In a busy class we can forget the importance of giving time to students to work through new learning and concepts. Our education systems have a treadmill quality, if you’re not moving forward you’re not moving, but this is a fallacy. Without being given time to hop off and explore concepts deeply, new learning is never embedded. It is just painted over the top like a white wash.
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As teachers we feel pressure to get through curriculum targets but we forget these targets are often overlaid on prior understandings. Too often I hear statements like, “They’re in Grade 4, and they should know this by now?” But the fact is they don’t. So avoid introducing new concepts which depend on what they should know, rather than what they do.
It’s actually okay for us to take students back and provide opportunities for take up time. Let them explore, make mistakes, ask questions. They are working where you need them to be. This is good practice because you know your student’s needs. In fact we all need time when tackling something which is difficult for us. In my experience by providing these opportunities for consolidation we are preparing students cognitively and emotionally for the next challenge.
To cater for all students you also have to know the curriculum which comes before and after your grade and or subject level. Learning is a continuum not a fixed system. Good teachers know where to pitch work which allows take up time. They are confident enough in their practice to allow students the opportunity to have another go. So give your students as long as they need, because if they can’t walk it’s very hard to run.
@CharlieArchbold Early Years Educator – Australia