Thursday, April 18, 2013

Want to Boost Student Self-Confidence in Taking Exams? Let THE STUDENTS Conduct the Review Sessions:)

How do many teachers prepare students for examinations?  The traditional ways include, but are not limited to, worksheets, teacher lectures, practice examinations, teacher prepared notes, special homework assignments geared to the upcoming test, etc.  Now, there is nothing wrong with these techniques to be sure, but are they the most effective?  How engaged are students generally in completing such activities?  Of course the A student will do well no matter what approach is used.  However,  what about the students with special needs, the English language learners, the students in need of just a few more minutes to digest the data, or those who struggle when lessons are developed that do not take into account their learning styles?

Here is an approach that can be quite effective if teachers are willing to step outside their comfort zones.  Assign review topics to small groups to teach to their classmates.  The teacher would split up a chapter into 4 or 5 sections and then assign one section to a group of 3 or 4 to teach to their classmates.  This would entail their becoming thoroughly familiar with their assigned part, preparing charts or power points or videos to capture the main parts of the reading, creating handouts for classmates to complete on the section presented,  asking quality questions and picking on non-volunteers, "grading" (up to them how they might like to proceed, but teacher could offer suggestions as well) to see if fellow students fully understood the review session content, etc.  Further, the teacher, as a passive observer, would have another way to assess how well prepared the students are for the upcoming test.  This technique will tell teachers if there are any foggy issues still present or not.

One more advantage, the student presenters develop a deeper knowledge of the topic themselves making them in-class experts:)

Here is an example from a middle school, but it can easily be adapted for upper grades.

Passing the controls over to students can truly be a rewarding experience for everyone:)



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