By Shireen Steytler, IT Teacher at Durban High
The night before the final Grade 11 practical exam I was privileged enough to be invited to observe their Skype revision session. And yes, I consider this a privilege – they didn’t have to involve me or give me the opportunity to be part of this session, but I am fortunate enough that they are not threatened by my observation.
I was so impressed at how they ran the session. Everyone was added to a Skype call and one of my top students had a screen share going of the programs they were using to revise. They talked their way through everything, from basic string manipulation through arrays and text files and object orientation. No question was mocked or ignored from the weaker students, but explained, demonstrated and at times completely coded live if it wasn’t part of the existing programs. The top guys took it in turns as one went off to dinner or to shower and the session went on for about 3 hours.
The top guys learned through teaching – demonstration and verbal explanation is a great way to check and cement one’s own knowledge. The weaker learners benefited from explanation from their peers in terms that they may better relate to. I certainly learned a few new ways of explaining some concepts in ways that they may relate to better. I was gratified to hear some of my tips and tricks coming out in explanation – nice to know they listen sometimes!
These student-led Skype revision sessions are something I am going to encourage in my new classes going forwards – I can certainly see the benefits with this class.