Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaching Less is More!

If your primary job is to teach, then this post is for you.

Consider this reality--almost all teachers try to teach to much material. Most students, at any level, particularly adult learners simply can not handle everything you "throw at them."

And, if you're just throwing it out there hoping "some of it will stick" then I ask you to reconsider this approach.

You may be thinking, "What's the answer?" Here are three, , ,

First--strategically teach less. I'm sure you could employ the "chunking" principle. Back in 1956, George Miller introduced the "Magic Number Seven, , , seven, plus or minus two" rule, stating that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2 chunks.

Forget the 7 + 2 = 9, , , that's for geniuses. Regular people will deal successfully with less items. Say a list of five or even three ideas.

When you spend one hour covering only five (or three) points, people are far more likely to remember them than the contents of a fifty slide PowerPoint presentation.

Then, what do you do if you can only pare your message down to, say, 15 items. You may be in trouble, , , unless, , ,

Second--use a mnemonic device. These are memory helpers that help your learners connect what you are teaching (all 15 items) to what they already know. They are tricks like abbreviations, songs, poetry or, my favorite, the Memory Path.

This will take some time, and work. But it's well worth the investment.

Third--get visual. If you can break your message down to seven, five or three elements, and then re-structure these ideas into a Theme Model, then you are on your way.

The use of a five or seven element model will insure the "stickability" of your lesson. And that's exactly what you are learning here at MethodMap.blogspot.com.


P.S. In a few days I will have posted my visual aid for Brian Tracy's Crisis Management Plan that he covers in his book, Time Power: A Proven System for Getting More Done in Less Time Than You Ever Thought Possible. See how I have reduced six items into five, and make it all much more understandable.

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