American students continue to lag behind students in other industrialized countries, particularly in math and science. In many school districts, this has yielded a push toward more achievement tests to track—and hopefully improve—students’ progress. According to new research, though, this might not be the right approach. A study recently published in Memory & Cognition suggests that students may learn better when they plan to teach material, not when they know they’ll be tested.
Can Teaching Aid Learning?
Researchers administered several memory and recall tests to small groups of undergraduate students. For example, in one test, 56 undergraduates read a 1,500-word passage. With each test, one group of students was told that they would be tested on the information. Another group learned that they’d be expected to teach the information to someone else. At the end of each test, researchers tested the students on their recall of the material, and no student was actually required to teach the information.
The students who thought they would be teaching the information to another person were better able to recall important details, displayed fewer signs of distraction, and offered a better-organized summary of the information they had just learned.expectations at the beginning of the learning process, suggesting that expectations can change both the way students learn and the effectiveness with which they recall information.
- Nestojko, J. F., Bui, D. C., Kornell, N., & Bjork, E. L. (2014). Expecting to teach enhances learning and organization of knowledge in free recall of text passages. Memory & Cognition. Retrieved from http://psych.wustl.edu/memory/nestojko/NestojkoBuiKornellBjork%282014%29.pdf
- Student mindset has big impact on learning. (2014, August 12). Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/280851.php
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