DoingCL - Pause Procedure





Pause Procedure

The pause procedure can alleviate some common failings of lectures. The lecture approach assumes students learn auditorally, and research shows even the most motivated student's concentration declines after 10-15 minutes (Stuart and Rutherford, 1978). Lectures require students to play passive roles and assume all students need the same information at the same pace. By using three two-minute pauses during the lecture (about every 13 to 18 minutes), the students are given the chance to clarify, assimilate, and retain the information presented during the prior mini-lecture. The pause procedure (Rowe, 1976; Rowe, 1980; Rowe, 1983; Ruhl, et al., 1987; Bonwell, 1996), can be used as a vehicle to carry into the traditional lecture a variety of active and collaborative learning structures. One example is for the instructor to initiate the pause by asking students to turn to their neighbor and summarize the main ideas the instructor has just presented. Johnson, Johnson, and Smith (1991) suggest alternating 10-15 minute mini-lectures with informal group work that addresses some aspect of the mini-lecture (e.g., specific homework problems, non-graded quizzes, quickwrites, student-student discussion, note comparison). An initial exercise could consist of new or previously assigned questions that relate to the upcoming lecture. The final exercise may be problem solving (and finished at home), more note comparison, or a quickwrite (e.g., List three major points in the last lecture and one point you're confused on.).

Bonwell, C. C. (1996). "Enhancing the lecture: Revitalizing a traditional format" In Sutherland, T. E., and Bonwell, C. C. (Eds.), Using active learning in college classes: A range of options for faculty, New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 67.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., and Smith, K. (1991). Cooperative learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4). Washington, DC: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development.

Rowe, M. B. (1976). "The pausing principle - Two invitations to inquiry", Research on College Science Teaching, 5, 258.

Rowe, M. B. (1980). "Pausing principles and their effect on reasoning in science", New Directions in Community Colleges, 31, 27.

Rowe, M. B. (1983). "Getting chemistry off the killer course list", Journal of Chemical Education, 60, 954.

Ruhl, K. L., Hughes, C. A., and Schloss, P. J. (1987). "Using the pause procedure to enhance lecture recall", Teacher Education and Special Education, 10, 14.

Stuart, J. and Rutherford, R. (Septmeber, 1978). "Medical student concentration during lectures", Lancet, 2514.

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