Defined: “I Can Teach”, A Reflective Assessment Strategy

Ellis & Denton (2010) describe outcomes for this strategy.

I Can Teach is designed to empower students with the thought that knowledge is something you use, not just something you keep in the storehouse of the mind until examination time.  This strategy asks students to cross a threshold from learning as something only for oneself to learning as something you pass along to others.  Learning is transformed from acquisition to performance.  You know the pleasure of helping people learn.  It is time to share that pleasure with your students.  Use it or lose it. (p. 80)

Practically, the techniques used in this strategy involve getting students as learners to turn around and become teachers to those who do not understand.  Each student can also be asked to share what they have learned in an instructional way with siblings or parents.  The authors even suggest that a broader learning community within the school can develop if I Can Teach is done across grade levels, classrooms, or even outside of normal class times (peer-mentor or mentor-mentee).

Allowing time to reflect on the effectiveness of the “teacher” is a part of this strategy that helps further enhance the impact of this exercise.  Teachers can thus model some of their own openness to improving and refining their own instructional techniques—a virtuous cycle.

Finally the authors warn that getting started on this strategy may be hard, so an exercise brainstorming the similarities and differences for the concepts to be taught may be used.


Ellis A.K., & Denton, D.W. (2010) Teaching, learning, and assessment together:  Reflective assessments for middle and high school mathematics and science.  Larchmont, NY:  Eye on Education.  Amazon. Google Books.

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