「口を開けないで教え方」の考え ・ Thoughts on "Teaching With Your Mouth Shut"











I've finished reading Teaching With Your Mouth Shut and thought that I should write my thoughts the authors ideas.

Donald Finkel's thesis is that the normal method of teaching, lectures, has several flaws. Lectures put the focus on the teacher's teaching, not on the students learning, and create a dependency on students for teachers. Finkel argues that true learning comes not from Telling, but from Inquiry as individuals and in groups. The goal is for students to understand that they don't need to wait for the teacher to teach, they can learn by themselves. They don't need a master to learn from, they can develop the capacity to learn independent of anybody else. It is the teacher's job to awaken that understanding in the students.

Instead of trying to explain the different concepts and methods Finkel writes about, let me give an example of a class that utilizes his methods.

Let's say there is an English class for Japanese high school students that meets five days a week. In that class, the teacher assigns a book for everybody to read together, one chapter a week. On the first day, the teacher sits at a round table with all the students and gives a lecture about the first chapter. However, before giving the lecture, he hands out copies of the lecture to the class and then reads from the paper himself.

On days two and three, the teacher tells the students to read the book and talk about it together, but doesn't "lead" the class. He is silent, reading the book himself and taking notes. This is an example of what Finkel calls an open seminar. During these days, the teacher's job is to make sure that the students talk in English as much as possible, focus on the book, and stay civil, but otherwise the teacher is uninvolved.

On day four, the teacher has the students divide into small groups and gives them a question to answer or some problem to solve as a group. On day five, the entire class will discuss the different answers each group came up with for the question. This is the concept workshop that Finkel writes about. The goal of the concept workshop is to help students understand certain concepts by giving them a challenge to overcome that requires them to understand those concepts. The teacher won't tell the students the concept, but his question should pose a problem that requires that concept to be applied.

Each week, the students must write about what they read and learned that week. There are no tests. The weekly diary is the only thing the students do that goes towards their grades. The teacher will respond to each diary with a letter written back to each student telling them what he thought about what they wrote.

The above is just a simple example. The lecture is optional. In a real class, a teacher needs to give students time to complete tasks. How often open seminars or concept workshops are done, or in which order they are done, would be determined on a case-by-case basis.