Teaching Students How to Use a Drill
Does using tools take following directions, or does it take skill? Today in class I showed students the difference between using a drill and using a drill efficiently. My approach to teaching is somewhat unconventional. I explain and demonstrate how to do something, however I never give the whole story right away. I want to see if the students can figure out other ways, or techniques, or avenues, to accomplish tasks. I want my students to learn to use their intuition, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. I get them started but then I let them figure it out.
Out of all the things I teach, I find that students are the slowest in the discovery of using a drill efficiently. If you ask a student to drill a hole, put a screw into the hole, and then remove the screw again, it will take them way too long. Like good direction-following-students, they carefully twist the chuck that releases the drill bit, then they carefully twist the chuck the other way to put in the screw-tip bit, all the while not realizing that they will never finish any large scale project at that speed. I rarely get a student who discovers the more efficient way of changing the bit in a drill, even when I allow less time to do things.
So today, I caved and showed the students the right way to use a drill efficiently. This was a very difficult task for most, however there were a few who are getting it rather quickly. Using a drill correctly is like reading out loud. You need to be one step ahead while interpreting what the story is (what needs to be done to build your creation). Using a drill is a way to interpret your creative thoughts just as reading out loud shows your ability to understand and articulate ideas and stories.
When you learned how to read out loud, you learned to properly project the words on the page. You didn’t just learn to read each individual word, you learned to flow each individual word into a sentence while understanding what you were reading. When you learn how to use a drill efficiently, you allow your creative thoughts to flow smoothly without interfering with your innovative thinking.
After students can drill a hole, put in a screw, and then remove the screw in under eight seconds they feel like they can create anything and nothing can get in their way. Remember the day you could read out loud without hesitation and were able to still understand the words you were speaking? Using tools efficiently is critical to the problem solving process. Some things just can’t be taught by telling, some things must be learned by doing. The more students know by doing, the more they know they are capable of. The impossible becomes possible.
Practice makes perfect