Set expectations during workshops for a focused classroom by redirecting off-task behavior and showing students how to take their work to the next level.

  • It can be difficult to create a collaborative, focused community in computer science workshops.
  • Set Expectations: Remind that there are a lot of students who want to take the class, so if they don’t remain interested in the course and would rather spend class time goofing around, you will find someone more interested to fill their spot.
    • Note: The applicability of this idea depends on your classroom environment.
    • In Nelson’s workshops, there are many more students interested in the material than can participate in the class.
      • Use this fact as a way to motivate full engagement.
    • Only remind students they can be replaced by another, eager participant when relevant.
  • Redirect off-task behavior: During a workshop, walk around the classroom and check in with students to see how they're progressing to redirect off-task behavior.
    • It is common for people to get distracted and switch over to checking email.
    • When you notice this behavior, ask a question like "how is the exercise going?" or "what exercise are you working on?" in a friendly tone to get them back to work.
  • Take work to the next level: When students finish a task early, make it clear how they can keep going by contributing to the classroom community or learning more.
    • For example, you can encourage students who finish early to:
      • help others with the assigned task or
      • explain ways they can build on and continue the exercise.

    More about this tip

    External Source

    Interview with Gregory Nelson.