Teaching Strategies

This section includes supplemental information about the most commonly used teaching strategies in Fair Fight in the Marketplace. All teaching strategies are described in the lessons themselves - use this section as an additional resource. The guidelines suggested below are flexible. Modifications should be made based on the needs, skills, and interests of a particular group of youth.

 

CONTENTS

 


 

Brainstorm

Brainstorming is a well-known and widely used interactive method. By encouraging participants to use their imaginations and be creative, it helps elicit many solutions to a given problem.

Rules for Brainstorming

  • No evaluation of any kind is allowed in a "thinking-up" session. If you judge and evaluate ideas as they are expressed, people will focus more on defending their ideas than on thinking up new and better ones.
  • Everyone is encouraged to think up as many ideas as possible. Wild ideas should be encouraged.
  • Quantity is encouraged because it eventually breeds quality. When a great number of ideas come pouring out in rapid succession, the focus moves off evaluation. In these situations, people feel free to give their imaginations wide range - good ideas are the result.
  • Everyone is encouraged to build upon or modify the ideas of others.

 

return to top


 

Case Study

Case studies can take many forms: hypothetical situations involving some conflict or dilemma or real life situations drawn from newspapers, magazines, books, or other sources. The case study method helps students begin to think as problem solvers. This process arouses interest and develops skills in logic, independent analysis, critical thinking, and decision making. The first step is to understand the facts as they are described in the case study. Next, identify the issues involved. If the situation involves a conflict between several people, it may be helpful to diagram the relationships, identifying the specific areas of disagreement. Then brainstorm a list of available options. Examine the options and consider the consequences. Finally, reach a decision about the best option or combination of options.

 

return to top


 

Continuum

This is an excellent strategy to use when working with controversial issues. The exercise helps to develop skills such as listening, questioning, defending an opinion, analyzing an issue, and respecting other people's opinions.

Instructions

  1. Make two signs, one that reads "Agree" and another that reads "Disagree." (Depending on the exercise, you can replace these words with "Always" and "Never," "Safe" and "Unsafe," "Yes" and "No," etc.) Place them at opposite ends of a wall.
  2. Explain that teens will have a chance to give their opinion on a series of statements about a controversial issue.
  3. Tell them to listen to the statements and stand along the continuum according to what they think. The more strongly they feel about the statement, the farther along (on either end) they will be on the continuum. If they are totally indifferent, can't make their mind up about the statement, or need more information, they should stand in the middle of the continuum.
  4. After each statement, ask one or two people from each position - left, right, and center - to describe why they chose to stand there.

Tips

  • If you are concerned about unruly behavior, have a smaller number of teens come up to the front of the class and ask the students who remained in their seats to give their opinions. The students in the front of the room listen and then move according to these arguments.
  • When there are many different opinions, let several people talk. Then ask teens at the opposite ends of the continuum to answer this question: "Without giving up your position, please tell us what you thought was the most compelling argument from the opposite end."
  • Keep in mind as you use this strategy for controversial issues that certain issues, such as child abuse, are not suitable for this method.

 

return to top


 

Debriefing

Debriefing is an essential part of every lesson that you teach. Asking questions at the end of an activity will help students process what they have learned. It will also help you clarify any issues and clear up loose ends. Some questions you can ask include

  • What did you learn?
  • How did you feel about this activity?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • How does what you learned apply to real life?

 

return to top


 

Each One Teach One

This strategy works well for conveying "dry" information (vocabulary), building interest in a new topic, or summarizing the points learned when ending a unit. The purpose is to encourage the students to share selected information about the subject with each other.

Instructions

  1. Prepare fact cards. Put a fact about the lesson on a three- by five-inch index card, making one for each youth in the group.
  2. Distribute one card to each teen.
  3. Each participant should spend a few minutes reading the information on the card. The instructor should circulate and check that the teens understand the information they've received.
  4. Have teens circulate around the room and teach their fact to one person at a time, until they have spoken to every person.
  5. They may talk to only one person at a time.
  6. When they have taught their fact to everyone in the group, they can sit down again.
  7. Ask them to tell something they learned from someone else. As they provide information, supplement it with your own as necessary.

 

return to top


 

Questioning

The technique of questioning is critical to the success of a lesson. Questions should call for reasoning at higher thinking levels and stimulate dialog among young people rather than exchanges between the instructor and young people. Teens should be encouraged to explore alternative solutions as they attempt to solve real and imaginary problems posed in the sessions.

