“I think my teacher talked about it, but I don’t remember.”
As tutors we hear this many times. Students forget a lot of what they have learned. Most of the material teachers cover does not even stay in the student’s memory until the midterm or even the end of chapter test. Students forget up to 60 percent of what they learn just an hour after learning it. How can we transfer their knowledge into their long term memory?
For many courses, especially those that a re cumulative in nature, like math and sciences, forgetting old content makes it difficult for tutors and the student to move forward onto new skills. For example, students need to be comfortable with the multiplication table before they can tackle more complex number operations.
The best method to ensure understanding of material is to practice it repeatedly until it becomes second nature. This means doing as many practice questions as possible from the textbook, not just the ones assigned by the teacher. It means to write down a word over and over again until the student learns it’s correct spelling. Most kids do not practice what they learn long enough to really learn the material. They try to get their homework done as soon as possible so they can move onto other things, not taking the time necessary to understand every concept they learned.
Many kids want to get the information fast and move on, not realizing that learning does not take place by rushing to get homework done or by reading their math notes for their quiz. True learning occurs when they take the time to direct what was taught in class, looking at it from different angles and tackling different types of questions. Although it will take more study time, but once information is transferred to their long term memory it is there to stay!