Learning is said to often occur haphazardly and randomly within the brain, but instruction should be anything but haphazard. Excellence in the classroom requires knowing when to use certain strategies, why to use them, and what to do next to achieve maximum learning potential from students. Mastering instructional accountability requires refocusing one's attention on practices that intentionally provide students with conditions that enhance the opportunity for learning. Great instruction is both an art and a science. 



The Art and Science of Frequent Reviews


"Nobody is born able to type, drive, knit or dance; elaborate movement sequences like those must be learned."

                                                                                                                                       --Discover, 1994


Reviewing previously learned material on a regular basis helps solidify and strengthen the memorization process and helps build the foundation of information to which future instructional material or concepts can be linked. Too frequently, the reviewing process is neglected or left off the instructional lesson plan. Later, when students can't remember what they've learned in a previous lesson, we wonder why. A good review should be part of the instructional lesson on a daily basis, made part of all quizzes and tests, and become part of the foundation for building strength in mastering content. 



Science -  something that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge

Repetition exists when students are asked to perform a series of tasks over and over again with the intent that the student learns from the repetitive process. Repetition aids in retention of facts and processes. Frequent reviews of both current and previously learned  knowledge can provided students with the repetition that the brain may need to build neural connections formed during learning. Learning is rarely as simple as hearing it once, seeing it once, or doing it once. Provide students with frequent reviews and frequent opportunities to keep knowledge, processes, skills, and performance fresh and current in their minds. 


Art - skill acquired by experience, study, or observation

Reviews don't have to be boring to be worthy as an instructional strategy. Old fashioned drill and practice worksheets used to provide students with necessary repetition can be replaced with games, puzzles, and flashcards - get creative. Like the child who always raises her hand to answer questions, many students like to "show off" new knowledge, and frequent reviews provide an avenue for all students to show success with academic content and performance skills. Collaborative learning and peer teaching double the enjoyment and efficiency of reviews. Let the students take charge!


Discover Magazine:  The Long and the Short of Memory  How your brain encodes and stores data

Copy, Drill, Duplicate, Flashcards, Imitate, Paraphrase, Recall, Reconstruct, Regroup, Reorganize, Repeat, Restate, Rewrite, Share


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