It takes work to enjoy the show

I have seen some incredible teaching presentations at all levels over my career. Whether it was through the use of technology, or the performance ability of the presenter, or a combination of many factors, these lessons grabbed the attention and the imagination of the class or lecture.

Unfortunately, as good as they were, these events left many of the recipients no better informed than they found them.

A significant percentage of the students sat watching the lesson and “enjoying the show” without a clear idea of how to process the core material that was coming their way with respect to its topic, subtopics, and corresponding groups of notes. In fact they were probably extremely frustrated and judged themselves harshly because of their subsequent inability to clearly represent to themselves the gist of the presented material given the strength of the presentation.

I continue to be astounded by the number of people who sit through a class lesson or read and take notes on a chapter without actually processing the material in such a way that they can discuss it in a controlled and competent manner.

So many teachers put so much time into their presentations without putting the same amount of time into teaching their students how to receive the material they are trying to present. And it’s not that they don’t want to but they don’t know how to.

I got the idea for the LIRN method after I read the following line to a student with an above average IQ but a below average academic performance: The mother wolf spider loves her cocoon. And then I asked the question: how does the mother wolf spider feel about her cocoon?

The student stared at me helplessly. I was to discover that I had this same experience with these type of informative type recall questions with students of all ages on material corresponding to their grade level.

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