I sometimes use the term “just-in-time” in regards to teaching, especially as it applies to content. Originating in the manufacturing world, the basic idea is that materials are acquisitioned only as they are needed, so that companies don’t bear high inventory costs for materials sitting around waiting to be needed.
This concepts applies well in teaching and learning. Students of all ages learn more completely, more deeply, when they have the opportunity to immediately apply their learning. Such a situation presented itself to me this week.
Eight Meliora students are collaborating on writing a Western genre short story. Each of them is responsible for developing a character representing a single Western archetype, and for developing parts of the plot that include their character. Yes, a tall order! We have had a series of discussions, and the students have made a number of decisions as to how they are going to tackle the project.
One question that came up was regarding point of view. They decided pretty quickly that a third person point of view was the most reasonable choice. We then dove into which type of third person — close or omniscient? I realized, based on student reactions, that these were terms some of them understood, others did not. So, they received this assignment this week. It is a combination of learning about point of view, and then immediately applying it to work they are doing. I am confident this just-in-time approach to learning this concept is going to “stick” much better than if the students had a lesson as part of their grammar text and then moved on to the next lesson without a #realworld application.