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    Deliberate Practice

September 17, 2023

Let’s Go Over This Again, Shall We?

Why Review in Math Education is ESSENTIAL for Student Retention- and Good Grades

It’s very common among educational institutions that some students will present a much more difficult time retaining  learning. Whether it be a learning divergency, inability to pay attention, or the content itself is too difficult to grasp- many students all over the world struggle with education retention.

It isn’t entirely their fault. Young minds are so malleable they all have various ways of learning new content. Memory is an especially intricate function of the human brain; it only makes sense that a young child’s ability to remember is slightly warped due to their lack of biological maturity as well as experience. They take in SO much information throughout a day, it’s only rational to understand the overwhelm they must feel! According to an article by Neuron, forgetting is “a critical component of a healthy mnemonic system”. 

However, the instructors and teachers in place have a responsibility to best try and coordinate different modalities for learning to ensure every student is receiving what they need. 

What To Do About Forgetfulness in Education

A very traditional yet consistently successful way to increase learning retention is constant, even meticulous review. This has proven to be especially beneficial when it comes to teaching young students Math. Math is one of the more objectively logical subjects in school, with a multitude of tiny moving parts and rules. 

Because math is a particularly dense yet detailed subject, with LOTS of steps to completing certain problems, children have a hard time keeping it all fresh and at their disposal. 

Extended breaks typically diminish the potency of learned knowledge, which makes review all that more beneficial. To review means to look back at all the lessons taught, read through, maybe even practice problems again and again for optimal comprehension. 

Math has been proven a subject that strongly implicates the importance of a growth mindset. This is especially representative through the learnedness of the review! 

In math, a student is given the option to attack a failed problem or equation two ways: try again with a new approach, or disregard it entirely. How does this tie into Math review?

If a student (given the proper resources) REVIEWS the mathematical fundamentals they’re currently learning, they’ll eventually discover the flaws in their problem solving, thus being more motivated to try again with a more developed solution. Converging review with a growth mindset encourages the students to practice patience, resilience, and a more optimistic outlook.

Additionally, the review is representative of a growth mindset because it encourages students to look outside themselves for resources (when available). 

The vital aspect of the review is to be able to connect the content. If a student has an upcoming assessment with more than a few mathematical techniques being addressed, then they must be provided the insight into how they’re all related. The more the students are assisted in recognizing the interconnectedness of math, the more retention they constitute.


Fun Ways to Implement Math Review

Yes, there are FUN and exciting ways to integrate math review into a student’s coursework. There is a multitude of approaches, ranging from collaborative work to games even to additional class resources!

Here are just some (of the many) ways to enjoyable implement math review- in a classroom AND at home!

Games: Everybody loves a good game! Math is not everyone’s favorite subject to learn at school, so incorporating fun into the learning process makes it all that more digestible. These types of reviews can vary based on inspiration, like Math Jeopardy or Math Candyland where each student has to complete a problem to advance on the board. A Math trivia is also a great option- Kahoot has become a very fun option for classroom review!

Collaborative Work + Peer Review: It’s amazing what kids can learn from one another. Throughout a unit of lessons (that’ll be included on the same assessment), continuously include time for peer work on classwork problems so they can go through them TOGETHER. This is also a wonderful opportunity to strengthen their collaborative teamwork skills! 

Extra Help Opportunities: Sometimes, the best resource is the teacher. If you are an instructor of any sort, try to allot time for students to have the option for extra help. Not only will this provide wonderful one-on-one focus to address the specific obstacles of each student, but it’ll strengthen trust in the class overall!

Study Guides: Depending on the age of the student, take-home study guides can work wonders! Teachers can subliminally add questions they plan to include on a test, especially the more difficult ones. Study guides are a great, direct framework for what you expect the students to know and complete!

Access to Classroom Resources: This can also vary depending upon the classroom. For some students, they learn best when they can look back at the notes and reread what they were taught. If the students are at an appropriate age to access work via computers, create a page entirely dedicated to your Powerpoints (or in-class exercises) as a review option!

Computer Games: This is a GREAT At-Home tool! Kids of many ages and levels of math difficulty can do this. There is an assortment of computer games online that a child can access to review what they’re learning. If you know your students have utilized Kahoot for review, this is something they can access at home (given computer access). Additionally, smaller and younger children who enjoy games will probably experience less resistance to math learning if there is fun included.


An Important Factor To Consider

As recently stated, there are going to be students who don’t receive Math well if they don’t particularly feel passionate about the subject. That’s why in any learning or review capacity it’s important to incorporate Math problems students will ENJOY. Regardless of what review is being implemented, students typically respond better when they can relate to what’s being given. This can range from (consensually) including students’ names in word problems, adding their favorite characters to problems, or finding acronyms and fun nicknames to describe mathematical concepts.