Notes from Tools for Teaching Part 2

May 5, 2005

The most effective way to minimize the need for corrective feedback after a lesson is to teach it right the first time. If the verbal, visual, and physical modalities can be “welded together” into a single pattern, the strong modalities can carry the weak — SAY, SEE, DO.

While long-term memory deteriorates rapidly, short-term memory has near total recall. If you ask students to perform immediately after input, you exploit the short-term memory recall.

Packaging a Lesson
Setting the Stage — what do the students need to have in mind before they encounter the new material?

Acquisition — putting the new material into the students’ heads by explanation (SAY), modeling (SEE), and structured practice (DO).

Consolidation — using guided practice, followed by independent practice, so that the student can discriminate error as soon as it occurs.

The role of structured practice is to build correct performance while avoiding bad habits. “Only perfect practice makes perfect.” — Lombardi

If this process is carried out throroughly, mastery should be the natural outcome. The students’ failure rate on a lesson is a good index of the degree to which shortcuts were taken.

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