What do your students need to do to improve their academic prowess?
Well! The brain as a muscle responds to strategic practice, such as previewing the glossary or questions to be familiar with new vocabulary or concepts, YouTubing the topic for videos on any concept and so on. These are the things that lead to efficient practising.
In every classroom, several types of learners exist: visual, tactile and verbal.
To start with, you must understand what you’re dealing with in terms of poor practice habits so you can select the right approach.
How to get your students to practice at home?
1. Promote Growth Mindset Over a Fixed Mindset
Fixed mindset learners often shy away from challenges because they do not want to appear to be struggling. A growth mindset learner, on the other hand, believes that abilities and talents can be cultivated and enhanced through hard work.
A growth mindset thrives on challenges and sees struggles and failures as vital aspects of growth and for stretching our existing abilities.
Developing a growth mindset means relishing opportunities for self-improvement, acknowledging and embracing imperfections. As a teacher, you can foster a growth mindset in the classroom in the following ways:
- Provide regular opportunities for students to reflect on their learning at least once a day.
- Ask students for feedback about your teaching and be willing to make necessary adjustments. This feedback shows that we, too, are learners.
- Have students communicate what they know and what are they still unclear about to identify areas for change and improvement in learning and practising.
- Lastly, reciprocate your students’ hard work to continue on the learning journey alongside.
2. Develop Meaningful and Respectful Connection with Students
If you truly want to inspire your students to practice, you should know who they are outside of the classroom and let them get to know you.
Firstly, it builds trust, which in turn builds your credibility with the students and they are more likely to take your advice. Secondly, knowing about a student’s circumstances and personality will help you figure the specific reason(s) why a student isn’t practising. While there are a lot of tips out there to take, they aren’t all going to work on every student.
It may be a tall order, but bringing conversations outside of the classroom shows you are interested in more than one aspect of who your students are. It can be as simple as noticing and talking about a special sticker on a student’s folder to complimenting them on an accomplishment in another subject or sports.
When you show your students that you respect their extracurricular interests, you can build strong connections with hard-to-reach students. It can be one of the most proven methods of getting your students to work harder and overcome behavioural issues.
3. Reward Your Students For Practising
The mere recognition of effort can go a long way in motivating students to practice and subsequently increase students’ proficiency. Children often go through stages of being very keen and then not so keen. However, to get them through the not so keen phases, dangling a reward can do the trick.
But rather than saying “study for 30 minutes and then you can play for some time”, you can be specific: “Finish this set of math problems.” It gives them a real target to achieve rather than just time to pass. No matter how long it takes and what they achieve in this time, you must reward them. Any tangible symbol of achievement is proven effective in encouraging students to practise and can be a great tool for raising students’ confidence.
Another most rewarding experience can be their teacher praising them for their efforts and hard work as it tells learners that they have the power to improve their academic performance. It can be as simple as ‘I have noticed you have been practising reading’ or ‘The extra hour is paying off on your time tables’.
Always ensure that you praise their efforts over their abilities. It shows them that practice and hard work on their part can change the learning outcome.
4. Last But Not Least, Make Practising Fun!
Since boredom is one of the easiest ways to make your students check out, it’s up to you to find ways to make practice interesting and possibly even entertaining (imagine that)!
The more interested your students are in practising the subject, the more likely they are to retain the information. To get started, create challenges and quests, think creatively and strategically about homework and assessments.
Practising can be made fun even by altering the context in which lessons to be practised are presented.
Simply put, present positive challenges. Challenges are good as they allow students to stretch and grow. Some students need challenges simply because without them they would get bored. So be sure to know your students and what you think they can handle, communication can be the key here.
Breaking up lessons can mix things up and keep your students enthusiastic about practising what they learn. Give an introduction, then try hands-on learning activities. As we all know, variety and creativity are the best way to ensure practising lessons are fun.
Wrapping it here!
Practice ensures that your students look forward to another fun-filled lesson. It also makes the classroom lesson time more engaging and interesting too.
Keep this list handy this school year, it can be applied to almost any subject, from a preschool alphabet lesson to math, English, science and geography.