Learn How to K.I.S.S.

by: Thalia K. Velazquez Quiles

Recently a few students and faculty members of the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez were shown how to K.I.S.S.

The Keep Instructions Short and Simple method is UPRM grad students Kevin R. Bathke and Didier C. Brunot’s way of helping students focus and to understand what is expected of them in their assignments.

“The first semester that I started teaching, my Power Point presentations were so long that I lost students attention by half of the presentation,” said Bathke at his Learn How to K.I.S.S. workshop. “I then adapted the K.I.S.S. in the classroom and it actually worked, students were handing in better assignments.”


Flyer by Kevin R. Bathke for the Learn How to K.I.S.S workshop.

On February 26 at 10:30 a.m., approximately 26 people, including professors, graduate and undergraduate students, showed up at Chardon 326 craving to know what all this K.I.S.S.ing is about.

Bathke and his partner Brunot, worked together at ­this workshop leaving the public in awe with how something as simple as the K.I.S.S. had never occurred to them.

The K.I.S.S. is about communicating with the students and actually reaching out to them and helping them understand what teachers want from them in an easier way. It’s the teacher getting into the students shoes and viewing the lecture given from a student’s perspective and finding a way to maintain them interested in it.

“I like to go straight to the point, my presentations are from three to eight slides maximum,” said Bathke.

If something can be easily said why prolong the explanation. From a student’s point of view they prefer to be told exactly what they have to do than to have a long set of instructions that for them sometimes don’t even make sense.

Brunot did a dynamic of making a paper boat. The first time he went through the instructions very quickly and not even the professors present at the workshop were able to keep up with him and complete the task. After explaining, what is the K.I.S.S., he repeated the dynamic, but this second time he went through them slowly and checked on the audience making sure they understood what had to be done and the results of the dynamic were different.

This was enough to prove to the public that the K.I.S.S. did work.

It’s simple to understand, less talk and more action that’s all there is to it.

Not all students have the same learning skills. While some prefer visual explanations others may prefer them audible or they prefer to go over the instructions themselves.

The K.I.S.S. is a way of satisfying all the students at once.

Students aren’t the only ones who can take advantage of the K.I.S.S., but so can professors. By keeping instructions simple and short they go over the lecture in less time leaving the students with more time to do their assignments in class and clear their doubts immediately.

“I now give a class in 15 minutes and the remaining 30 minutes are hands on act,” he said. “Plus I even have time for students to give me feedback.”


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