Article | Let’s Equip Students with Learning Tools
The main job that teachers have is, to teach. But just teaching isn’t sufficient, because students also need to be taught how they can learn. For example, if someone were to ask you to make a presentation on the evolution of dinosaurs, how would you prepare for the presentation. Most people would begin with reading up information, then they would organize or structure the information; they would either jot down points or create diagrams, a flowchart, a timeline or maybe create a grouping or classification table. Then the would create a flow or sequence of how the information should be presented, and finally they would get working on creating the presentation.
Each one of us follows a method or strategy when we are presented with new information. And while applying this method, we used certain tools like a flowchart, a Venn diagram or a graphic organizer, to organize information and make sense of it. Where did we learn about these tools, definitely not in school. Most people get exposed to these tools during higher education or at work.
Think about it – would it have helped us, if our teachers had introduced these tools to us, and taught us to use them when we were reading information across different subjects. Would it have impacted the way we comprehend information?
In this article, we look at some common standard tools that teachers can introduce in class, to help students learn better.
Venn Diagram: A Venn diagram serves as a great graphic organizer to compare and contrast elements. Use it in your science or geography class to compare characteristics or features of elements. Use it in your language class to compare and contrast characters in a story.
Timelines: Timelines are a great tool for tracking events occurring over a time period. It’s obvious use is in the history class; have students create timeline charts for tracking different historic events. Or use it in your science class to track science inventions.
Flowcharts: Flowcharts allow you to illustrate a sequence, and also allow to accommodate “if, then…” situations. Use them in your science class, to help students remember rules for writing chemical formula or to determine what category a substance or an element falls under. For example “If it shines, then it must be a metal, else…”. Flowcharts are also a great tool to teach critical thinking, because it encourages students to see how information is related along with understanding the order of events. You could also use it to teach theorems in maths.
Fish Bone Diagram: Introduce the fish bone diagram to help students understand cause and effect relationship. Use it in the science class to explain reactions or use it in the language class to understand the relationship between events characters in a story.
Mind Maps: Mind maps can help present information visually. It’s a great note-taking and brainstorming tool and gives a birds-eye view of how pieces of information are connected. Mind maps should be introduced at an early stage and its use should be encouraged across all subjects.
KWL Charts: KWL charts help students organize their thoughts about a topic. By thinking about what they already know and what they need to know, students set an objective for doing a task. It encourages the practice of thinking and planning before beginning a task.
These are just “some” of the many tools that can help students learn better.
What tools do you use in class and how do they benefit your students? Do you also use digital tools?
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