Special Message for Whoever Teaches, Trains, Learns, or Creatively Solves Problems…

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
<< Teaching & Learning Techniques Index

By now all professionals in problem-solving and creativity should know this. Whatever is your favorite method of solving problems or of being creative, you can take immediate advantage of it in a huge domain, the domain that pertains to all matters of education. Here is also a simple reminder to anyone involved with learning or with teaching or training….

Hundreds of different ingenious problem-solving methods and creativity-related techniques are successfully in professional use around the world….

Convert any one of these—or all of these!—into a superlearning, accelerated learning-with-understanding method. Here is how: where one would ordinarily feature the problem statement, use one of these four questions below, at the conclusion of a lesson or a chapter:

A reminder that every one of the creative problem-solving techniques—including those of ours you cited—can also serve as superlearning techniques for the understanding mastery of contents. Just use a rotation of these four questions where the problem statement would go otherwise:

  • “What are the ramifications of the main point in this lesson?”
  • “What main point in this lesson do I most need to give further attention to, and why?”
  • “How do the various points in this lesson relate to one another?”
  • “What in my experience—or in my whole life thus far—does the main point of this lesson somehow remind me of? I wonder why that somehow reminds me of that….”

…and then Windtunnel or Freenote, or otherwise rapid-flow express and record freely whatever comes to mind in response.

Teachers—5 minutes invested thus, having students buzz such questions with each other in pairs at end of your class, will more than double your students’ long-term retention of what you’ve taught them, and profoundly improve their understanding thereof.

If there is value to what you’ve taught them, then this seems a worthwhile investment:  “Students, please turn to the person next to you and in the next couple of minutes, see how best between you that you can answer this question….”

If you listen to those buzzings, you will discover more clearly than any tests or drillwork could show you, how and what you’ve gotten across, and how best TO get across what you’ve been trying to teach.

Teachers—if you have conventional classroom setup, for the sake of the classrooms next door, have your buzzing students huddle close together so their conversing-to-answer will be a mild buzz-murmur instead of a cocktail-party roar.

Students or teachers—a rotation among those four questions is probably best, from occasion to occasion, instead of repeatedly using the one of them every time.

What simpler way to more than double the value of every lesson and every unit of learning-with-understanding? “Are you sure you can handle this now?” What does it cost you to try this out once and see what happens?

The results are in! See the summary scores from spring 2009 in a school which started teaching with our modern Socratic Method. All the faculty there since have reportedly begun using our modern Socratic Method … with dazzling improvements in proficiency among the students.

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