With exam season coming up, it is common for teachers to feel the pressure of ensuring their students are well-prepared. However, things can quickly become worrying when students start asking questions they should know the answer to.
When their mastery of the material is less than ideal, educators may wonder if the fault lies with them or the students themselves. In any case, the class is far from being in a good place.
Luckily, there are ways that teachers can help students regain confidence — reviewing and reteaching. Reviewing material can help students recall information that they’ve already learnt, while reteaching can help to clarify concepts missed before.
Navigating the Fine Line between Reviewing and Reteaching
Finding the balance can be a tricky task. Teachers need to bear in mind that all students are different, in understanding and learning styles. By approaching these tasks strategically, teachers can ensure that their students have a strong foundation of knowledge to build upon, and boost their academic success.
Differentiating Between Review and Reteach
With a big test looming, teachers generally take the time to review materials. Reviews involve going over a large amount of information and giving students a chance to ask questions about the topics they still have a little trouble with. Think of it as a brain refresher — a reminder of what is already known.
But what about students who missed certain concepts or are struggling to understand the material? That’s where reteaching comes in. It is all about targeting specific objectives that students struggle with, rooting out misunderstandings about a given subject and fixing them before they turn into bigger problems.
Of course, before teachers can effectively reteach material, they must first learn what their students do not understand. This is why regular assessments are incredibly important — they help teachers decide whether it’s time to simply review a concept or reteach it entirely.
Reteaching Methods To Try
Learning is supposed to be challenging at first, as The Sutton Trust, a UK-based charity and educational think-tank, has shown. Struggling with a concept in the initial stages of learning can help students retain more knowledge. That’s why having an honest conversation with your students about what may have gone wrong is highly recommended. As a teacher, be prepared to own up if your explanations were not the easiest to follow or if you were not fully prepared for the lesson.
Once you’ve had this conversation, it’s time to start reteaching. Below are some tried-and-true strategies that work wonders for helping all your students experience that “aha!” moment:
Reteaching does not mean doing more of the same. For instance, if you used a slide presentation when teaching a concept for the first time, try using videos or articles on the concept and have students discuss their learnings. This approach encourages students to engage with the material in a new way, leading to deeper understanding.
This approach involves pairing up students to answer questions related to the topic. One student answers the question while the other takes notes. After a minute or so, they switch roles and record each other’s answers. Then, the pair review what they have written to create one comprehensive final answer.
As the teacher, walk around the class during this process to hear students overcome their initial obstacles with the concept. Finally, select a few answers to read out loud to the class, and watch as students gradually grasp the concept when explained by their peers.
Have students simplify
This strategy is an excellent way to encourage students to break down a difficult concept for their peers and themselves. Group students into three or four members and have them write a paragraph explaining how they would explain the concept to a younger child. This exercise forces them to use everyday vocabulary, avoid jargon, and truly get to the heart of the topic. The most important step is to have each group read their answer out loud so that everyone in the class benefits from hearing a difficult concept explained multiple times in simple terms.
Boosting Your Teaching Skills
Sometimes it may not be just about the strategies, but about how teachers can continually improve their teaching skills to better support their students. Investing in professional development can pay off in big ways that boost your impact on your students.
For example, our teacher training workshops in Singapore and across Asia focus on helping teachers identify and nurture their natural Talents into Strengths. In turn, they can learn how to leverage it to their advantage to suit the needs of their students and create a positive learning environment.
It is vital not to quickly assume you are a bad teacher when students struggle. Every educator will eventually encounter concepts that will take more time and effort to teach before their students fully master them. By regularly evaluating the student’s understanding and reviewing or reteaching topics that need to be hit hard, teachers can ensure that their classes will be geared toward success.
StrengthsAsia is a top corporate learning and development partner specialising in workshops for teachers in Singapore backed by the CliftonStrengths advantage. Our programmes have helped countless educational clients improve their teachers’ performance by discovering their unique talents and strengths and channeling them to become better educators. From schools to universities and polytechnics, we can help create a strengths-based school environment that ensures better student learning outcomes. Contact us here to learn more about our services and discover the power of CliftonStrengths in teaching today.