I purchased an electric mower. It works very well. It is much quieter and lighter than my previous gas mower. The only trick is I have to always mow away from the cord. I cannot retrace my steps.
Once I got into the zen of mowing, I began to wonder how often my students retrace their steps in my class. Does each class move them forward? Do they truly learn a new skill goal so that they can move on to a more advanced skill or goal? Do they continually grow not just in having more facts but in thinking about how to put those facts together? Do they become more critical in their thinking about the subject?
To be more concrete, in my writing course, do students master a skill such as using a topic sentence so that they can move forward or do they always make the same learning gap over and over again? I can structure my class so that they do not retrace their steps but they always move forward. I can provide feedback and exemplars that will move them forward. I can have brief direct instruction and mini-assessments to verify that they are not going backward but are moving forward in their learning.
How do you prevent your students from retracing their steps?