Teach to the test. Raise student scores. Gotta get through the book. No time to rest. Drill and kill.
Sometimes it seems like teachers are nearly running to fit in all the subject matter that is tested. It’s frustrating trying to address meaningful learning within the time challenges facing schools. As hard as teachers work, students don’t always seem to truly understand what’s being taught. Conversely, test scores may not reveal what students really know. In fact, tests may not even evaluate what’s actually important.
Teachers know the fast pace of “teach and test” misses the mark for learning because it is based on momentary memorization rather than long-term understanding. This process is not only unfulfilling for teachers, but can be frustrating for students, too.
The Missing Link?
What’s missing? Often education lacks the opportunity to practice with information and ‘perform’ it through multiple demonstrations of understanding. Relevant and enjoyable multi-sensory learning activities that require students to share their understanding creates a bridge between presentation of information and testing. Low-stress demonstration of understanding during multi-sensory activities offer feedback that allows students and teachers to determine whether concepts have been learned.
In the learning cycle used here, ‘practice and performance’ follows preparing the learner to learn and giving a teaching presentation. When this step is encouraged in learning, students are better able to convert facts to knowledge and knowledge to skillful application. And that’s how we build meaningful learning.
We typically think of academic performance as a test of student abilities. In reality, every performance is just another opportunity to practice and improve, and every practice activity represents one more chance to perform a demonstration of understanding. –Chris Brewer
Find how-to’s in Orchestrating Learning to show you how you can:
Use musical soundtracks to enliven and support student practice and performance activities and:
- motivate student participation in multi-sensory experiences with subject matter (practice)
- encourage personal expression of understanding (practice and performance!)
- create a relaxed atmosphere for demonstration of understanding (performance)
- make learning more fun
Watch for more ideas for Activating Learning on my blog or purchase Soundtracks for Learning to get started now.