In my classroom, I love to use drama, movement, singing, story-telling, props, art and peer to peer teaching to help the kids learn. For me, being creative and interactive is the best way to teach and helps ensure kids retain as much of the learning experience as possible.
When was the last time you read a book or listened to a speech and remembered absolutely everything? Yes, remembered every word, every concept and every detail from the book or speech? Let’s agree that the chances are pretty slim. We tend to remember the odd bits of information which resonate with us, including the overall theme, but not every detail.
Now picture yourself as a child in the classroom. The way your teachers delivered their lessons pretty much determined how you absorbed and remembered the information presented. In the past, teachers were told to teach through rote learning regardless of the child’s ability. Fortunately, in classrooms today, we know that each child’s learning style needs to be matched with tailored teaching methods using interactive multi-sensory resources.
Based on Edgar Dale’s “Cone of Learning” the diagram below shows when a person reads a book or newspaper, they tend to only remember 10% of the information, thereby filtering out 90% of the content if they solely use their reading skills. A person
tends to remember 20% of what they hear on the radio or a podcast, if they rely on their listening skills and no other senses. On the other hand, when a person takes part in two-way face to face conversations, they have to process a variety of information and communicate back and forth, so they retain 70% of the content. Staggeringly, at the top of the diagram, we see a person tends to remember 90% of the information when they are involved by interacting with the materials through drama to re-enact events, cooking to understand measurements, creating presentations, playing games, making animations, using play dough and so forth. Therefore, involvement and using as many of the senses as possible (sight, touch, hearing, taste, smelling) is the best way for a child or adult to retain any information and ultimately remember what they have been taught.
This brings me to the following quote from Benjamin Franklin’s which offers a little food for thought:
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Indeed, the diagram above gives a very broad overview on the importance of enabling a person to interact with what they are learning. There are many theories today countering Dale’s findings based on the numbers given for each learning method in the diagram; auditory processing; visual memory links; specific sensory needs; personality traits; and environmental factors. Either way, it should be noted that one size certainly does not fit all. In many cases, a child needs a lot of repetition and support to understand what they are learning and why. Also, a child in my class may not be comfortable with embracing their creativity through interactive learning, so I try to be flexible but realistic during my lesson planning.
Wonderful learning memories can be endless if the right approach is adopted by educators. I believe that getting to know the kids in any class and building upon their strengths is paramount when developing fulfilling learning and teaching experiences. Also, with any luck, this helps provoke fun, creative and inspiring memories which can last a life time.
Miss H ♥