I was recently with a group of math coaches and teachers who said the strategy of "I do, we do, you do" had fallen out of favor in their district because it encourages students not to think on their own, not to engage in problem-solving.  Thoughts?

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I do not understand how that can be. It's presenting, modeling, and then having students practice on their own. Good modeling helps students raise their level of understanding, offering them a greater chance of success. If there are times when they want creative problem solving in order to see how kids think or to get them to come up with their own strategies, then, no, they wouldn't want to model first. However, I would think that wouldn't be a daily occurrence. I'm an English teacher. I wouldn't want my students to figure out how to create an essay without some modeling. I don't think they'd figure it out all that well. However, if they knew how to write an essay, and I wanted them to think about the different ways they might approach a topic through writing, I would have them problem solve on their own and create a discussion opportunity. My fellow instructional coach (in science) just entered and said, "Well, if the teachers mean they tell students the answer to, say, number 5 and then ask the students to mimic the response, then, it's a bad practice. But, modeling is always good."

Try googling "Optimal Learning Model". You'll get a good chart that explains the roles of the teacher and the students during different stages of modeling. I've used it with teachers when I was a principal and often share it with other principals in my role as a consultant. 

I just printed the Optimal Learning Model Across the Curriculum guide. It looks really good; I'll use it with our teachers. Thanks for sharing.

Don't you have to model and show students first so that they can learn the process? Problem solving can happen when you don't like the way someone shows you how to do something...you find a better way...or a way that fits you better. I don't like how people seem to jump away from the "traditional" methods and discredit them completely.

I totally agree, Katie. I wanted to offer some perhaps reasons someone might suggest the practice wouldn't work. I, however, always try to model first. It makes sense. I'd show my child how to ride a bike before I put her on one and told her to figure it out!!! Seems logical to me.

This strategy is necessary for many different topics. However, do we always need to present the method of solving a particular problem to our students all the time? I use a program called M3 (Mentoring Mathematical Minds). It is geared towards advanced students and encourages critical thinking and problem solving skills. In the real world we are not always given a hand to figure out our problems, we must figure out a way to solve them on our own. Although, without proper guidance in the early years we are setting our students up for failure.


I guess I am a proponent for providing students the basics but encouraging them to come to their own conclusions and methods for solving the skill. 

Makes sense to me. We have a great number of math teachers who do the same. I've even thought of doing CGI Grammar!!! I give students the sentence and have them figure out what could either embellish or what is wrong with it and explain. There are lots of ways to engage learning; I know that. Keep on keepin on, Karyn! Your students are fortunate to have you.

My principal always wants us to use this model.  However, she does always say that they need independent time- but it's something we are definately encouraged to use in my school.  I find it helpful, especially as many have pointed out, that we need to model new skills for our students before we just send them out to work on their own.  Aren't we supposed to scaffold? 



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