Louis Mangione

Innovations in Education, Inc.

September 2016 Idea of the Month

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Train Tracks

Students line up “on the tracks,” then step off the tracks when they disagree with the instructor’s statements, or commit to action at a certain point in time.

This activity is most effective when it progresses by degrees, stages, or contexts. For example: The teacher suggests, “A bystander should intervene in a conflict…” At the first sign of difficulty,

  • Upon hearing raised voices
  • When witnessing physical aggression
  • If someone has been injured
  • Never

Teacher asks a follow-up question. “With whom would you be less likely to intervene?”

  • A parent
  • An employer
  • A friend
  • A stranger
  • A young child

Successive groups of students move off the tracks in reaction to the information. Debriefing allows students to define and defend their position, or to add context or qualifying explanations.

Use it in you class and let me know how it went! louis@mangione.com

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