An explanation should be not too easy, not too hard, but just right. Follow this guide to ensuring that students know their stuff
Explanations are absolutely vital in teaching yet they are largely ignored when we plan and prepare lessons. This is an oversight that should be put right.
We need to pitch explanations expertly: not too easy, not too hard, but just right. Let's call it the Goldilocks principle. The good news is that there is plenty of research out there to help.
Assess prior knowledge
A crucial starting point is to ask a lot of questions in order to ascertain students' prior knowledge. As Slava Kalyuga and colleagues state in their 2003 paper "The expertise reversal effect", if students know a lot already, then too much repetition will clog up their working memory and stifle their capacity to learn anything new (bit.lyExpertiseReversal).
The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.
Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.