Eighth grade math teacher Bob Brems was unhappy with inconsistent results and reports from substitutes about student misbehavior. Then he had a brainstorm – turn over the teaching reins to his students in his absence.
In this Education World article, Brems describes his preparation process and results:
I have witnessed a handful of benefits from using students as teachers:
- Students are more alert and on task when another student is leading the class.
- Student interest is piqued by the change in approach.
- Some students benefit from instruction or review led by a classmate. The difference in presentation of the concept helps them better understand the material.
- The student-as-teacher usually displays a level of understanding of the concepts that is greater than the understanding displayed during a regular class. “I don’t want to look like an idiot in front of everyone!” one student explained.
- Students often are better behaved when the class returns to the regular format. When questioned about that, students-as-teachers often expressed empathy with a teacher in front of a class. They related how frustrating it was to repeat the same thing several times, asking: “Why don’t they listen?”
So, is this something you might try in your own classroom? Are your students ready? Do you think the subs would go along? Will your administration allow it?