Tough Problems: Difficult Students

 

EDP 398T

 

Doug Barrett

Christia Brown

Angela Griffin

AndreaWarner-Czyz


Our group covered the "tough topic" of difficult students, which includes a diverse population of students that pose a problem of some sort.  While many aspects of annoying students deserve attention, we focused on four archetypal cases to represent the behavioral spectrum of the so-called "difficult student." Specifically, our cases include the following:

1.  The hostile, aggressive, angry student

2.  The excuse-making student

3.  The silent, non-participating student

4.  The student who believes that current scientific knowledge is absolute truth.

 

Difficult Student #1: The Hostile Student

Case Study:  Bob shows up to class every day on time, and is apparently intelligent and well-versed in the scientific background of the class.  But during lecture, Bob attacks your position and point of view, and doesn't respect other students' opinions, dismissing them without due consideration.  He disagrees with your grading of tests and homework, saying that he deserves a better grade.  His criticisms towards you and the other students are personally directed and seemingly unconnected with the material you are covering.  Sometimes he mutters something non-verbal under his breath, and this disconcerts the surrounding students.

Solutions: The common thread running through the literature about disgruntled, unhappy, angry students is this: communication.  Most of the time, these students simply feel that they are not being heard, being listened to.  Giving them a forum, whether during class or in private during office hours, generally resolves whatever conflict is happening within the angry student.  The first instinct of the instructor might be to simply ignore them, and while this approach may avoid a public confrontation, it probably won't solve the underlying problem and allow the student to learn the material (McKeachie 1999).

            But communication, through the use of journals, minute papers, and other student writings can give you a clue as to the cause of the student's anger.  If the class doesn't lend itself to such writings, a direct conversation with the student may reveal something.  Listening carefully and respecting the student's opinion is crucial; giving him a voice and an opportunity to present his argument will bring everything into the open, and allow you respond calmly and rationally to his complaints (Downs 1999).

Angry and aggressive students can fall into many categories, including: a) students who violate rules, b) students who have given up, c) students who are manipulative or have a hidden agenda, d) students who don't communicate, e) students who are "at risk," or are being exposed to a dangerous environment, and f) students who push your buttons (Kotler, 1997).  And criticism from such a student can seem unwarranted and vicious, especially if it a) is uninvited, b) focuses on an aspect of the talk that seems irrelevant, c) is completely negative, d) has no suggestions for improvement, e) is shrill or sarcastic, and f) is accompanied by attributions such as personality flaws, like "lazy" or "stupid" (Raths, 1986).

But there are solutions.  Heslet (1977) proposes that the underlying problem is an inability to recognize different learning styles.  He makes a distinction between modes of "linear" and "organic" learning, which roughly correspond to a "passive" and "active" approach to classroom methods.  The linear method, preferred by most professors, is entirely directed by the instructor, and does little to motivate the student.  The organic method takes advantage of the students' natural curiosity, and puts more power in the hands of the student, giving him both freedom and a forum to express his opinions.

A more systematic approach is taken by Downs (1992), who proposes several "steps towards harmony" for dealing with angry and oppositional students.  The first step acknowledges the fact that some conflicts can arise from the instructor - if the professor is incorrect or unclear or unjust, and then steps must be taken to rectify the problem.  Communication in a private setting is the next logical option, as described above:  calm, rational discussion is crucial.  Finding a common ground is another good idea - by relating to the student you provide attention to a student who is starved for it, and you also model a professional, courteous attitude for the student to adopt. You can also try a cooperative group activity that encourages social skills, and by laying down guidelines for social interaction you can encourage a respect for other peoples' beliefs.  If your student is particularly argumentative, you must try to remain impartial, not taking attacks personally or becoming defensive.  Talking with your fellow teachers and colleagues can help you brainstorm a solution to the conflict.  If the class material is appropriate, you can include problem-solving and conflict-resolution activities into your lectures and discussions.  As a last resort, Downs recommends a direct confrontation with the student, giving both instructor and student a chance to voice their concerns.  Again, self-control, mutual respect, and diplomacy are crucial.

                    McKeachie (1999) offers some more alternatives.  In particular, if the issue in contention is controversial and worthy of class discussion, presenting the issue to the class can lead to a broader perspective for all involved.  Listing the pros and cons without value judgments on the chalkboard can bring out the underlying issues.  And if you think there is a chance that the angry student is in fact correct, you can table the issue that day, then report on it again in the next class.  

