I had a conversation with Jim the other day. He was frustrated that his students weren't understanding how to do a chemistry lab. He actually said: We make them too dependent. I think he's right, but perhaps the question we should be asking is:
3 Before Me
I recently chatted with a couple of teacher tweeps @MitchIsFair and @WilsonAtOCDSB who use a version of the 3 Before Me strategy in their classrooms. After many threats and much arm twisting, they gave me the thumbs up to steal and put my own twist on what they do. And though the strategy has been around, I am forever grateful for all the learning and growth I experience as a result of my PLN. You guys rock!
The basic idea of 3 Before Me is to empower students to seek answers to questions and solutions to problems in three independent ways before asking the teacher. As it is impossible for students to put us in their backpacks or even contact us 24/7, it is our duty to help them become independent learners capable of learning on their own.
So, from now on whenever my students are learning, I'll promote inquiry and independence by asking them to seek their own answers and solutions. I'll ask them to collaborate with their own Crew first. If unsuccessful, they can spread their wings and seek help from the Crowd, or someone outside their group. Additionally, they'll access the World Wide Web, or the Cyberspace for help before seeking mine.
Check out the infographic below for a visual classroom aid in promoting 3 Before Me and how you can hold students accountable.
I know many are tempted to answer email questions late into the night, but for sanity's sake we must say no. Plus, it's gonna be super weird when you hold Jon's or Sean's hand and walk him to his first college class 2-6 years from now. Just sayin'...
You have the power to change the world. Use it often.
PS: My book Crush School: Every Student's Guide To Killing It In The Classroom, which contains many learning strategies that empower student independence is currently 25% off on Amazon - Get it for $11.95 instead of $15.95 for a limited time here.
PPS: If you enjoyed this article and infographic check out my blog here to access my newest articles, lessons, and visuals on using brain based learning and teaching in education.