How Students Learn Best

Have you ever learned anything from a lecture?  I'm sure we can all say we have taken away something new from a lecture, but can you say you know it well enough to retain that information for long periods of time?  The answer is you probably only remember 20% of what the speaker said.  If the speaker gave you notes, pictures, and graphs you might remember 50% of it.  The goal is 100%.  See where I'm going with this?


HOW DO STUDENTS LEARN BEST?

Students learn best when learning is active.  When students are mentally and physically involved in the lesson, there is an increase in retaining information.  When students are passive, their brains do not retain the information for long periods of time.

1. THINK ALOUD


 Model your thought process as you read, solve a problem, or when you create something.  This allows students to see critical thinking skills in action.



Students need to experience the learning. This comes from being an active participant in the lesson.  Having students explain the steps to solve a math problem is a higher level than someone just working the steps alone.  It takes more engagement to learn something when you know you have to turn around and teach it to a group than if you were just to know the information.

Food for thought: If you knew in advance you will need to know the information so you can teach it to a group of people, you will listen closely, analyze all the content, and you will be more active in the learning.  This should be the same approach we take in our classrooms.

2.  THINK. TURN. TALK.
Ask a question to your class and have students think, turn, and talk about the answer to their partner.  This allows students to think together and verbalize their thought process.



3.  USE VISUALS
Use visuals, pictures, and graphic organizers.  These visuals help to mentally organize information.  When information is given to us in an organized way, it increases our ability to recall it later.   Adding visuals increases retention. 

4.  TOTAL PHSYCIAL RESPONSE (TPR)
Total Physical Response is the process of students acting out their vocabulary words, the end of a story, or the steps to solving a math problem.  The purpose of TPR is to create a brain link between speech and action.  This will boost language and learning.

5.  HIGHER ORDER THINKING
Incorporate higher order thinking skills by asking leveled questions.  We should ask questions that promote thinking.

Higher Order Thinking Questions are easy to use questions that allow you to ask questions that are not just "basic or knowledge" type questions.  They are easy to use and designed as strips so you can put them on a metal ring and easily flip through questions.


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