With advance notice, give students the opportunity to pursue interests they choose (tied to the course, or open-ended). Start by setting aside just one class period for free exploration. Consider including this proviso — have students teach others what they’ve learned.
- Which students jumped at this opportunity, and who struggled? Why?
- What surprised you about the choices students made? Who seemed to follow others, and who made bold choices?
- Did you find yourself offering lots of advice and guidance to students, or were they mostly on their own? When they were ‘stuck,’ how did you respond?
- In observing students teaching classmates, what did you learn about the student’s command of the subject matter? Is ‘teaching others’ an effective way to assess mastery? What opportunities does this present going forward?