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Thoughts on Reteaching

As we enter the holidays, many administrators and teachers are also reflecting on how the year has gone and what they might do differently in January. Teachers have been busy examining practice test results and considering how and what to reteach.

However, far too many teachers begin reteaching using standard review techniques. Often teachers go back over previous pages in texts. Sometimes they organize review games. Sometimes they ask students to redo assignments.

An alternative would be to consider first the highest priorities for reteaching and then secondly, what it will take to make the instruction “stick” or how to make the lessons meaningful and increase the odds that students will learn and remember the information. A few techniques that seem to work particularly well include:

  1. Mnemonic devices

  2. Chunking material

  3. Peer-assisted instruction or peer tutoring

  4. Spaced distributed practice rather than extended practice during only a few sessions

  5. Adding a project based component

  6. Anchoring learning with a common experience or connection to students’ lives

  7. Jigsaws with students developing expertise in specific areas and then helping to teach that information to their peers

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