Here's an interesting phenomenon I've noticed: my students don't follow written instructions well.
I've been teaching a high school, lab science course for 6 years now, and I'm still surprised at how poorly my students follow written instructions. At first I thought it was a random event and subsequent classes would be better. Not so. And, based on my casual observations, the problem is getting worse. I often find myself being asked a question; the answer to which is clearly stated right in front of them. We don't have laptops for all the students, but we are almost at that point.
Over the years I have modified my lab sheets to include more pictures, and I highlight key words. This has helped somewhat (since a picture is worth a Kword), but making them does require more effort. The resulting lab sheets are better, of course, but this is beside my point.
I'd like the opinions and observations of other teachers with regard to this subject. My students are mostly Hispanic, but my non-Hispanic students have similar difficulties. I'm not sure if this behavior is normal (I remember when I was a kid making model airplanes and often not looking at the instructions) or is part of a growing trend.
Is following written instructions becoming a lost skill?
Tags: instructions, written
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