Back to School: 5 Interesting Things that Can Affect Your Students’ Learning

Written by  //  2017/10/11  //  Study Skills  //  Comments Off on Back to School: 5 Interesting Things that Can Affect Your Students’ Learning

Teachers have a more difficult job now than ever before. As an individual that is the primary source of academic readiness for students, you need all the tools you can get to ensure each student is able to reach their potential. Research now shows that many things affect learning, but few teachers have ever been told of the importance of these factors and how your behavior can impact student learning. Here are some things you should keep in mind the next time you step into your classroom.

Remember that Respect Is a Two-Way Street

Mutual respect is a key when it comes to building solid relationships with your students. If you enter the classroom seeing your students as people that have the same human rights as adults, regardless of size or age, great things can happen. Relationships are the vehicle through which new ideas are conveyed. The more solid the relationship, the more information that can be learned and it all starts with mutual respect.

The Goal is to Get Information from Short-Term to Long-Term Memory

Educational psychologists John Sweller and Paul Kirschner once explained that short-term memory is a temporary holding facility in the brain. If information doesn’t get from there into long-term memory it isn’t really learned. You can tell how well students are learning if they can retain information longer than 6 weeks. It’s also why teacher evaluations using observation alone are often inaccurate. Although students may be able to answer questions during a lesson, if they can’t recall it 6 weeks later it wasn’t really learned. Utilizing a scaffolding technique while teaching often helps alleviate the problem as old information is constantly reviewed when new information is added.

Room Temperature and Learning

Schools throughout the world are designed to evaluate student learning through periodic testing. Research has shown, however, that classroom temperature can have a significant impact on student performance. As was recently published by the University of Scranton, temperatures significantly higher or lower than 72 degrees can lower student performance scores by as much as 20 percentage points with warm temperatures showing worse results than cooler temperatures. It was determined that schools could do much to stabilize the temperature in their classrooms in order to maximize student performance, so make sure you contact a company like C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning to check your system and make sure it’s optimized.

Thinking and Forgetting Are Actually Key Parts of the Learning Process

American psychologist, Professor Robert Bjork, pointed out that there is an inverse relationship between how well students perform and how long they retain the information. They remember what they had to think about in order to make sense of it. If a lesson is too easy they won’t retain it. Conversely, when students restudy while the information is still fresh in their minds, they won’t remember it. This is where the technique of “distributed practice” rather than “mass practice” comes in. To get new information into long-term memory students need to begin to forget it first. With distributed practice the information is broken up over a period of time and continually reintroduced until students no longer struggle with it.

Don’t Forget to Tell the Students Where the Journey Is Headed

As stated by professional baseball player Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.” It’s more likely that all the students in a classroom will arrive at the same destination together if they know where the lesson is headed. Unfortunately, few teachers share that kind of information with their students. Although it often requires an extra step at the beginning of the lesson, it’s worth it in the end if the students actually end up at the same place at the same time.

Understanding factors that influence student performance often takes putting your traditional beliefs aside in order to embrace innovative methods that will ensure future success. Although teachers and administrators work hard to overcome challenges students face on a daily basis, it can be an uphill climb without the proper tools. In order to see the internal changes in student learning, you must change external factors first and that begins with you.

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