            Of course, preventative measures are preferable to reactive, after-the-fact solutions.  Aside from the obvious advice of maintaining an atmosphere of respect for everyone's opinions from the very start, there's not much advice for preventing hostile students from expressing themselves.  In terms of disputing tests, the best method seems to be requiring a written explanation of why the student's answer is superior to the "right" answer.  This technique eliminates the half-hearted grade-grubbers while giving the truly motivated, intelligent, and sometimes belligerent students an opportunity to explore the question in depth.  Multiple choice questions should be given with the direction of "Choose the BEST answer" to avoid situations where a question could be answered differently under rare (or impossible) circumstances.  Asking another faculty member can give you an impartial judgment to help you decide.

 

Difficult Student #2: The Excuse-Making Student

Case Study:  Janet is a senior Psychology major who needs to complete only 9 more hours until she can graduate.  She is a relatively good student, often making B’s in her courses.  She almost always comes to your class and seems to be attentive.  She will occasionally enter into the discussion, and seems to grasp the concepts. Janet, however, is often late turning in assignments.  She will frequently e-mail you with a reason why her assignment was late.  They are often very detailed excuses, including much personal information.  For example, when Janet turned in her Reaction Paper a day late, she e-mailed you to say that her roommate’s cat had died, and she needed to help her roommate take the body to the vet.  She asked that her paper be accepted and not counted as late, because she couldn’t have foreseen this tragedy.   

If this had been the first excuse, it might be easier to believe.  Unfortunately, Janet has had bad luck all semester.  She had also emailed you the day of the test to ask if she could take the test a day late.  Her mother was having surgery in Dallas and she needed to be there.  Individually, these excuses seem valid, but as a whole, they become hard-to-believe.  What should you, as the instructor, say to Janet regarding her requests to accept her late papers and tests?  What can you do at the beginning of the semester to prevent these situations?

Solutions: There are several issues to consider when dealing with the student who makes excuses.  First, the key reason why students make excuses is because they are not able to meet the deadline for either a test or an assignment.  Most often, the student did not prepare well enough ahead of time to meet the deadline or the task was more difficult than they predicted.  Although these students are the minority in the classroom, instructors can spend a substantial amount of time wading through the emails, voice mails, and office visits of a few students’ requests for extensions and acceptances.  Sometimes, students experience a crisis that requires them to miss a deadline.  As mentioned in McKeachie (1999), it is better to accept an untrue excuse than reject a legitimate one and be seen as unfair.  It is also important to be flexible (Downs-Lombardi, 1996). If the goals of the course are being met, flexibility can help students deal with juggling class assignments and emergencies. 

However, an instructor does not want to be known as gullible.  McKeachie (1999) suggests that you state in your syllabus that you will require evidence supporting extensions.  This will mean, however, that the instructor will have to follow through and require the evidence.  That may sometimes seem heavy-handed to milder instructors.  It may also mean keeping track of which students require which documentation.  

Most of the literature agrees that the best solution for dealing with students with excuses is to build in safeguards ahead of time, via the syllabus.  For excuses related to late papers, McKeachie (1999) suggests one possibility is to build in a series of graded penalties, based on how late a paper is (e.g., 5 points will be deducted for each day the paper is late).  Alternatively, one could offer bonus points for turning in a paper on time.  Therefore, all papers are accepted, but because it would be unfair to those who did not have extra time, there is a penalty.  The student’s “need” for excuses is reduced because the paper will still be accepted. 

Another solution for student excuses is to require students to turn in earlier stages of the assignment (McKeachie, 1999).  This helps the student who makes excuses because he or she is not prepared well enough ahead of time.  By requiring a reference section, outline, or early draft a week or two before the final paper, students are forced to plan ahead.     

For excuses related to missed tests, there are many options for how such policies can be described in the syllabus.  In an interview on difficult students, Dr. Ann Repp said that her policy was to give tests late only if she had been notified beforehand.  Otherwise, the student would get a zero for the test.  Her experience has shown that students who take the test late do not do better than those who take it on time.  Others (Dr. Rebecca Bigler, interview; Whitford, 1992) offer an essay only make-up exam to those students who notify them beforehand.  Because students consider the test difficult, only those that must tend to miss exams.  However, test scores confirm that both original tests and essay make-up exams are comparably difficult.    

