Monday, May 23, 2011

John Wooden's Four Steps For Effective Teaching.

Confucius said,

“I hear I forget,
I see I remember,
I do I understand”





Whether you are teaching addition and subtraction, or the quadratic formula, the bones of the skeleton or the eight steps of digestion, a lay-up or the intricacies of the half court trap, to be an effective educator the steps do not change.  The educator must be able to provide the student each of these four levels of the teaching process in order to impart knowledge.

Explanation must include both the basic how, what, when and where, but most importantly the why.  If the learner cannot understand he value of the information or skill, the knowledge will not be passed on to long term memory.  In order to become a useful part of the student's knowledge base, there must be a need to associate it to previous knowledge as well as future need.

Demonstration must be done without a preconceived idea of what the learner knows.  The demonstration should address all aspects of the skill from the most rudimentary step to the ultimate conclusion. Demonstration must include the basic steps from beginning to end. Even the most experienced student should find value in reviewing the  basic components of a process or skill.

Imitation must provide the opportunity to succeed without a fear of failure but an incorporation of failure with correction as a means of understanding.  Students should be provided the opportunity to mirror the instructor throughout the process or skill.  It is through imitation that the student gains an understanding of the concept and a confidence in their own ability to succeed.

Repetition must be enough to develop a comfort level while keeping the information fresh.  Avoid at all costs the drill and kill that is detrimental to the ultimate goal of learning. Repetition should provide insight for both the instructor and the student as to the level of mastery and the need for further instruction and/or practice.  Repetition should serve as the measuring stick as to the next steps in the learning process.

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