Moving on from yesterday’s posting, Rosenshine’s third principle focuses on establishing connections between what is currently being learnt and what has been learnt before. In conjunction with reformulating, summarising, elaborating and so on, constantly making connections with prior learning has been shown to aid later retrieval greatly.
I think the key thing here is practice but practice of a specific kind: what is most desirable is that, rather in the manner of a rolling wave, what is currently being introduced as new learning is presented in small steps, which simultaneously enfolds within itself that which has already been taught previously. In such a way, the continuity and coherence of learning are maintained.
Error correction and feedback should form a central part of every lesson. For example, I know that Singaporean maths advocates recommend choosing each day, say, five or six different pupils in a class of twenty-five to thirty to participate actively in the lesson or to answer questions about what is being taught. This approach is likely to bring out flaws in pupils’ conceptual understanding, their deficiencies in a particular skill area, and their lack of procedural or factual knowledge. In this sense, errors offer learning opportunities. In this way too, the teacher is able to check that what is being taught is being learnt. It also enables the teacher to make adjustments to what is being presented or to re-teach.