Speed dating for teachers

As the instructor and panel moderator, one has to manage the questions from the class as well as rein in the excitement and enthusiasm of the panel participants to impart their wisdom. I asked the class for feedback following the inclusion of two panel discussions.

They loved the panel but wanted to have time to ask more questions and hear more from each person than time allowed.

The design should be intentional and well-thought-out.

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Here’s how I’ve put together this activity: I always get great feedback from teachers and students with this activity…they love it!

By the final round, about half of the students will typically have a book that they want to check out.

Then you can decide whether you want to pursue that person… Employing a speed dating model in the classroom in place of a panel can be an effective way for students to learn a variety of perspectives in a short amount of time.

This model improves and enhances student engagement and “creates learning that is active, collaborative, and fosters learning relationships” (Zepke and Leach, 2013).

Ask them to synthesize their learning and report to the group their general conclusions.

Then, create an opportunity for each student, or pair of students, to share what they learned with the rest of the class.

The panel discussion is a valuable, time-tested teaching technique used in classrooms of all types to help students understand the experiences of a particular group of people. As I moved into the graduate classroom as a teacher of students studying higher education I realized I had a short time (one semester) to introduce and expose my students to the vast array of functions in the area of student affairs/student services.

My previous experiences facilitating successful panel discussions led me to believe that a panel would be a good method to use here. In an effort to create a panel that represented a diversity of functions and practitioners, I ended up with too many panelists and, consequently, an ineffective exercise.

Each round has to be long enough for the students to gather some information and short enough to get to each panelist during the activity. Most important is to leave time for reflection for the students.

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