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Free Use of Project Renaissance Teaching and Learning Methods

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.


You Can Freely Use Our Major Teaching Methods

This message is mainly for teachers and trainers.

That free use, of our major teaching methods, is indeed highly encouraged, wherever you are in the world.

We've published each of many of our methods openly and operationally, in support of that purpose. You've seen that each method is laid out like a cookbook recipe, step by specific, easy-to-follow step. If you've tried our techniques, particularly Dynamic Format as referenced below, you've found that this approach is far easier to use than any of the methods you are using now, despite its novelty....and more to the point, far more effective in engaging the student, in bringing the student to key understandings in your lessons. You've also seen your students gaining experience - and skills - in expressing themselves thoughtfully and perceptively, and in their language skills generally.

We'd very much like to conduct in-house faculty trainings in support of your fuller use of these remarkable methods, to ensure they can be used with fullest accuracy and effectiveness. That's what we did with the school in Buffalo which is mentioned below. However —

1) The methods are so simple and easy to use, you can probably do pretty well even just reading the instructions and following them, without having to be trained. It is this simplicity and ease of use which distinguishes our forms of modern Socratic learning from those used in the cooperative learning movement, though that movement also is excellent and worthy of your attention.

2) Under current economic conditions, your school probably needs to get by as inexpensively as possible. Despite all the high value returned by modern Socratic Method, that is a system which can be learned and used without having to spend a dime. We can certify only the people we train and can monitor, but you are free to use our methods without having to be certified, subject only to the provisions stated in To Become a Trainer.

Without a penny: find these complete instructions freely online —

Since we have a lot of highly varied material at our website, let me draw your attention to select portions of it for the purpose of enabling you to teach effectively with our methods without the costs of having to be trained:

1) The most basic operation—how to run a highly interactive buzz group on questions highlighting the key point of a lesson— Dynamic Format. You can use that lightly, to underscore key points, or more comprehensively as a vehicle to develop all your students into being Socrates to one another.

2) The set of information on modern forms of Socratic Method

3) The theory behind this sector of our methods, Feeding the Loop

4) Examples of teaching and learning techniques which are part of what we term modern Socratic Method:
Windtunnel
Freenoting
Double-Entry A-Ha! Method (DEAM) and Evoked Sidebands, respectively.
CrabApple and Problem-Solving Woodswalk
Final Exam, desensitizing students to their anxieties about being tested, and a powerful course review technique

5) Note that these (except for the last above), along with a good many other techniques, are designed initially as problem-solving methods. There are more of these in the website, and overall hundreds of such methods, in professional use around the planet. What people have not realized is that every one of these creative problem-solving methods can also serve as a superlearning technique. Substitute in a question for understanding, in place of where a problem statement or definition would ordinarily go in the process, and students will buzz with each other into a Super learning. See three sample questions, and the instructions for this, at A Huge Untapped Resource.

The techniques involving visualization, including of course Borrowed Genius, which is a very obvious and powerful super technique for learning, are more controversial and threatening for schools—in some communities in the USA it is illegal to teach visualization(!). So I bring these along later, after schools have gotten used to some of what we're doing and can come to appreciate the stakes.

Modern Socratic Method is far less threatening, if only because everyone in schools has heard about Socrates even if they don't know anything about him or his method. Indeed, the profession of education and educators is named after a key tenet of Socratic Method. History has shown the method to be by far the best-demonstrated positive method for learning, way beyond anything used in schools today, its use consistently leading to high genius.

The reason WHY Socratic Method, including our modern versions of it, always leads toward high intellectual performance, allows us to understand the phenomenon in terms of the most fundamental law of psychology, behavior's Law of Effect, so that this matter is now understood through science.

6) Finally, this context also allows us to present four basic theses which are essentially unassailable—each one has to be acknowledged and accepted. Put the four together and the conclusion we reach, as per the article at A Bottom Line re: Teaching and Learning, is essentially inescapable.

The only school completely converted to our methods is in Buffalo, New York, as of 2007. A third of their faculty started using modern Socratic Method in the spring of 2008, the remainder started doing so in Fall 2008, and we have data from spring 2008 (St. Andrew's Results), which is quite encouraging. Although our methods were designed for college and adult use originally, this school is pre-K through grade 7, and the faculty there did an excellent job in helping to adapt these methods to those educational levels.

If you have questions, feel free to ask. I'll be delighted to try to answer them. I'll be even more delighted if you keep a record of your observations, measure key indices of your students' performance before and after use of these techniques, and share your findings with us.

With appreciation,
Win Wenger


PS—Not for free, but darned close to it, is my CoreBook with Harman Benda, Dynamic Teaching: Proven Techniques for Engagement of Every Student. Not only in hardcopy: this clear, direct book in its ebook form can be downloaded anywhere on the planet, wherever you are, without cost of postage and handling. See Dynamic Teaching.

 
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