The smell of popcorn wafts by, the lights dim, the audience stills, the screen darkens then comes to life…ready for a movie?
Cues signal the activity we are about to engage in and prepare our minds and bodies. We look, listen and wait for cues that tell us to wash our hands and fell hunger because dinner is about to happen, to get comfortable and be swept away by music, to wait in anticipation then yell surprise to a friend, to get warmed up and ready for a sports game…
What cues are there in your class? When I teach statistics, the first slide students see includes a toolbox suggesting an analogy through which to frame the upcoming content, the lighting may be necessarily dark by the screen but overall bright, I start by walking to the middle of the front and when stepping towards them start with why I find statistics interesting and useful.
The cues of lighting, imagery, voice, body positioning etc. highlight the value I place on the topic and signal students to be prepared to meet me part way, engage in a conversation about statistics, perhaps respect the effort required but not concerned, and see value in learning the topic.
After this initial step of BOPPPS, I often proceed to define means and other foundational content, but I continue the message of usefulness and dialogue through a pre-assessment that serves multiple purposes including: don’t get too comfortable passively listening…this class requires more than just watching the show.