Thursday, March 4, 2021

Order or Choice

In The order of operations from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin states,

“And yet, we often do the least-scary or easiest parts first, regardless of what the order of operations tells us.”

There are many procedures that we teach students to follow that have to be done in the correct order. If you don’t follow the procedure, the outcome won’t be right.

Students many times feel restricted when they always have to follow the exact order of a procedure. They don’t feel they have any control over their actions.

That is why, when there is no need for a procedural order, I like to give my students choices.

I individualize a lot of assignments for my students because they have different needs. Students may be at different levels or abilities so it isn’t right to give everyone the same cookie-cutter assignment.

Each student has a weekly assignment sheet and all of the assignments are written down. If I want to go over a concept or topic with the whole class, I will get everyone’s attention for the lesson but their individual assignment for this concept or topic may be different. For example, we may be talking about Benjamin Franklin but each student may have a different activity to complete.

I like for my students to see their weekly assignments so they aren’t surprised by anything. They understand what they need to do. If they finish early, they can go on to the next assignment. If they don’t feel like doing one assignment, they can save it for later. Many like to do the easier assignment first and get it out of the way. Some like to get the hard assignment out of the way so the rest of the work is easier. Different personalities have different strategies and by giving them a choice, they have more control over their actions.

Giving my students choices helps them control their behavior and their frustration level. It helps them be more successful in the classroom.

Do you give your students choices? Please share.

Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

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