To learn a new concept a learner needs to encounter it two or three times over a short period of time. Depth can be more important than breadth. To reinforce learning teachers need to plan for this re-meeting of a concept. Here are some ideas of how this can be done.
- Make it clear that mastery is hard work. Give examples from your subject of people who put in effort and persistence in order to achieve.
- Recognise and celebrate when learners achieve personal bests.
- Use a plenary from your last lesson as a starter for the new
- Start with a quiz based on already introduced material but make sure the questions are not just about retrieval but link with interpretation e.g. What colour did you see in the test-tube and what can you tell from this?
- Use homework tasks to reinforce learning
- Plan to introduce the concept in a different context e.g. What is that technique and where have you seen it used before?
- Ask learners to test each other.
- Give learners opportunities to test their knowledge through mind maps and other graphic organisers
- Encourage friends and parents to test knowledge of learners
- Create an on-line quiz for learners to test themselves or give websites where such tests already exist
- Teach an aspect of a course in detail for example a poem, a painting, features of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Armed with the main characteristics get learners to apply the features to others in a group e.g. War Poems, Surrealism, dinosaurs.
- Use talk to structure and model answers before writing
- Give checklists of what is needed for a piece of work. These can be negotiated or forward-based.
- Get learners to write in pairs and support each other or edit work which is to verbose or too scanty.
- Give time for silent writing before stepping in too quickly.
Modelling, forward-basing, talk and skilled questioning all help pupils develop but focused practising makes for understanding and mastery. Practice is in the practise.