While some questions may be useful in gauging how much teens know, the primary goal should be to develop attitudes that will lead to responsible decision making. Therefore, you will want to use questions that lead young people to analyze situations and synthesize concepts - skills that transfer from this program to their daily lives.

Instructions

  1. Don't just ask teens to recall information, ask them to use it. Give hypothetical or real problems, and ask them to resolve the dilemmas.
  2. Ask teens to formulate judgments about laws or public policies. Always probe for their reasoning.
  3. Ask them to generate options when confronted with a conflict and analyze the options to decide which is the best course of action.
  4. In general, ask questions to ensure that teens understand the material, but also ask questions that require them to analyze, apply, and evaluate information.

Suggestions for Active Participation

It is possible to structure questions so that students can listen to and respond to one another and not just the teacher. These suggestions can help encourage active participation:

  1. Pose a question and ask students to discuss answers with partners.
  2. Ask them to generate their own questions about the material just presented.
  3. Ask students to signal their opinion by showing thumbs up if they agree with a statement, thumbs down if they disagree, and thumbs to the side if they're not sure.
  4. Pause at least five seconds after asking a question to allow students time to think.
  5. Ask them to expand on their responses if they provide short or fragmentary answers.
  6. Call on more than one young person per question.
  7. Encourage students to react to each other's responses.

Avoid imposing your own judgment on responses to open questions. "Open" implies that a wide variety of responses may be acceptable.

 

return to top


 

Role Play

In a role-play, participants feel like, think like, or act like another individual and act out a particular problem or situation. Role-playing

  • promotes the expression of attitudes, opinions, and values
  • provides the opportunity to practice responding to difficult situations
  • fosters the ability to develop and consider alternative courses of action
  • develops empathy for others

Instructions

  1. Initial role-play activities should be simple.
  2. Do not expect polished performances at first.
  3. Because teens may be uncomfortable or embarrassed, these activities should be presented in a relaxed, non-threatening atmosphere, and teens should understand that there may be more than one way to react. Practice will help them feel more confident in these activities.
  4. Follow the role play with a debriefing and analysis of the experience.

Tips

  • Give students adequate information to play roles convincingly. This preparation will make it easier for them and ensure that they enjoy the exercise as they learn.
  • Make situations and problems realistic - something teens might confront often.
  • Allow teens to "jump right in." Don't spend time on long introductions.
  • If appropriate allow them to do a role reversal to look at opposing viewpoints and prevent stereotyping young people into certain types of roles.
  • The following questions may be helpful during the debriefing:
    • Was the problem solved? Why? Why not? How was it solved?
    • What alternative courses of action were available?
    • Is this situation similar to anything that you have experienced?

 

return to top


 

Small Groups

Small group activities help young people learn cooperation and interpersonal skills. These activities can also help teens learn to resolve differences among themselves.

Tips

  • Make the instructions to the group very clear. It is unlikely that they will be able to follow more than one or two instructions at a time.
  • Form groups of three to five teens.
  • Be prepared for the increased noise level.
  • In forming groups, try to have some diversity of backgrounds, gender, ethnicity, etc.
  • While students are working in small groups, you should circulate and observe. When you stop to visit a group, don't take it over.
  • Be sure students sit in a circle - group members must be able to see each other easily.

 

return to top


 

Whole Group Discussion

The techniques used in this strategy will vary depending on the size of your group. In general, the larger your group, the more control you will need to maintain.

Tips

  • Establish clear guidelines concerning behavior and participation.
  • After you ask a question, allow time for students to think. Don't always call on the first person to raise his/her hand.
  • Be sure to acknowledge and validate every studnet's response, whether right or wrong. Rather than saying an answer is wrong, try to improve the response. Attempt to lead the young people so that they can arrive at the correct answer by themselves.
  • Draw out students who are shy by asking easy questions such as, "Do you agree with that?" or "What do you think about that?"
  • If you don't know the answer to a question, just say so. Tell the group you'll find the answer, and write the question on your "parking lot" list to remind yourself. Allowing teens to see that you don't know all the answers will help them admit that they also may need help sometimes.
  • Try to arrange seating so that students can all see each other. If this is not possible, set up chairs in a semi-circle, circle, or U-shape.
  • Don't let one person overpower a discussion. If necessary, establish a rule that a person can speak only a certain number of times on any given subject.

 

return to top