If in the week before we talked about CLIMATE variables, now, we talked about INSTRUCTIONAL variables. Both variables are inter-dependent.
As usual, the facilitator of the lesson was my friends; Vanny, Daen, Ulfah, and Shopia. Let’s call them teachers. They organized the class in learning this topic.
Firstly, the class was started with Ulfah bringing a big plastic bag into the class. Alright, I’m curious. What is that bag for? What is the relation between the bag and the lesson? Actually, that was the way given by our teachers to increase students’ interest on the lesson. It is called eye-catching, showing an attractive object in the beginning of the class as elicitation. Giving eye-catching examples, together with paradoxical question and contradictory result, is the way to attract students’ attention called introductory focus.
Secondly, the teachers asked us about our experience in learning. We might give opinion whether it was bad or good experience. We were also given freedom to say an experience with non-Mathematics teacher. Some of my friends raised their hands. Most of them said about bad experience. Their stories were funny but full of lesson. Our teachers, tried to motivate us trough this activity. This is called giving open-ended questions. The answer of the questions may vary and because of that, it opens more chances to share opinions. Beside open-ended questions, there is also hands-on activity to increase students’ involvement in learning. It can be done by promoting active learning and another group activity like we had which was jigsaw-reading.
Thirdly, teachers also used personalization in teaching us this topic. They related the material with what we ever experienced while we were still in senior high or before. I remembered when I was in senior high school; my biology teacher used this strategy. She used the example of my friend’s blood type to explain the possible genetic forms (genotype) of the blood type. This was interesting because I, who did not have that blood type, felt curious about what my blood genotype would be.
Fourth, in this meeting, teacher also gave feedback. Sometimes they only said, “Good”. When teachers were giving feedback without giving any details, it is called evaluative feedback. This feedback could be in the form of score (100, 6 out of 8, etc), grade (A, A+, etc), or a brief phrase (Excellent, good job, etc). Besides, teacher may also give descriptive feedback. This type of feedback requires detail information given to students as feedback. For example, in writing task, Ms. Vanny wrote this, “Your structure of writing is very good, I can easily understand the flow of the story. You attach your references so I know that you tried hard in finishing this task. Although the logical link of each paragraph needs to be improved, the lack is minor. Keep up your good effort.” This feedback provides detail assessment on students’ work compared to evaluative feedback.
Overall, those are instructional variables teacher may apply in the classroom in order to motivate students. Each variable does not stand alone separately, but one completing the other. Teacher can combine each variable that fits with students’ need and characteristics in the classroom.