How To Help Students Retain Information
Here are the questions I ask myself when I analyze my lessons to optimize student retention:
1. Am I doing consistent review?
Simple does not mean that it is always easy. We teachers have so much to cover that sometimes we forget to go back consistently and review.I spend the very beginning of each class reviewing what was previously taught. Most times I do this by simply questioning the students. We review the old material a bit every day. At the same time, as one concept gets polished, the review of that concept needs to gradually fade until the teacher no longer has to come back to it. I add new questions for review as we get more advanced. I drop older ones when I feel the students are solid with the knowledge.
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2. Is my teaching engaging?
I try to engage students in movement. I also try to change the pace of the class consistently to keep their focus. If my students are not interested in what I am teaching, they are not going to be interested in learning it!
I also find it helpful to go back to the drawing board and see what my contemporaries are doing. There are so many resources out there, like the LVL Music Academy that provide online lessons, that even a little check-in with these places can reinvigorate my approach or reinforce ideas I had about my teaching.
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3. Is there consistency in my lesson plans or am I jumping form one idea to the next too soon?
4. Am I active in the classroom?
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5. Am I making connections for my students?
6. Am I providing more that one way to learn?
Difficult concepts may require that students see it visually, hear it orally, get peer to peer tutoring, etc. I need to make sure that I am reaching to all types of learners in my classroom.
And last you may think…this is harder to do when in applying in an actual classroom! Helping students retain information is not easy especially with very mixed classrooms where you teach students with different motivation levels. You are right!
Teaching is so much harder that writing about it. You have to be flexible with the unique situation you are in. It is also so much more complex in today’s educational system. Yet, designing lesson plans in a way to improve student retention rates is possible and takes only a bit of extra planning. If you have a specific situation you would like to share, please feel free to write a comment or send a direct message