The Secret of Just in Time Teaching

The SecretImagine the following scenario. Your session begins with your lesson plan in hand. You have a few significant points to cover and several you hope to address. You spend your entire session addressing your concerns and offer some type of assessment at the end to check understanding and retention. Sound familiar? Now, what if just before the lesson you were able to tell what the students already understand and exactly what questions they have that could be addressed during the session? That would be just in time, correct?

How Does Just in Time Teaching Work?

Just in Time Teaching works by identifying what students know and don’t know about upcoming lesson content. Teachers provide students information via the web before the session and require student responses through simple questions.

Up front information generally includes reading or viewing videos. Students have the ability to reflect upon the information eliminating the need to cover this content during valuable class time. Ideally in traditional methodology, students come to class prepared to discuss what they have read and expand learning from there. Just in Time Teaching takes it a step further by requiring students to submit feedback on the given assignment by answering questions and then submit insights or questions that have arisen. This information is completed 1-24 hours before class time. Teachers can then review responses just in time for class. They can adjust teaching strategies to address misunderstandings and student questions.

In order to implement Just in Time Teaching, teachers need to find a delivery method for their content and questions. This is known as flipping their lessons. This is accomplished online through a delivery method that is sent directly to students such as Google Forms. There are many ways to accomplish this, however. The teacher can then access the answers to adjust teaching, Just in Time for class!

For more information on flipped learning see the related post: Flipped Classrooms: What Every Catechist Needs to Know

Benefits of Just in Time Teaching

There are several benefits to Just in Time Teaching. One is to increase learning time during classroom time. In our imaginary setting it takes the entire session time to achieve what can be done in a few minutes in advance. Armed with this information you now begin your session where you might have left off in a traditional setting. Just in Time Teaching also increases student motivation. When they enter class they have already invested their own time considering aspects of the given topic. Students also come prepared for class. With a solid introduction to the topic behind you students have activated prior knowledge and developed understandings or questions about the material. The most significant benefit is that you now have the information you need to customize learning to address specific students’ needs. Just in Time Teaching becomes a formative assessment and leads to deeper learning!

How Do I use Just in Time Teaching for Catechesis?

It is true that Just in Time Teaching comes from the academic setting. There are differences to the approaches that academic teachers will employ versus catechists in a catechetical setting. There are also differences in the expectations that we might have for our students. In my experience using Just in Time Teaching I provide a short video introducing the topic versus having the student read a chapter or viewing a full length lecture. I then usually limit questions to 3 or 4. Three questions might be simple yes or no, true/false, or multiple-choice. These questions will address concepts in the video to ensure students have viewed the assignment. The final question will be open response. An example might be “Why is it important that we understand that ________________?” Or, “This can be a difficult concept to understand. What questions do you have about_________________?”I make sure the videos are short, usually no more than 3-5 minutes and require that every question must be answered.

Armed with these responses which I review just before class, I am ready to customize instruction to the particular students in my class. What would be the value of possessing this knowledge before the session actually begins? That is the secret of Just in Time Teaching!

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