Another option for dealing with students who must miss a test is to offer an optional, cumulative final.  All students who miss a regular test, regardless of the reason, must take the final (the final is also an option for those students just wanting to improve their grades).  This option reduces students’ excuses because they are irrelevant– a missed test is a missed test.  In other words, regardless of the reason, missing a test requires a student to take the final. 

By preparing a thorough syllabus ahead of time, you, as an instructor, will have a set answer for all of Janet’s excuses.  For late papers, it may be, “regardless of the reason, all papers will lose 5 points for each day they are late.”  For missed tests, it may be, “regardless of the reason, anyone missing a test will need to take the final.” Therefore, although Janet’s emails will still annoy you, your fairness as an instructor will be assured. 

 

Difficult Student #3: The Silent Student

            Case Study: Nina consistently arrives 15 minutes early for class and has never missed class.  She is a major and although she isn’t one of the best students in class, she does well on all of her assignments and has the potential for getting a B, and maybe an A by the end of the semester.  Nina completed a thoughtful and well-written research paper that conveyed a clear passion for her chosen topic and included a note at the end of the last page stating that she really enjoyed the assignment.  Nina appears to be interested and alert during class and demonstrates sufficient knowledge of the course content in her assignments.  However, she hasn’t spoken a word since she introduced herself on the first day of class.  She surely has something to add to class discussions and lectures, but only listens attentively and takes notes occasionally.  What might be keeping Nina from speaking in class?  If you were Nina’s teacher, how would you encourage Nina to speak in class and become an active participant?  What methods can be used to get students to share their thoughts and ideas with the class?

            Solutions: When students sit silent in class, a number of different factors could be to blame: boredom and fatigue, frustration with the course, lack of knowledge, a general expectation for and pattern of passivity in classes, cultural norms, and most often, fear of criticism and embarrassment (McKeachie, p. 54).  Regardless of the cause of such silence, the primary difficulty in each of these cases is a lack of free communication. 

            The specific content and level of difficulty in a course, the composition of students in the classroom itself, and personal characteristics and techniques of the instructor may all affect the occurrence and severity of the problem of silent students, yet every teacher encounters this type of student at some point. 

            The majority of suggestions provided in the literature emphasize a proactive approach designed to create a comfortable and stimulating environment from the first day of class that works to encourage active participation    Required participation may encourage students to feel more committed to a class, if the requirements are reasonable and relevant to the course (Lacoss & Chylack, 1998). For teachers who choose to encourage class participation by grading student participation, it is important to make sure that students understand why participation is important to a course and how it can help them.  Providing students with a written rationale, detailed expectations, explicit grading criteria, and a feedback form about their current participation grade along with ways that they could improve participation are all important to making required participation effective (Maznevski, 1996; Barnett, 1996). 

            Many of the most common suggestions for creating a classroom environment in which free communication and active participation exists are aimed at making students feel comfortable and safe in the classroom and help to make active participation easier.  Learning student’s names and allowing students to get to know one another can reduce student anxiety about being embarrassed or criticized when they participate.  Active learning and small group exercises like the clustering technique (Ventis, 1990), Jigsaw, and Fish Bowl may be effective in helping silent students to take part in class discussion.  Silent students may also find other avenues for participation (e.g., email or chat room discussion) a good way to be an active participant even if they do not speak during class. 

            Another means of encouraging participation is to allow students to consider a provocative question or personal experience, to write down their thoughts, discuss their ideas or responses in pairs or small groups, and then move to a general class discussion.  This allows students time to consider questions and issues relevant to discussion, organize their thoughts and ideas, and then share their own ideas based on their writing or those of their group (think-pair-share technique in Kagan, 1994) thus reducing anxiety over criticism directed at their own personal ideas or thoughts.  Having student complete a minute paper at the end of class or providing them with a thought question for the upcoming class period can help students to prepare and organize their thoughts for class discussion also. 

            Student may also be more apt to participate if the teacher asks questions that do not have a single answer, or asks students to think of personal examples or relevant experiences that they can share.  Asking students to raise their hands to survey class opinion is also easier than getting students to speak.  Furthermore, when students ask questions in class, it can be helpful for the teacher to turn to the other students in the class for input, as opposed to answering the question themselves.  Personal interaction with students and interaction between students in a class can be a tremendous help in making student feel “known” and thus more comfortable in participating. 

