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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Teaching Technique: Simple and Satisfying

I looked over the online home study report and noticed that a child's work resulted in a low score. I wrote to a family member and the child redid the assignment getting a low score again. I wondered what happened.

The next day, I met with the child. I suggested that he might have tried to do the work in his head rather than figure it out on paper. In the past I've mentioned to students that we can't check our work if it's done in our head, but we can check work that's done on paper.

The young child disagreed with me. "I don't need to do that," he said.

I said, "Let's take it step by step. Show me how you do it."

He showed me his way which resulted in a wrong answer.

I said, "Try using paper to figure it out." He tried and got the wrong answer again.

I then said, "Try using graph paper and make sure your numbers are written well so you don't think the numbers are different numbers. Take your time."

He used the graph paper and he got the right answer.

I said, "You know how to do it, but I think you were doing it too fast and your numbers were disorganized without the graph paper. Let's try another one."

The child continued to complete problem after problem with graph paper and a slower speed. His answers were right and his confidence started to rise.

I was happy to see him succeed. He was happy to succeed. It was the kind of teaching/learning experience I aspire to each day.