This is a guest post by Emma Nolan who is a PE teacher at Wilmslow High School.
I used a speed dating concept from the whole school INSET day delivered at the start of the year and adapted it to suit my AS PE class. My class were studying a topic on the organisation of sport in the UK and were struggling to get to grips with all of the various organisational bodies and their roles. I therefore decided to have an interim revision session with a difference and used speed dating as the vehicle for this.
I created seven questions based on what they had already learnt. As each student came into the class, they were given one question each. They were asked to sit at a table with others who had the same question. (There are 24 in the group so roughly 3 students per question.) They were given 5 minutes to create a ‘perfect’ answer to the question using their own knowledge, their notes, their textbooks and each other.
After the 5 minutes were up, the speed dating began. Each student had to move around the room and meet with another student (but not one who also had the same question as them). They then had 2 minutes in which to state their question and give the answer which was then reciprocated by their partner. The time was controlled via a stopwatch application on the internet and shown on the board with a buzzer sound signifying the end of the learning ‘date’. In total they had 6 speed dates (so each of the other questions was covered). They were not allowed to take any notes with them – everything had to be done from memory, including retaining the new information given to them during their speed dates.
When the speed dating was finished, the 7 questions were all put up on the board. Without using any notes, they had to write the answer to the questions based on the information they had just learnt. When finished, they swapped their answers with a partner and marked it with the use of a mark scheme. This enabled them to cross reference their new understanding with model responses. This enabled students to identify and subsequently ‘fill’ any knowledge gaps that they may still have had.
Given that the class is quite big and there is such a huge range in ability levels, I found this lesson worked fantastically well. Every student (including those who I thought may not engage that well) were completely on task for the whole duration of the lesson. The conversations between students demonstrated their understanding of their question and by the end of the lesson their knowledge of all of the topics had improved quite dramatically. It made a nice change for them to learn from each other in quite an informal manner and getting them to walk around after small bursts of learning rather than sitting for a prolonged period behind a desk!
It is definitely something that I will use again in the future with this class and others – not just because it was fun for the students but, more importantly, it increased the quality of student learning and rapidly progressed their understanding of the topic.
You can find Emma tweeting from @Emma_Jane_83