Prompting a discussion on learning strategies

Last week I played a trick on my advanced level students. I gave them this article from Time Magazine’s website that makes the claim that higlighting a text is a waste of time. The claim is based on a study led by Kent State University professor John Dunlosky.
I told the students to read the text silently. Of course, the highlighters came out in an instant, and the students started diligently working on the article – underlining, highlighting, circling words.
After a few minutes the first students started to pause and looked at me, puzzled. A minute later the first one giggled. Then, the first hand was raised: “Mr Schenk, is that a joke?”
The activity sparked a discussion on the students’ learning habits – from flashcards to copying homework on the school bus. It ended up being a great “meta-lesson”.

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