            By getting to know students and their personal interests and areas of expertise, teachers may call on students to participate in class discussions by adding personal knowledge in one of these areas.  Adding to discussion with personal expertise avoids the anxiety of participation in discussion of an area that is new or unfamiliar to students who are wary of speaking in class.  Emphasizing the value of active learning and participation, particularly the value of learning from other students, can also help with the problem on non-participating students.  McKeachie also suggests the following approaches to silent students:  smiling to encourage participation, calling students by name, seating students in a circle, requesting student autobiographies to get to know them, problem posting, buzz groups, and student presentations prepared in consultation with the instructor. 

A final approach that may be useful, particularly when 1 or 2 students are silent, yet the majority of the class engages in active participation is to speak to the student(s) directly.  Communicating to a student that their input is valuable to you and the rest of the class may also encourage a silent student to participate.  Beril Ulku-Steiner at UNC-CH reports that she occasionally uses the following line with persistently, silent students with great success: “Nina, I enjoy having you in class, but I feel as if you are one of my/our untapped resources.  Anything that you might have to share with the class during lectures or discussion is important to the class learning experience so if you ever feel like you can do that I would really appreciate it.”

            In sum, research and suggestions from teachers themselves suggest that creating a safe and comfortable classroom environment with expected active participation can come from:

·        cooperative and active learning activities

·        giving students a chance to speak in class, to one another, and via email/classroom sites

·        learning student’s names and helping them get to know one another

·        getting to know students and their interests through direct communication

·        speaking with students about their participation and its value

·        making discussion topics relevant

·        grading participation and providing students with feedback for improvement

 

Difficult Student #4: The Dualist Student 

Case Study: George seems very attentive in class. He writes diligent notes, recording your lecture by day and transcribing the tape by night. He appears to grasp the ability to recognize and recall information on exams and projects. However, he cannot apply his basic knowledge toward critical thinking required in open-ended answers and short papers. He has mentioned to you during office hours that he cannot discern which view represents the correct answer, and is afraid to insert his own perspective into essays, even with proper evidence, for fear that his viewpoint will be marked wrong.

Solutions: In his provision of a framework for understanding student cognition identification, Perry (1981) identified four main stages of intellectual development: dualism, multiplicity, contextual relativism, and commitment within relativism. For a detailed description of the Perry Scheme of Intellectual Reasoning and the attitude toward learning, perception of instructor, and valued critical thinking at each stage, please see Appendix 1. Understanding the cognitive stages of students allows instructors to tailor their teaching style to encourage higher-level thinking.

Typically, incoming college freshmen (like George) have a dualistic understanding of knowledge. They view the professor as the central figure, the authority with the knowledge or “truth”, and the student as the passive recipient of that knowledge (Keeley, Shemberg, Cowell & Zinnbauer, 1995; King, 1994; Kloss, 1994; McKeachie, 1999). That is, the students may center their role in a university setting on rote memorization to reproduce information on an exam. For instance, George possesses a dualistic view of learning, evidenced in his quest for the “right” answer and his inability to recognize the presence of equally valid yet opposite theoretical perspectives. In general, students may resist learning to think critically due to lack of motivation to change, requirement of individual responsibility and self-direction, and lack of self-confidence (Keeley et al., 1995). Therefore, instructors must acknowledge the discrepancy between their own needs and desires and those of their students. By recognizing the intellectual perceptions of students, instructors can develop techniques to achieve a win-win situation in the classroom.

Appreciation of Perry’s notion of student learning should convince faculty to pay attention to not only the course content, but also the classroom situation and course organization (Keeley et al., 1995). To achieve a positive learning environment, instructors should rethink the quest for knowledge from the perspective of less complex learners, with the intent to provide students with “opportunities to discover and refine their own powers” (Moore, 1994). To guide critical thinking, particularly in the case of the dualistic thinker, create a safe learning environment in which risk is appreciated and encouraged. Also, promoting active learning and group participation also encourages individual thought that should lead to higher-level thinking.

Create a better learning environment. A classroom environment conducive to potentially controversial discussion depends upon the sense of safety and trust, where risk-taking is encouraged, not punished. Students must feel secure to question, to constructively criticize, and to disagree in order to appreciate multiple points of view and accept them as legitimate (Keeley et al, 1995; Kloss, 1994). Instructors need to set up “rules of engagement” for sensitive topics and provide concrete examples to allow multiple opportunities to practice complex thinking (Kloss, 1994; McKeachie, 1994). King (1994) suggests that faculty require students to explain concretely the reasons for any point that they reject; respond to overgeneralizations, absolute statements, and blanket appeals to authority with questions about instances in which the “authority” might be challenged; and strengthen the legitimacy of personal views and experiences. Rules such as these encourage individual responsibility and self-direction in classroom discussions while downplaying the lack of self-confidence of dualistic students.

