Making the learning stick

When I was putting the insulation on my windows, I had two different products. One had the instruction of waiting fifteen minutes before I removed the backing to the two sided tape. The other did not have that instruction. The fifteen minute wait tape was far superior to the other.

I wonder how much time we give our students to stick to their new learning before we ask them to use it. Fisher and Fry suggest in Better Learning Through Structured Teaching that when we give our initial modeling of the new learning, we do not ask students to actively participate but, instead they are to think about this new learning. If they do not firmly understand the modeling before we ask them to practice it, then there is a high likely hood that they will do it incorrectly. Their first steps of doing it wrong will be cemented into their brains. Instead, we can model the learning for them and go over an exemplar of it. We can let them think about the new learning and then scaffold them through it.

Let’s organizing our teaching so that we allow students plenty of time to think about the new learning before they are asked to do it. Let’s let them get firmly stuck to the new learning before they use it.

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

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2 Responses to “Making the learning stick”


  1. 2 Rita November 24, 2008 at 12:13 am

    First, let me say it is refreshing to read a teacher blog that actually says something. I have been perusing several teacher blogs and have found them to be insipid. Many seem to be the rantings of self-absorbed individuals. As a teacher, I want to read about things other teachers have used to motivate students or increase student performance. Yours is one of those sites.

    I haven’t thought about allowing students the time to just “think” about the new information or what I model for them. Sometimes I feel “pushed” by a schedule which dictates that I be at point Z at the end of the year. However, I’m with you; it seems it would be much more productive to actually have students digest the new info before rushing off to a new task.

    Thank you for making me more aware.


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