I came across this video on how to give an Ignite talk. It got me thinking. (Surprise! Surprise!) An Ignite talk is a presentation in which you must present your material within 5 minutes. You must use 20 slides which auto advance every 15 seconds. It is amazing to watch how people are able to get their point across quickly and efficiently.
A few years ago, I was working with my peer coach (Yeah Jill!). I wanted to shorten the amount of time I took on direct instruction to get my students working more quickly. I felt that the longer I went on, the more my students became bored or disengaged. So I set a goal to try to finish my direct instruction and get students to work within the first 10 minutes of class. Jill observed me and timed my instruction. Sure enough, by the tenth minute, all students were at their seats started. What's more, Jill observed the students. They were more engaged and excited and ready to begin their work. Of course I paused their work time throughout class to go over questions and make observations, but students appreciated hearing the instruction in small chunks rather than all at once and they had the advantage of context when I went over those next pieces.
Now I don't really expect teachers to teach in 15 second clips, but it would be an interesting experiment to see how teachers do if they focus on shortening their direct instruction and getting students working. Who knows? Maybe it would IGNITE some learning!