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Teaching Tip #8: April 2023

Teaching Tip #8: April 2023

Posted by Ed Straka on 03/30/2023

Break It Down – When students do not understand a concept during a lesson, break down the material into its parts to focus on the problematic area. Do not simply repeat the question; think about the part of the material that most likely caused the confusion in your students’ mind, and ask smaller, simpler questions about this part.

The goal is to provide the smallest hint possible and do it quickly. This is a challenging teaching technique that needs to be thought through ahead of time during planning by considering possible wrong answers and cues to use for those errors.

There are many ways to break down the material, depending upon the subject being taught.

Here is an example:

If you are asking for a definition of an odd number for math, provide an example: “3 is an odd number, but 4 is not.”

If you are discussing words that are spelled the same, yet one is a noun and the other is a verb, you could try this: “Some paint has lead in it – but when you take your little brother to the paint store they have to be willing to be what by the hand?” – answer “led.”

Eliminate false choices. “If it were a verb, it would be an action. Is owner an action?”

Another example is when your young student is reading a lesson out loud, and they stumble over a word. Remind them of the phonics rule for that rule, i.e. “I see the owl.”

If your student is unsure of sounding out the word “owl,” you may ask them what the two sounds are that “ow” can make. This reinforces the phonics rule and also helps the student understand how the rule helps them remember how to sound out the word.

There are multiple ways that such an exercise may be utilized in your home education program. The main thing is to think it through and try to plan ahead of time rather than getting caught unprepared and attempting to come up with an example at the last moment.

Happy Planning!