Allan V. Santiago

Are you a teacher that talks too much? Most teachers talk too much. They love standing up in front of a large captive audience and talking about what they know. It makes them feel important. But it is time teachers “unlearn” this tendency. A teacher acting as a “sage on stage” while students are expected to listen describes a traditional classroom. Grandstanding in front while asking students to absorb what is being talked about by the teacher is not the best way to teach.

Too much teacher talking time diminishes the quality of the learning experience, giving students
less breathing space to practice concepts and skills in the classroom. On the other hand, talking
less doesn’t mean that you’re going to withhold help or support when your students really need
it. It doesn’t mean you’ll be aloof or standoffish. It doesn’t mean you’ll ignore them. It just means
that you’re going to be more thoughtful about when and how you speak.

How much is too much teacher talk? According to experts, teachers should not talk more than
10 minutes in each class. The rest of the class time, students should be doing something practicing
what they have learned, be engaged in finding answers to questions their teachers have asked, be
at work on a learning project, doing group work or pair-work. We call this active learning. Research
has shown that students taught by active learning, on average, score a grade and a half higher
than those who learn in traditional (boring) ways.

The opposite of active learning is passive learning, exactly what happens in a traditional
classroom. Whenever the “teacher” is relied on to supply the bulk of the material or she/he is the
focal point, the class energy is lost to a passive state. If the “learning” is to take place, it must go
through a processing stage in the students, and the more active the better. The more responsibility
the students take to, manipulate, debate, sum up, and draw conclusions about the information, the
more they truly learn the material.

The alternative is merely to add a layer of data (if you’re lucky) to an already jammed system with little ability to integrate for future applications, leaving the students with short-term recall and little if no carry over to the work they will one day face when they need material. Student-centered classrooms look completely different and teachers become facilitators for the learning to take place.

Amianan Balita Ngayon