Tuesday, November 18, 2014

If You Give Reminders, Your "Teammates" Will Play Better

One of my fellow Bison sent this video to me after we were discussing maintaining expectations for behavior in a classroom.  He is also a basketball coach which is how he came across the video.  We both agreed that while the video is very much about basketball specifically - the information can be directly applied to a classroom (or board room). At 3 minutes - it's the right time frame for busy professionals - Go ahead and watch it.  My connections to education are below:

The video says:  Give a reminder before it's needed - feedback after the event is not leading - it's"complaining about something after the fact".  We have to "recognize the situation before it happens and give a reminder then."

These quotes reminded me of the formative feedback we provide students during a lesson.  When a student asks a question in class about the concept, we know that we need to remind them of the correct way to address the topic.  The advantage of teaching a class multiple times is that you can begin to predict what will be the areas of confusion.  By giving the students reminders of what these misconceptions will be for a unit will help them avoid the mistake altogether or at least predict that the next section might be challenging for them.

Also, knowing a subject does not mean that we can always predict the background knowledge of each student.  Just because for the past few years, the students always understand A but not B does not mean that we can assume that all of our students are going to understand A.  This is when differentiated feedback becomes very important.  It is not enough to tell a student that they got the problem wrong (the student could have used the key to grade the problem themselves) but also to provide the information to take action to prevent it from happening again (Fisher & Frey, 2009).  This is most helpful in a formative lesson. 

As a classroom teacher, I would spend hours pouring over student short answers and provide detailed feedback about what they got wrong.  This is similar to the point guard that gave the reminder after the other team scored - complaining after the fact.  My students usually would glance at the grade they got on top, be satisfied or upset about their score and move on.  I would get so upset but what purpose did my feedback serve in their lives?  It wouldn't help them earn a higher grade and it did not tell them how it could be used in the future.  In other words, it wasn't relevant . . .

The video says:  Great leaders "constantly give reminders that is relevant" 

Regular reminders help students monitor their progress.  After repeated reminders given from the teacher, the student will start to hear the reminders in their own minds.  When a person is learning to drive, the instructor gives them a steady stream of reminders to make sure their safety and the safety of others is ensured.  Text-dependent citations are not a life-or-death situation but giving students the a process reminder will still yield strong results.  

How do you use reminders in your world?