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Introducing TBL to your Students

The way that you introduce TBL can have a large effect on the success of your course!

Larry Michaelsen introduces his class to TBL

It it important that you regularly and openly describe your rationales for using TBL with your students. Some student resistance is common with students claiming “we pay you to teach” or “testing before you taught us anything makes no sense”. These feelings are out there, so you should make sure you can eloquently convey your rationales for using TBL.

A good starting point is to review the overall course objectives with the class, for example Michaelsen’s:

  • Ensure that students master the course subject
  • Develop student ability to use course concepts in thinking and problem solving
  • Prepare students to be life-long learners
  • Develop students’ interpersonal and team interaction skills
  • Have students enjoy the course

Many instructors conduct a demonstration Readiness Assurance Process with their students in the first class. This gives both student and instructor the opportunity to understand and practice the mechanics of Readiness Assurance Process.

Some Instructors base their demo RAT on the pedagogic concepts behind TBL. We complete a RAP test based on the course syllabus, giving the students a few minutes to review the syllabus, then conducting the iRAP’s, tRap’s, the appeals process, and then ending with a bit of reflection on the process to reinforce your rationales with the students.


  • Jim Sibley used this orientation-rat based on this syllabus, to introduce TBL to second year Civil Engineering students.




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