constant refinement – In CTE courses, standards will change at a quicker pace than in any academic course. Therefore, any teacher -developed kinesthetic lesson needs to be periodically reviewed to make sure it is appropriate and updated. More time for a teacher! Most teachers are looking for ways to increase efficiency, not increase their burden.
- Running a hands-on classroom is difficult – Try splitting your class into 5 smaller groups. Then having each work on a different group project. It takes patience and experience to work out the kinks and manage multiple hands-on lessons simultaneously in a classroom. Most teachers were exposed to a very different classroom structure that relied on all kids doing the same thing in lock step.
Despite the work required in finding appropriate context-based hands-on lessons, like online learning, a gradual shift is underway. The classroom in elective and CTE courses, like lab work, must become a place where engagement and learning is happening on a daily basis with the wide range of diverse students.
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