Looking back on when I learned to drive I have many fond memories. I remember those early morning hours spent entering and exiting the highway, countless times attempting to parallel parking, the endless hours reviewing traffic safety rules in the classroom and being so lucky as to sit next to Charity Lisles, my secret crush. From all those experiences one key message has stayed with me - one I think of every time I take the wheel; the rule of ten and two. Coach Karl, my driver's education instructor and the school's tennis coach, would beat into our heads that we needed to keep our hands at ten and two on the steering wheel if we wanted to have maximum control of the car. I can still hear his voice to this day when my hands aren't in the proper position.
I think his message of ten and two is a message that is equally applicable in teaching as it is in driving. We, as educators, can use the ten and two rule to enhance our control of student learning. Here is how it works:
Every ten minutes of instruction, students need at least two opportunities to process that information - either independently through writing or better yet, by processing the information with a partner, using a Kagan structure or other form of cooperative learning strategy. This opportunity to process information is crucial to learning. Unfortunately, too often as educators we don't allow students time to digest information.
As I work with educators around the United States, I hear teacher's default to thinking about instruction from a pure engagement perspective only. They often talk about the idea that students can be engaged for their age in minutes. But engagement is not enough! We must remember engagement is great - but learning is the final destination!
Give it a try, I dare you...make that a double-dog dare. Design your next lesson using the rule of ten and two and see how much more student's learn!