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The Traffic Light Method : Getting Instant Feedback for Lectures

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Increase Effectivity of Lecture using The Traffic Light Method

Honestly, I don’t know what actually this strategy is called. I simply called this the Traffic Light. This strategy is very helpful both for teacher and students. I suggest you use this method, when you are having a lecture session, or individual work.

While our teaching method nowadays heavily relies on students centred learning and hands-on activities, there are times when you need to apply direct teaching or lecturing. The problem with this method, however, is that we usually get inadequate feedback from students. We talk and talk, but not realising that students are having difficulties keeping up with what we are saying.

For this reason, the traffic light method will be quite helpful to keep track of students' understanding.

I discovered this method when I was attending a webinar about two years ago. Since the webinar is heavily relying on lecturing, the speaker uses this method to check participants' understanding.

How to Use The Traffic Light Method

In a webinar or a normal class, students are given red, yellow, and green signal giver. For a normal offline class, this signal giver can be red, yellow, and green paper cups. Or it can be coloured cards. Anything that can be seen easily from the teacher’s side and can be stacked will work. For a webinar, this signal can be a coloured reaction button, or simply typing R, Y, G on the chat column.

Before beginning the lecture, the teacher distributes red, yellow, and green paper cups to each student. The teacher should then explain the rules of the traffic light. Teacher will divide the lecture into short sessions. From time to time, teachers will ask students to give signals based on their understanding. Students shall give green signal by putting the green paper cups at the top of the stack if students have no problem understanding, the pace of the lecture is good, no question. When the students need to think again, not quite sure about their understanding, feeling the need to be given more time to process by themselves, they should signal yellow by putting the yellow cup at the top of the stack. If the students have difficulties in keeping up with the lecture and feel the need to ask help from the teacher, they should signal red. The teacher then will address the problem.

Red Yellow Green Signal Means in Traffic Light Method

Make sure everyone understands the rules by showing the green signal. Only after that you may start the lecturing session. Don’t forget to stop after each session to check the student's cup colour. If no signal shows red, you may then continue.

The Benefit of Traffic Light Method

This method is intended to help teachers to get feedback while they are giving lectures. For each section, teacher and students can reflect, is the lecture okay to be continued? Is there any part that should be repeated? Is the pace of the lecture okay for students?

By doing so, students are also not feeling left behind. They will feel less anxious to call for help or ask questions.

This method can also be used when students are having individual work during the class. For example during mathematics or science lessons, students are practising solving problems on their own. Teachers can use the same method and check students' progress by seeing the cup colour. Address the red ones first, then you can check the yellow ones.

Have you ever experienced when many students are calling you for help at the same time? “Miss, Miss, Miss, please help me!” And they become very noisy, right? This method will reduce the noise level of the class. It may take some repetition for students to get used to this method. But when you are consistent, you will reduce the noise and anxiety of both you and the students, and you will get instant feedback from the lesson.

What do you think? Will you try this method for your lesson?
Nia M Wardani
Hi! Call me Nia. I discovers interesting things in life and I love to share them with all people around the world.

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