Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting science classrooms worldwide, observing teachers using Stile with their students.
I've been blown away by some of the the amazing strategies that teachers have implemented with Stile – sparking the curiosity of previously disengaged students and getting them to think critically about real-world problems. But not all strategies have worked equally well.
So what works well? Naturally there's no single answer, but there are some common themes to running a successful classroom with Stile. I wanted to share these with you.
Here we go!
A bit of lesson prep goes a long way. Here’s what we found successful Stilists (Stile teachers!) do prior to teaching a class with Stile:
- Read through the lessons you’re about to teach. Watch the videos, read the teacher notes, even read the model answers. It’ll take you 5-10 minutes and you’ll be that much more prepared.
- Make a mental lesson plan. Based on the lesson you wish to teach, have a think about which sections you wish to go through as a whole class, where you'd like students to be working at their own pace, which questions you'd like them to focus on, where you'd like to have class discussions, and so on.
- For bonus points, print out the model answers and annotate them with your lesson plan. We especially recommend this if you’re new to teaching with Stile.
Before noting which teaching strategies work especially well, it's worth noting one that doesn't – using Stile as a 'set and forget' resource. Stile was never built with this teaching strategy in mind (unlike many other digital classroom resources). Rather it was built to be a teacher's power tool, amplifying their current teaching style.
With that in mind, we've found that Stile lends itself especially well to amplifying the following teaching strategies. We suggest mixing the following into an engaging symphony of learning with you as the conductor, your students as the orchestra, and Stile as the sheet music:
- Direct teaching. Guide students through the lesson content on the data projector as a class (student devices off!). Watch videos up the front of the class, read the text as a class, discuss key concepts, and so on.
- Facilitate independent learning. Once you’ve gone through a block of content, have students work through the subsequent questions at their own pace. Roam the room and address misunderstandings with students one-on-one with the help of Class Insights.
- Consolidation. Once the students have had enough time to work through a block of questions, regain their attention and discuss their responses as a class using Quick Review. Consolidate key concepts and have students reflect on their learning.
Of course, students can finish any unfinished work from home if you don’t quite get through a whole lesson.
That's it! For me the overall takeaway was this – teachers that get the most out of Stile use it to amplify their existing teaching practices, rather than change them.
If you’ve had some great successes teaching with Stile, please do share them with us – we’d love to share them with the broader community.
Best of luck with your next Stile class and until next time,
Head of Education at Stile