Do you often get frustrated when your students couldn’t retain a single word from the lesson that you taught 3 days before? Well, we all have been there, weren’t we? Do you often think if you are doing something really wrong while teaching? Are you using wrong strategies to deliver lessons or it’s just your subject that is too difficult to comprehend? To understand why you are not able to make it, let us find out what experts say about retention power of students and how we can help them retain the most part, best to our ability. Read on… How many times have we been told to make it and keep it interesting? A million may be. Let’s not remind ourselves about the same thing. The crux of the matter is to simply connect the dots.
- Text-to-meaning connection: Always tie the content with its meaning, give them real-life examples that they can connect to. It is a technique that experts say bring prior knowledge and personal experience that help them make their learning more meaningful, hence help them to remember it for long and make it last. There are many real life situations that we can connect our content to such as – politics, science, news, and an excerpt from history or literature.
- Rote memorization technique is not a boon after all: Discourage the familiarity & fluency with the text by rote memorization technique. Reject the idea of burning facts into their memory by re-reading and learning. Rote memorization technique gives misleading indicators to the brain; it is ineffective for long-term retention and understanding. This method gives false impression they know more than they actually do, which eventually render them clueless later after some time no matter how diligently they learn the facts.
- Use various effective techniques to foster memory and learning: Remind them to regularly test themselves to improve subsequent retrieval and understand where they are lacking. There are various techniques that they can use to regularly test themselves, such as group discussion, making themselves (or to others) understand a concept aloud. Study guides and exercises can be performed which are project based or activity based to make a concept clear. Quizzes can be played to assess their understanding and learning after a major lesson.
- Let them find out their mistakes every time they make it: When you point out where and what is exactly wrong in their work, they may not able to figure out and will repeat the mistake again. In order to improve their learning power and memory, let them figure out what went wrong and where on their own. Reviewing and giving feedback is also an art; let’s make it more constructive in order to make them improve in that area. Always remember, error finding is not our job, our job is to make their work error free at the end of the term.
- Test them to understand how much they know, not how much they have learned – frequency of assessments is insignificant. Sometimes teachers fail to recognize the purpose of taking assessments. Assessment is not a measurement to judge how much their brain can be filled with information. The number of assessments is not important. Properly prepared assessments with more quality, to understand their knowledge level is far more beneficial than grade-making assessment papers. Implementing a practice or a strategy where they improve on their long-term memory and better retention of the knowledge imparted is what our long-term goal is.
These are some of the tips that experts have come up with after years of research and study. If you have more such tips for teachers, please share here.