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Over time, I became dissatisfied with what I observed in both my students and in myself in the traditional classroom. Students passively took notes while I actively lectured. Students memorized what was emphasized as important material, but lacked active engagement in class with me, with each other, and with the subject matter. In response to this realization, I developed a start-of-the class practice that I coined “small group brainstorming”. I gave students several Small Group Brainstorming questions (printed on a worksheet) topical to the content of that day’s class to consider and address with their groupmates. These questions required students to think deeply about their assigned readings, to describe and define key terms or ideas in their own words, and/or make connections between theory and practice.
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