Monday, September 26, 2011

Brain-Based Learning: Guideline Seven

This week's educational theory is the sixth brain-based learning guideline according to Dr. Sousa:  

Rehearsal is essential for retention.

The dictionary defines "rehearsal" as a session of exercise, drill, or practice; a repeating. I think we know what this rehearsal entails, and that is the part that kids so often dislike. Rehearsal is necessary, but how teachers and parents present it is what matters.

So how can we have students rehearse while still considering the other brain-based learning guidelines? I can think of several.

Guideline six states that lecture usually results in the lowest degree of retention. Yet how do so many parents and teachers (this one included) review before a big test? We run down the list of facts and terms students need to know. Perhaps while rehearsing we could spend time connecting material to prior knowledge (guideline two) and thus building links to students' emotions.

Plus, since I'm one who believes cramming before the big test often hurts rather than helps, doing a tad bit of rehearsal every day may ease a large rehearsal the night before (or morning of) a test - the testing of retention. I try to do this everyday in my classroom, when we review the part of speech we are studying, we actually review all that we have so far covered. I also do it with my kids when we run through colors, body parts, or safety rules.

What other methods contribute to honest rehearsal, rather than rushed and incomplete?

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