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Doing Homework Isn't Enough
  • Calendar Apr 05, 2018
  • User Jared Wells
  • Category In Uncategorized
  • Comments 0 Comments
"How do you know you're ready for the test?" A student's having "done the homework" and "read the chapter" are not, by themselves, sufficient evidence of readiness for a test. If that is the case, what more should they be doing to prepare for exams? Answer: It isn't necessarily about doing more. It's often about the way students are doing what they are doing. The most important problem to solve is that often students don't know what they don't know. So the first step must be about bringing the student's awareness to the gap in their knowledge. Oftentimes students will get through homework assignments by memorizing processes or facts. When a homework assignment consists of 20 very similar questions, this can work pretty well, and in fact incentives memorization in place of comprehension! In the short run outlook of "today's homework assignment" memorizing can be very efficient. But when the test comes along, if the student never understood the concept at a fundamental level, having a temporary memory lapse, or seeing a question a little different than the ones she practiced can lead to a worse than expected performance. Nevermind needing to use the concept again on future tests, finals, or SAT's! So what can our students do differently? Understand, don't memorize The key tell for the student is "If a friend asked me to teach how to do this problem, and WHY we do it this way, what would I say?" This, rather than simply the ability to work through a problem, is a much strong indicator of understanding at a deep level. You can encourage this by asking your son or daughter to explain their homework to you, or by encouraging them to form study groups where the students teach each other the material. It's easy for a student to mentally shrug off a "careless error" with "Well, I understood the problem I just made this dumb mistake." But when asked to explain a concept, their struggling for words can be a much clearer indication to them that there are gaps in their understanding that need to be filled before test day. So when your son or daughter tells you they are ready for their test, challenge them to teach YOU the chapter. Whether or not you learn it is besides the point. Your child's fluency with the material in the teaching will be a giveaway to both of you as to your child's level of preparation.   Finals are coming up soon for La Jolla High and Muirlands Middle...is your son or daughter ready? Call or email to schedule some time for class support or organizational/planning support today!
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