Promoting the use of evidence-based study methods among students.
Students can learn more efficiently if they use studying strategies that improve the brain’s ability to retrieve information.
Anyone can learn. But can they improve on it? According to research, the answer is yes, and being able to use the right learning strategy at the right time and having a great toolkit of learning strategies have a significant impact on student outcomes.
This is layered with the idea of neuroplasticity, which states that our brains are constantly changing, both positively and negatively, as a result of the experiences we have. It should come as no surprise that students experience the greatest amount of neuroplasticity during their school years.
How can we help our students learn the most? Let’s start by looking at some of the most effective methods for teaching students that are supported by evidence.
Retrieval practice needs to be at the center of how students study. Some examples include:
-Require students to take a piece of paper and record everything they know about a subject. After that, have them review their notes and revise their writing.
-Provide students with a study guide for the test. Have them write what they know, check, and then revise for each point. On the guide, they’ll check a box next to a detail when they can remember all of it for a point. They ought to continue until they are able to cross everything off.
-Provide your students with the solution keys to problems and instruct them on how to solve them. They can use the key to examine their responses and attempt to resolve their issues. It’s best to use class time early in the year to help students become more capable of working independently.
Students frequently find retrieval practice to be frustrating because it appears to be more difficult than rereading notes and highlighting. Inform students that their brains are working harder and making more connections, so it feels harder. As a result, they will retain the knowledge and abilities they are learning longer. Make sure that breaks for your students are planned in. A good rhythm might consist of studying for 30 minutes without any distractions, taking 5 to 10 minutes of a proper break, and then repeating this cycle. Try 20 if 30 minutes of total concentration is too long.
SPACED PRACTICE IS USED.
Spaced practice, which permits understudies to get somewhat corroded prior to requesting that they recover the material from their cerebrum, is the nearby kin of recovery practice. Students also find this difficult. Make sure to explain to students the reasoning behind it. Grade based on effort rather than accuracy if you feel you must. Students in spaced practice must first admit when they are wrong and then correct what they do not understand.
Spaced practice is difficult for students of all ages and abilities. In the two weeks leading up to a test, incorporating it into classwork and homework is helpful. Formative assessment should be used a lot to find out what students know well now and what they’re starting to forget (and would benefit from spaced practice). Keep in mind that any kind of test or activity can be formatted.
Build students’ independence in retrieval and spaced practice over time and gradually eliminate the initial scaffolding. It is acceptable that some students will require additional scaffolding at various points. Scaffolds must follow the first rule: There are no permanent scaffolds.
Describe the goal of taking notes and how to accomplish it.
Students are not required to record every word you say; rather, they should re-create key concepts and examples to aid in later study. The purpose of taking notes is to facilitate students’ immediate learning of material. The goal is to get them to summarize and paraphrase important definitions, phrases, and other terms.
Set aside some time for class in the beginning of the year to teach students how to use their class notes to study. An illustration:
-Ask students to draw a line three-quarters of the way down the page and write notes on the left side before taking notes.
-They can look over the notes they took. They should come up with one or two questions for each section of notes, with the answers in that section. On the right side of the line, instruct students to write these questions.
-The next step is for students to fold the page in half along a line.
-After that, have them read the question and make an effort to respond.
-They can check their response by flipping the page over after answering the question.
-Continue this procedure for each question.
It’s important not to assume that all students already know how to take notes in that particular class; this is something they can all benefit from.
A quick glance through the introduction and subheadings can provide students with context for a piece of writing; Instead of reading the entire document, they can go through it chunk by chunk. After you have asked them to read a section, close the book and see if they can remember anything. They can then open the book, read the section again, and revise their writing. Tell them to gather any questions they have and give them priority.
Tools like key words and flash cards work well.
Students can also use effective note-taking to retrieve information in the following other ways: Students learn to remember words and their definitions with the keyword method. They create a brief narrative that connects the word they are trying to learn to a hidden sound or word.
Although flash cards can assist in this, they are rarely utilized effectively; therefore, students should be explicitly taught how to use them correctly. Save some class time at the beginning of the year to assist students in creating and practicing with flash cards.
After they have read the card’s front and turned it over, the crucial moment is when they take a moment to pause and reflect. If they are familiar with the idea, they should try to link it to one or two other ideas. Advise them to take their time before flipping it over if they are unfamiliar with the concept. Even if they are unable to recall, this procedure aids in better retention of the response when they read it.
They can put a card away for a while if they really know it, then put it back in the deck for later that day or tomorrow. Encourage students not to become distracted by arts and crafts classes. While the process of creating beautiful flash cards can be incredibly satisfying, it can also leave students with insufficient time for studying.
Explain that students can learn more by memorizing definitions and keywords. Their active working memory, which is where all of their thinking happens, can only hold three to five items for very little time (10 to 20 seconds). Long-term memory of key words and their definitions gives their brain more room to process the new information they’re trying to learn.
Students will have less material to study for the upcoming test as a result of these efficient and effective strategies, which demand more of their brainpower and assist them in learning the material immediately. Even though these are not all of the game-changing evidence-based strategies available, they will assist in getting your students off to a good start. It is essential for students to be familiar with them.
Keep in mind that students will only benefit from these methods if they are able to put them into practice in your class. Build the strategies into class time to help them accomplish this, and actively encourage each student’s capacity to accomplish this with greater independence over time. They can only complete the work.