Encourage developmental instruction. Structuring the classroom environment may encourage participation, but developmental instruction may help students to transition to the next level of intellectual reasoning. This method promotes diversity of books, instructors, and points of view; active learning through case studies, role playing, and interview projects; and personal meaning via divulgence of perspectives and constructive feedback (Kloss, 1994; Moore, 1994).

Instructors should be aware of the evolving roles of teacher and student throughout the Perry Scheme of Intellectual Reasoning. King (1994) warns that instructors should be conscious of the extent to which they rely solely on lecture, since this reinforces the notion of instructor as authority. Rather than encourage the dichotomy between faculty and student, instructors should facilitate student interaction with the material and with other students. Faculty should teach students to bootstrap their knowledge by constructing new information in terms of prior knowledge and experience, which furthers memory and application. For effective application of active learning principles, students must use their own words and experiences, not rote memorization of the text or lecture (King, 1994; McKeachie, 1994).

Incorporate lecture-based learning activities. The lecture-based learning activities listed below are elaborated upon in Appendix 3.


Think-pair-share

Generating examples

Developing scenarios

Concept mapping

Flowcharting

Predicting

Developing rebuttals

Constructing tables/graphs

Analogical thinking

Problem posting

Developing critiques

Pair summarizing/ checking


            Utilize small group activities. Small group work often promotes the exchange and importance of multiple perspectives, in addition to allowing collaboration with peers in shared construction of meaning (King, 1994; Kloss, 1994). Types of small group learning include guided reciprocal peer questioning and constructive controversy.

In guided reciprocal peer questioning, groups of three or four students use a set of generic questions (e.g., What is the main idea of…? How does this relate to what I have learned before?) to generate their own specific questions. This activity forces them to identify relevant ideas, elaborate on them, and form connections with their prior knowledge. King (1994) reports that students who are taught to ask and answer thoughtful questions perform better on subsequent tests of lecture comprehension than do students who use other comprehension strategies such as unguided group discussion or independent review. Thus, the small group technique might help our fictitious George.  While guided reciprocal peer questioning provides a means to encourage thoughtful relationships within the discipline, constructive controversy may provide a better avenue for controversial issues. In this technique, pairs of students discuss opposing view of a topic, and then switch sides to argue the opposite side. This activity employs collaborative learning and meaning by emphasizing the importance of criteria and evidence to gain validity in a debate (Gallagher, 1998; King, 1994).

Integrate personal reflective activities. Faculty can advance student development of epistemological beliefs through debate and discussion in which competing ideas are challenged and defended. Small group activities can promote such learning, but some students may also benefit from journal writing and term papers that are both instructor-reviewed and peer-edited (Moore, 1994).

In sum, students in the dualistic stage of intellectual development, such as George, may reject peer viewpoints as a source of knowledge in their quest to find “the truth” due to the confusion differing paradigms may cause. However, exposure to multiple interpretations and diverse opinions should decrease the student’s faith in the “right answers” in lieu of a view in which various perspectives and uncertainty co-exist (Kloss, 1994).

 

Conclusion:

The four cases demonstrate the wide range of difficult student types. However, the approaches to defusing these problem students seemingly center communication and organization.  Open interaction between student and instructor through formal and informal feedback allows for a dynamic classroom environment that is beneficial to most individuals involved. Keeping in touch with your students is crucial, on several levels: you look for nods of understanding or grimaces of despair, and you listen to the students when they voice their concerns after class or in office hours.  Showing that you respect the students and their varied points of view is just enough to resolve most conflicts before they occur.  In addition to communication, organization and preparation can help to avoid problematic issues before they begin. Focusing on the syllabus and establishing "rules of engagement" at the beginning of the course sets the standards in the classroom. The combination of an open dialogue and a clear organization can provide the basis for a structured yet changeable classroom that can meet the needs of both instructor and student.

Each of us has been this kind of student before, frustrated, silent, manipulative, brilliant, totally secure in our previous knowledge…  It's just a matter of expanding our perspectives to include all of these mindsets, remembering what we used to be, how we overcame our innocence and our flaws, and helping our students reach the same place.

