3 Ratios For Better Teaching

Dave Levin writes:

According to (Barbara Frederickson and Marcial Losada's) research, normal human function is characterized by a ratio of 2.5 positive interactions for every 1 negative one.

This ratio climbs to 4.3 to 1 for optimal functioning, and then 5 to 1 for successful marriages :) .

It’s important to note that these interactions are often less than 3 seconds.

So how do you do that?

1. Smile more

2. Circulate the room more during lessons noticing and commending positive behaviors and work

3. Use kid’s name more when praising work or behavior in one on one interactions (remember growth mindset praise focuses on effort and actions)

...Misconception Alert:

Every interaction must be positive (misconception). Remember this is a ratio. According to research by Daniel Kahneman there are 20,000 moments in the day. This means there is plenty of room for negative interactions :) – we are just looking to have the ratio tilt more in the positive direction.

The other two ratios:

Increase the ratio of varied questioning techniques (playing basketball) to static questioning (playing catch) and the ratio of higher level questioning to lower level questioning.

Think of static questioning as a game of catch between the teacher and one student at a time and varied questioning as techniques that have students talking in a variety of different formats (to the teacher, to each other, whole-group oral response, raise your hand if…, in writing to each other, etc…)

and this one

Increase ratio of independent practice compared to guided practice.

Are we having enough sustained, structured, and rigorous independent practice so that our students have sufficient “at-bats” to develop and demonstrate mastery of what they are learning? Toward that end, independent practice allows us to have time in class to work deeply with individual/small groups of students on their level – those who are struggling, those on level, and those ahead. Providing real-time feedback on the quality of work is an essential part of maximizing the effectiveness of student practice.

Worth reading the whole thing.

Dave recommends that 33% of lessons be independent practice, though he lists several caveats, too.

I would add that your ratio of dinners scarfed down in 5 minutes instead of eating like a normal person, so you can quickly get back online to Google cool stuff for tomorrow's lesson, should be 1 out of every 5 years.

Not twice a week.