Less (Teaching) Is More (Learning) Master Class

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | 8:00am – 12:00pm

slide deck will be posted at bottom of page

Tweeting? #blc14 @balancedtech @sewilkie

One of the arts of teaching is knowing when to lead, when to help, and when to let the students figure it out themselves. We take the cliché about being the guide on the side seriously. But, how do you get from student dependence to independence? Engage in a strategy-building session on how to foster student-owned learning in the classroom (and survive!). Don’t expect one-size-fits-all answers – but questions, strategies, possibilities, examples, and maybe a few awkward (reflective) silences…

Join us as we explore ways to:
  • Engage and empower students as critical thinkers, questioners, connectors and creators of content
  • Build student repertoire of problem-solving strategies
  • Promote and develop student capacity for finding the right information, right relationships and right resources, all at the right time
  • Challenge learners to mine mistakes, wrong turns and “failures” for the richer learning opportunities embedded within

LEGO Challenges

Problem Solving Strategies


Teacher Role(s)?


Student Self Assessment

Documentation & Reflection

Digital Learning Farm

Information Processing

Less Is More Continuum?

Autodidacts, Self-Directed Learning, Student Exploration, Guided Discovery, Direct Instruction

Closing Thought

  • What difference does the metaphor make?
    • Following a guided path.
    • Setting up guard rails. Wide enough to empower but narrow enough to guide.
    • Following a set of blazes.
    • Following footsteps.
  • Sometimes the guardrails are unnecessary or limiting. Sometimes they are freeing. How do we know?

Session Evaluation

More Questions

  • At what point is "Less" not enough? Enhanced Discovery Learning
  • Do our students suffer from learned helplessness? Why? What can we do about it?
  • Throughout the course of the year (or several years), does this approach take more time?
  • Failure
    • How much is too much, how much not enough?
    • Should we scaffold moving students to embrace F.A.I.L.ing? How?
    • When do we let kids stop/quit/move on?

Other Resources