This is a much contextualised word depending on your subject area. The over arcing concept is that that the students must show by whatever outcome you choose that they have learnt something new and put that learning into practice. The pit falls of this are the legitimacy of the pedagogy put in place in order to measure that the students have made said progress in their learning. The argument that is always put forth is that too often one activity that is concentrated on that skill is not an accurate enough measure to securely say that the student has effectively learnt and retained the information that they have just acquired. The teacher must therefore make sure that the demonstrate activity that is created includes enough scope for the students to use their new learning in a VARIETY of ways in order to retain the skill rather than simply the knowledge. A demonstrate activity should consider the higher order thinking skills of SOLO and BLOOMS to make sure that the students are accessing the new learning from a variety of angles. The progress of learning comes from testing it within different contexts, ranges, choices and depth. A question / answer demonstrate is therefore not substantial enough to say that the student knows how to use that skill. Take for example the idea of percentages – if a student answers 100 questions that ask him or her to work out the percentage of this or that does that mean without doubt that the student can effectively use percentages when it ultimately matters? So when faced with the reality of a “cash Loan” advertisement with small print of 2075% APR on a £1000 loan, are they able to put their learning of percentages into practice to work out the benefits or negatives of this? Or how about comparing benefits of a long term bank loan against the short term credit card APR? Or even in a shop working out if the three or two deal really is better than the individual price?
As a teacher do we complete a skill in our subject and then move on? I haven’t met one yet who does – skills are building blocks and thus our demonstrate activities should reflect this; this means our students outcomes become more complex and we are asking them to show they can use a range of skills together. This is relational thinking – SOLO Taxonomy! And a skill that in my opinion is NOT addressed enough.
Making links is THE key to our students’ success. Linking the skill to another skill; and then that skill to another subject; and then the subjects’ skills to their own life: this is the basis of all learning, right? So shouldn’t it be the FOCUS in the classroom, after all if the students can’t link the learning to themselves how will they engage with it; know that it is useful; push themselves at it? The demonstrate activity should consider how the students put their new learning within the context of what they NEED it for and how it links to their past learning. Do we cater for this? How can we cater for this?
Therefore a demonstrate activity that works for the students should include some of the following:
• Variety of approaches
• Contextualised to real life
• Clear progression steps
• Variety of outcomes
• A chance to pair, group and individualise outcome
• MAKE LINKS to other skills
Some examples of demonstrate activities that I have used are:
• SOLO thinking (Taxonomy) building blocks / stations
• Pyramid thinking (Blooms) towers
• Learning grids
• Paper chains / hangers