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Teaching Strategies: Just in Time Teaching (JITT)

Janelle Cox

If you are an advocate of a flipped classroom, then you will want to learn more about the Just in Time Teaching strategies (JITT).  Developed by renowned physics professor Gregor Novak, these teaching strategies combine elements of the flipped classroom with technological web-based assignments to create an active learning environment for students. Like a flipped classroom, these teaching strategies expect students to learn content outside of the classroom to better prepare for lessons inside of the classroom. For example, students would read text or complete web-based assignments at home, then the teacher would use students’ answers to (just in time – hence the name of the strategy) plan for the lesson that happens inside of the classroom.

How the Just In Time Teaching Strategies Promote Learning

Research has made educators more aware of students’ learning style differences, as well as the importance of giving students some control over their learning. The Just in Time Teaching strategy gives time for active learning by shifting some of the learning to outside of the classroom, and using class time to work in cooperative groups or with other active learning activities. You may have also heard that learning occurs best when you are able to activate your students’ prior knowledge. Using this strategy gives students the opportunity to build connections between the information they know and what they learned. The third, and most important, component of this strategy is the feedback aspect that the students give the night before the classroom lesson. The responses that the teacher gets from students are used to help tailor the in-class lesson and activity.

How to Implement JITT into the Classroom

The Just in Time Teaching strategy relies heavily on the at-home web-based aspect of the learning. However, it should not be confused with distance learning or computer instruction because this strategy has another main component to it, which is the live classroom instruction that occurs the day after the web-based learning. Here is a quick look at how you can implement each component of this strategy into your classroom.

Web-Based Assignments

The web-based assignments are the heart of the strategy, this is where students will do a short warmup activity outside of the classroom. This helps students to think about the upcoming lesson, as well as answer a few questions prior to the class. In preparing the warm-up assignments, remember they should be web-based and are meant to activate students’ prior knowledge of the topic. They are meant to serve as an introductory assignment that will help stimulate thought and reflection about the upcoming lesson. Are you introducing a new concept or building upon a previous one? Think about what you want the students to focus on, then create a brief outline to help you create a few broad questions to help you plan for the active classroom activity.

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Active Classroom Activity

The active classroom activity is linked to the web-based assignment and questions that students answered previously at home. However, how you structure the active class time will depend upon your students’ age, your class size, and other varying factors. The advantage of using this strategy is that students become more interested in participating in class activities because they now have experience with the content from the assignment the night before. They also feel a sense of ownership because their answers are the basis of the in-class activity. In preparing your in-class activity, gather student responses and plan group activities based upon how the class preformed on the individual web-based assignments. You can start the in-class lesson by a conducting a brief, 10 minute mini-lesson based off the students feedback. Then you can start a classroom discussion based on the topic at hand, and follow that up by hands-on group activity.

The Just in Time Teaching strategy can help improve student interest and motivation, it can also help to increase student engagement by providing students with an active learning environment. Remember, in order for this strategy to be effective, you must have students complete both the web-based learning portion, as well as the in-class activity.

Have you ever used the JITT or Just in Time Teaching strategies in your classroom? If so, what do you think of them and how did your students respond to them? We would love to hear what you have to say in the comment section below.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.