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Re: [teacherartexchange] Following Directions


Date: Sat Oct 03 2009 - 04:21:29 PDT

In some cases, I think not following directions is a case of learned
helplessness. They know their nice teachers are happy to repeat the
directions 28 times, one-on-one, so why bother listening? Other times, we
give them too many or too-complicated directions and then assume they got it.

Analyze your tasks and how you deliver your directions and see if you can
break them down into very simple, manageable chunks, and I mean, down to "fold
the paper in half," then stop before going on to the next step. With older
students who can read, have the instructions posted on the board so they can
refer to them--and just point to the board when they ask for help.

Judy D. has a "three before me" process where the students have to consult
their notes and handouts, the board, or a fellow student before asking the
teacher for help.

A trick that has worked well for me at many levels is to tell the students
that if I have to help them, they have to be willing to help another student
(thus reinforcing the first student's skill). Also, the students who followed
instructions well the first time get to assist other students.

Hope this helps, though I know it's not the lesson you were asking for.


> I am having trouble with a group of classes that just don't follow
> directions. The classes are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade. I want to come up
> with a project that I can grade them on how well they followed the
> directions, but so far I have come up with nothing.

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