Inspiring More “Aha” Moments from Your English Learners

I was recently inspired again by Larry Ferlazzo on what is possibly his favorite subject.

I imagine it is the secret sauce to his success in the classroom, along with his sense of humor.

And that is to take the whole blessed art of teaching and turn it around on our students.

Instead of giving students a conclusion and having them find the question, we give students a question and let them figure out their own conclusion.

And the most persuasive reason for using such a method is this:

No one cares about an answer to a question they are not asking.

This is inductive learning.

Inductive learning means getting the students to ask the questions.

Getting them to take notice. 

To really pay attention to a problem.

And that means letting them wrestle with a problem.

It means letting them get the answers wrong sometimes. 

Letting them go on a wild goose chase for a bit.

Letting them spin their wheels.

The fastest way to teach a class isn’t to shovel in the information as quickly as possible. 

Our students are unlikely to absorb shoveled information; they are likely only to be buried by it.

You can’t plug a keyboard into a student’s ear and type in the information.

You can’t frighten the information into them—well, not without causing even more problems.

You can’t threaten them into learning. 

They have to want it. 

Your wanting it for them is not enough.

Which means you’ll need to let go of the reins.

Be OK with not being the center of attention.

You have to become more like a coach and less like a lecturer.

Inductive learning means turning the learning over to the students because you can’t do it for them. 

They have to choose to do it. 

More often than not, our students don’t remember because they don’t care.

Make them care.

Spark their curiosity.

Ramp up that sense of wonder until they are shaking you and shouting why.

Make them want it, and they will learn. 

Almost every teacher I have ever interviewed has said their favorite part of teaching is that ‘aha’ moment. 

  • The harder they search, the more they care.
  • The more they care, the more they learn.

And they will learn faster and better than you may have thought possible. 

Get a FREE ESL Resource on Teaching Be-Verbs in this Article filled with Tips and Lesson Plans.

Read More On Inductive Learning

Larry Ferlazzo article on the best resources for inductive learning.

Kid-Inspired Article on the difficulties of using the inductive learning model.

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