Be Shifty, Thrifty, and Nifty

I teach three hour (180 minutes) and four hour (240 minutes) classes in ethics and thinking critically and creatively;  my goal is to shift focus ( to a different dimension of the learning plan for the day )  every 20 to 30 minutes lest my students’ attention span of 10 minutes falls into a state of boredom and the walking dead.For example, in my thinking critically and creatively class of 3 hours, I have 10/20-25 minute shifts to help sustain the students’ attention, interest, and to enhance their understanding:

1. 20 minutes – Overview – Set the Tone – Introduction

2. 20 minutes – Brain teasers which involves participation of the whole class

3. 20 minutes – Trends and issues – articles, Youtube, ted.com

4. 10 minute break

5. 20 minutes – DVD – “Everyday creativity”

6. 25 minutes – Group discussions using worksheets whose exercises are relative to the chapter in the book

7. 20 minutes – individual presentations of their creativity projects

8. 10 minute break

9. 20 minutes – group discussions on arguments and how to discern hidden meanings in arguments

10.  15 minutes – Review of the class and a preview of the forthcoming class

Here are a few comments from former students: “I really enjoyed your class. I also like the way you broke it up in 20 minute segments; I enjoyed this class; most four hour classes I would be falling asleep in the back, but you had my attention almost all of the time; I also found myself laughing and smiling a lot during class.  Time seemed to fly by.”

Roger J. Vanden Busch

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