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HomeHigher EducationComponents-Work-Reply-Clarification (FWAE): A Educating and Studying Technique

Components-Work-Reply-Clarification (FWAE): A Educating and Studying Technique

In his seminal textual content, Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, Ernest Boyer (1990) directed consideration to the scholarship of instructing and studying (SoTL). These college who efficiently interact in SoTL deal with crafting a significant studying expertise for the coed.  They use deliberate practices, that are centered on efficient instructing, in course instruction. 

SoTL requires that college take a constructivist view of their day by day work, thereby changing into reflective practitioners whose efforts have a demonstrable sensible bent of their classroom settings (Levinson, 2003). Merely put, college who interact in SoTL analysis are eager about analyzing their instructing practices and the way they affect scholar studying.  These scholar practitioners frequently search new and progressive methods to current the curriculum after which take a retrospective take a look at how that innovation improves scholar studying.  Those that conduct SoTL analysis emphasize instructing for studying (Lyons, McIntosh, and Kysilka, 2002).

The process

Given my propensity for learning-centered instruction, I frequently search methods to include SoTL analysis into my lessons. Components-Work-Reply-Clarification (FWAE) is a learning-centered technique that may be simply deployed in arithmetic and statistics instruction.  It has confirmed to be an efficient four-step technique via which I mannequin fixing phrase issues in coursework.

I encourage my college students to make use of this step-by-step technique to arrive at a structured answer to utility issues (phrase issues). The FWAE technique is useful and steered for each conventional mathematical problem-solving, in addition to utility issues, frequent in superior arithmetic and statistics curricula. Accordingly, I’ve used this learning-centered technique in each introductory and senior-level arithmetic and statistics programs to reinforce scholar studying success.  

How does the FWAE technique work?  It gives a four-step structured methodology to assist college students in critically analyzing and fixing utility issues.

  • Step 1: Typically, a method is related to the answer of a arithmetic and/or statistics downside. If no particular method and/or equation is related to a given phrase downside, the unique expression may be substituted for step 1 within the FWAE answer technique. 
  • Step 2: Work – I confer with it as “plug and chug.”  Right here, college students extract wanted data from the phrase downside and substitute these values into the suitable mathematical or statistical method.
  • Step 3: Reply – College students are required to state the “reply” to the mathematical or statistical downside. 
  • Step 4: Clarification – Ideally, as soon as a phrase downside is solved, the coed ought to return to phrases to make clear that means. 


The aim of FWAE permits college students to develop a strategic technique for fixing mathematical and statistical issues.  This structured method permits college students to develop a constant technique for fixing issues: method, work, reply, rationalization.  FWAE gives a tried-and-true technique for modeling problem-solving. It’s helpful in serving to college students to attach with course content material in an lively studying neighborhood. It may be considered a approach of incorporating social and emotional studying (SEL) observe into on-line supply, thereby subliminally introducing compassion and consistency within the educational course of.


Particularly for these college students who say, “I hate phrase issues. I’ve by no means been good at fixing them.” FWAE counters that declare and gives a structured technique that aids college students within the growth of problem-solving expertise.  Confirmed to be a helpful exercise to elicit scholar engagement and tutorial efficiency, FWAE additionally helps to impact small-group interplay throughout implementation of dwell chat classes and/or workplace hours. 


Whereas I’ve used the FWAE technique virtually solely in arithmetic and statistics instruction, it’s not restricted to those disciplines.  Any course the place college students are required to create a product deliverable might profit from a structured method.  As essential, the FWAE technique faucets college students’ use of important evaluation expertise, studying comprehension, and writing throughout the curriculum. 

Under are two examples of easy methods to use the FWAE techniqueThey’re for illustrative functions solely and use primary issues in an introductory arithmetic and a primary statistics course, respectively.

Instance 1: Discover the world of a room that’s 10 ft vast and 12 ft lengthy.
Step 1 Components: Space = Size x Width. (Use the method for locating the world of a rectangle.)
Step 2 Work: 10 ft. x 12 ft.
Step 3 Reply: 120 sq. ft.
Step 4 Clarification: The world of the room is 120 sq. ft or 120 ft2. Space is measured in sq. items. Toes x ft is sq. ft or ft raised to the second energy. Keep in mind that that is an utility of exponents.

Instance 2: Given a imply of 100, normal deviation of 5.2, what’s the z-score for 120?
Step 1 Components: Z = (Uncooked rating – Imply)/Customary deviation. (Use the method for locating a standardized rating.)
Step 2 Work: Z =  (120-100)/5.2
Step 3 Reply: 3.85
Step 4 Clarification: This tells us the rating 120 is 3.85 normal deviations above the imply.  It could seemingly be an outlier for symmetrical knowledge the place most knowledge are normally discovered inside 3 normal deviations of the imply.

Scope and affect

Sometimes, I resolve examples, step-by-step, utilizing my technique: Components, Work, Reply, Clarification (FWAE).  As a proactive instructing technique, I present supplemental issues as uploaded curriculum recordsdata to assist the training success.  If college students request a solved “pattern downside” for a subject or lesson through which additional steerage is required, I mannequin the FWAE technique for college kids in my response.


On-line college are continuously confronted with challenges in facilitating profitable learner-content interplay.  I’ve used the FWAE technique to advertise scholar engagement and studying success in arithmetic and statistics.

FWAE gives college students with a repetitive studying technique for important evaluation and problem-solving in arithmetic and statistics. I’ve persistently included this primary technique into normal schooling instruction as properly.

As a instructing and studying technique, I exploit FWAE to contain college students in lively studying; to encourage them to collaborate with different learners; and to assist scholar interplay with content material.  Utilizing FWAE has enabled me to assist scholar engagement in course content material with success.  By modeling a constant technique for problem-solving, I’ve famous empirical knowledge indicative of scholar success by way of course completion and retention.  

Last ideas

First, let me share: I really like instructing on-line. The grownup learners whom I serve are actual folks with genuine life tasks and challenges.  All through my almost 40 years of instructing expertise in secondary and postsecondary schooling, I’ve been lucky to serve learners who’re striving to raised themselves and the lives of their households. 

I additionally love the truth that I’ve adopted a student-centered and learning-centered philosophy of instructing and studying.  Invariably, on the finish of every course, I discover myself lacking the scholars whose lives I touched however will seemingly by no means work together with once more.  FWAE is a technique that I focus my SoTL analysis on crafting a significant studying expertise for college kids that has most affect on their acquisition of data. Finally, I hope they are going to undertake and adapt this technique to different programs and their general tutorial and profession success. 

Dr. Ruby Evans is the chief director & senior analysis marketing consultant for Tutorial Consulting Change and adjunct college and affiliate professor at Colorado Technical College in Colorado Springs, CO. She has instructing and administrative experiences that span almost 4 a long time and institutional settings, each private and non-private, throughout the Ok-20 academic spectrum. 


Boyer, E. L. (1990).  Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate.  New York: The Carnegie Basis for the Development of Educating and Jossey-Bass.

Levinson, D. L. (2003).  Introduction to school scholarship in neighborhood faculties.  Group Faculty Journal of Analysis and Follow, 27, 575-578.

Lyons, R., McIntosh, M., & Kysilka, M. (2002).  Educating faculty in an age of accountability. Higher Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Schooling.

Creator’s word

The writer needs to acknowledge the editorial help and inside peer evaluate offered by Iris Rose Hart. Retired professor of English, Santa Fe Faculty, whose information and ability improved the manuscript immensely.

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