 


APPENDIX 1: Perry Scheme of Intellectual Reasoning

 

 

Attitude toward learning

Perception of teacher

Valued critical thinking

Dualism

Valid questions have certain answers

Unquestioned view of truth as right or wrong

Different views are not acknowledged, or if acknowledged are considered wrong.

Authority with the right answer

Instructor’s purpose is to transmit knowledge to the student

Grades awarded on the basis of quantity of information retained

Strategies to remember the right and tools to find the right answers

Solving puzzles

Multiplicity

Some questions are not answered, and that perspectives and uncertainty co-exist

Inability to discriminate between better and worse ideas based on argument validity

Learning becomes a focus on process and methodology.

Either knows the answer or provides current opinion

Grades awarded by “good expression” or are arbitrary

Skills of dualism to continue to find right answers

Hypotheses building for unanswered questions

Speculating about problems

Contextual relativism

 

Information changes and can be interpreted using the tools of the discipline

Opinions require support (criteria, evidence) to gain validity

The dualistic view of right/wrong is the exception rather than the rule.

Models of “open” acceptance of change rather than rigid orthodoxy

Authoritative, not authoritarian

Grades assess appropriate support for theoretical stance

Argumentation: the comparison of theories

Explicitly working with criteria that support theories

Logical consistency

Agreement with data

Verifiable causes that explain and predict

Advanced comparisons

Disciplinary ill-structured problems

Dialectic, or commitment with relativism

Learning is the growth of a personal commitment unraveling complexity

Approach problems using diverse frameworks to select the paradigm that best fits the present situation

Complex resolutions are better than simple answers

Instructors are mentors and companions in the search for potential paradigms

Model and help the personal search for values associated with preferred paradigms and defensible positions

Values in the disciplines

Hypothesis acceptance

Flexible paradigm comparison

Question formulation

Integrated solutions to ill-structured problems

 

*Adapted from: Gallagher, S.A. (1998). The road to critical thinking: The Perry scheme and meaningful differentiation. NASSP Bulletin, 82(595), 12-20.
APPENDIX 2: Strategies to Support Student Development on the Perry Scheme

 

Transition from dualism to multiplicity

Transition from multiplicity to contextual relativism

Transition from contextual relativism to dialectic

Present conflicting points of view

Acknowledge that conflicting points of vie can be legitimate

Require students to give explicit, concrete reasons to reject alternative points of view

Ask for conditions that might cause students to change their minds

Introduce non-absolute criteria for judging alternative options

Introduce disciplinary criteria for judging positions

Require rules of evidence

Engage in theory comparison and selection

Involve comparison of disciplinary paradigms in a single problem or situation

Introduce the concept that all disciplines are value-based

Provide models of flexible use of paradigms across disciplines

Study writings of innovators and scholars; discuss commitment to meaning-making in life and work.

 

*SOURCE: Gallagher, S.A. (1998). The road to critical thinking: The Perry scheme and meaningful differentiation. NASSP Bulletin, 82(595), 12-20.

 

 

APPENDIX 3: Learning Activities to Incorporate into a Lecture

 

Student activity

Explanation or example

Think-pair-share

Students individually think for a moment about a question posed on the lecture, then pair up with a classmate beside them to share/discuss their thoughts.

Generating examples

Students individually (or in pairs) think up a new example of a concept presented

Developing scenarios

Students work in pairs to develop a specific scenario of how and where a particular concept or principle could be applied.

Concept mapping

Students draw a concept map (a graphic representation such as a web) depicting the relationships among aspects of a concept or principle.

Flow charting

Students sketch a flowchart showing how a procedure or process works.

Predicting

Given certain principles or concepts, students write down their own predictions about what might happen in a specific situation.

Developing rebuttals

Students individually develop rebuttals for arguments presented in the lecture and then pair up with another student to argue for and against.

Constructing tables/graphs

Students develop a table or draw a graph representing information presented.

Analogical thinking

Students propose a metaphor or analogy for a principle or procedure.

Problem posing

Individual students make up a real-world problem regarding a particular concept or principle, then exchange problems with a classmate for solving.

Developing critiques

Students develop a critique of a common practice.

Pair summarizing/checking

Students work in pairs – one summarizes what has been presented and the other listens and checks for errors, correcting errors when noted.

 

*SOURCE: King, A. (1994). From Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side. College Teaching, 41(1), 30-35.


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