Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Its time to bring this blog to an end and to do this I will give my thoughts and observations on this last semester as a liar. I honestly loved this approach to teaching for a number of reasons. Here is what I loved about being a liar:

1. Students were more engaged. I found the class seemed very alert compared to previous classes and did a very nice job in helping with the flow of the class. I found this to be true when having discussions about the material especially in the form of participation. (probably because they weren’t asleep)

2. They asked better questions. When I would get a question concerning the material the questions were much better and relevant to the material. This gave me the opportunity to spin the question back to them and tell them to find the answer. I did this at least 3 or more times week, which only happened a handful of times during a semester previous to this experience.

3. The book became the source of relevant information. This is where my lies came from and the Internet didn’t provide the answers they needed for the lies I was telling in a number of instances.

4. I was no longer the expert. I couldn’t be trusted which meant I am no longer the source of all information and answers. The students had to come up with the answers themselves or ask people in their group to help them with the answers, or turn to their books. This gave me the opportunity to work more with students who had real problems with material and not answer a simple question for a student because they wanted a quick answer. (forced them to be more independent in their learning)

5. Its challenging. I found in my attempt to find the lies that it was really difficult to identify lies and it forced me to look closer into the material as a result I found I learned more about spices as a result.

6. All is not what it seems. This is a life lesson, especially in this age of political mud slinging and misinformation in the media and online(Wikipedia). Students had the chance to see first hand what believing everything you hear can do. (remember a quiz they got which was completely lies they all failed) Challenge what you hear and what people say and “Seek the Truth” (class motto).

7. Research. The class did a great deal of research, whether they knew it or not. In researching the material I found that students learned more than if I would have told it to them. It has been shown students retain more of what they learn themselves through an active means than if it is told to them. As teachers we know there is a great deal of research behind that statement.

When I first read about lying in January, I had no idea what I was in for to say the least. I read the article and thought “this is a fun way to engage students in listening to what may otherwise be a boring lecture “ and kind of chuckled at the prospect of lying. I had no idea the ways I could use it and the benefits to me and the students it could have in an educational setting. My students responded very nicely as well and in a survey I did at the end of the year 9 of 27 students made comments about how they liked me lying and no one said they hated my lying when asked what they liked least about the course. Here are some of the comments I got (unedited of course):

“Some things i like about WAHG 1 are how Mr. Heiser trys hard to make the class fun and interesting and i like his teaching plan, and i think the idea of "identifying the lie" is good because it makes you think and puts your brain work harder because you have to think into the topic more.”

“The things i likied most about this class is the fact that you lied everyday. It keeped us on our toes”

“Well you should keep lieing, and you totaly rig that game of kickball.”(end of year game)

The other six comments were simply variations of “I liked the lies…”

In conclusion, I would recommend this approach to anyone. The benefits of teaching this way were prevalent everyday and only time will tell if there are any long term benefits this approach had on my students (if any). Before I go I would like to thank Steve Dembo who encouraged me, after seeing my presentation on “Lying for learning”, to blog about and share this experience with you, it has been a real great piece for me to reflect on my teaching and make me a better teacher! Thank you Steve I found this blogging experience to be a rewarding experience in itself! To the readers I would like to thank you for reading because without you I wouldn’t have continued to write about it. Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Turning the tables (how I did)

Let me apologize for how long it has been since my last entry. End of the year stuff has kept me from blogging about how I did when the tables got turned on me. It will be officially two weeks since my students, finished their presentations where they had their chance to lie to me and the class in their presentations. I had 9 presentations to view and identify the lies. As mentioned in my previous post I told them how many of these presentations I've seen over the last 10 years and told them they would really have to bring the "heat" if they wanted to sneak a lie past me (my challenge). Needless to say I failed miserably! Now this is an omission I may with pride because they did a fantastic job from top to bottom and I'm very proud to have made this challenge and "lost". I will admit, it was difficult, to say the least, identifying the lies of my students, it was obvious they took my challenge very seriously! They did a fantastic job masking their deceptions and one of the students used the no lie trick I got them with multiple times throughout the semester. As mentioned, I did a lousy job in finding the lies, in fact, I was able to identify 1 (sort of) lie in the 9 presentations. Not very good for the self proclaimed “expert”. After this little experience, I can clearly say that I can see the difficulty in what I was doing everyday with my class but I also see the value.

What I found valuable about being lied to is this:

1. I paid very close attention to the presenters and my mind was not able to stray, for if it did I would surly miss the lie.(as we know now that didn't matter)

2. When I went and researched the information to find the lies I found I learned more about the topic then previously known because the requirement to dive into the information to find the lie. (I researched some of them and found the answers but technology wasn't part of the deal for identifying their lies)

Now the lie I was able to find (sort of) was a contradiction in the presentation I picked up and had the student not contradicted himself I would have not identified the lie. Though my explanation of what the lie was wasn’t the best I felt it was adequate and as I see them from now until they graduate roaming the halls that I didn’t get skunked by their lying (sort of)…

Lesson: I don't know if this is a lesson but I did notice that the presentations were much better this year. It could be because they wanted to get the lie past me and did a great deal of research on their topic or something else but for whatever the reason is way they were the winners!

Next Entry: Final entry (recap and analysis)

*Note about Final entry: I had the students do anonymous surveys about the class, my techniques, interest, and will be looking over and summarizing this information for the next few weeks. The last entry for this blog will be June 23rd.