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Teaching in Sequence vs. Teaching Standalone Classes

By Yasmin Sharbaf

Editor’s note: For Spark 2021, teachers had the option of teaching a class that met once (a standalone class) or a class that met thrice (a sequence class).

During all the time I taught for ESP, I always chose to teach sequence classes (except for Splash where I taught one class as a substitute teacher). I believed that I would have time to get to know the students better while also having enough time to develop the curriculum and teach as much as I can during the three or six weeks I have.

However, this time was different; I taught a standalone class instead. To be completely honest, it was all by an accident. When I signed up to teach my class “Introduction to the Stock Market and Cryptocurrency,” I meant to teach it as a sequence class but got mixed up and unintentionally signed to teach sequence, which means I would be teaching the same class for multiple sessions I choose for different students. 

At first, I was opposed to the idea and thought that my class would not be as good as I wanted or that students would not learn in one session. But after teaching my class, I found many advantages of teaching a topic stand-alone than sequence.

  1. You have more time to focus on one presentation. I put all my energy and effort into developing one presentation and making sure it was as good as it can be. I also made sure there was no jargon and students could get basic information about the topic from one lecture.
  2. You can revamp your course as you go. On top of that, I was able to improve my presentation and slides as I go. This is mainly because as I taught a session, I felt that my next class was always better. After all, I knew what my weaknesses were and how the class could be improved based on students’ feedback and reactions.
  3. Students gain more curiosity about a topic. This is a big bonus! I would also debate that students focus more. When you are teaching a topic for one time only, students will be more attentive since this is the only chance they have to ask questions and learn about the topic you are teaching. I think one session develops students’ curiosity and pushes them to learn about the topic later on their own.

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