Why teaching isn’t necessarily learning

Retention Pyramid

How many times have you heard teachers say, “I taught it to them. I don’t know why they don’t know it”? I’ve heard it a lot and will admit, I’ve uttered this phrase myself. When I first started teaching I was a lecturer because that’s what I saw teachers doing starting in middle school. The teacher spoke and we took notes. If we were lucky a political cartoon might have been pushed on the overhead for a minute or two. Every night and for every subject reading was the homework. So I gave reading homework to my students.

I remember getting so frustrated that student test scores were low when I had taught them the content. The problem was that the students weren’t learning. I needed to rephrase the question that I asked myself while planning my lessons. Instead of asking myself “what do I need to teach tomorrow” I started asking “how will my students learn tomorrow”. In a professional development session I was handed a pyramid that had the answer to my question. The pyramid is based on an 11 year research project that asked the question, “What causes learning in classrooms?” It stated that 5% is the average retention rate for lecture, 10% for reading, 20% for audio-visual, 30% for demonstration, 50% for discussion groups, 70% for practice of “real world” applications and 90% for teaching others.  After reading this I began to switch my focus from lectures to differentiated project based learning to include discussion groups, real world applications and teaching others as well. I wanted those higher retention rates. The more active a student is in their learning the more retention will occur.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico/Category/Activity-Templates-and-Rubrics helps teachers differentiate project based learning in less than 10 minutes.

Written by

Kasha Mastrodomenico




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