Sunday, January 30, 2011

Do students hear what you say?

Do students hear what you say?

Teachers assume that students hear what they say but quite often this is not the case. Remember that you are teaching students who are listening to you in a language with which they are not familiar – in varying degrees. First, it takes their brains longer to process new information, compare it with what they already know and assimilate it. If they are required to form a response, expect an extra long pause. 

Students hear what they think you said. This is not necessarily what you said. It is what they think they heard. This is why review and reinforcement is absolutely necessary. In a class, there are many distractions and a student’s mind is not always 100% on what the teacher is saying. If a teacher speaks too fast for the student’s brain to process the information, s/he may tune out. When that happens, learning does not take place.

Asking whether a student understands what s/he had just heard is a wasted question. Students, particularly in Asia, will always nod or say yes they understand whether or not they do – because that is what the teacher wants to hear. It is better to ask students to tell you what they understand or to give you an example of how to use the concept you just explained.

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