LAW OF RETENTION: Master the minimum

The teacher should enable all students to enjoy maximum mastery of the irreducible minimum.

MINDSET: How can I teach the students the most information in the shortest amount of time and for the greatest retention with the least effort (by the students). It deals with two primary issues of the teaching-learning relationship.
  1. Effectiveness - Is the teacher teaching the right material?
  2. Efficiency - Is the teacher teaching in the right manner?
METHODOGY: First, the teacher must love the LORD and His word is to be on his heart then he can pass it on to his students (Deut. 6:4-6) There are four ways to get God's word into his students' hearts (Deut. 6:7-9).

  1. Teach (formal) - INFORMATION
  2. Talk (casual) - INCARNATION
  1. Personal reminder (something you wear) - IMPRESS
  2. Public reminder (something public, a sign on the door) - INFLUENCE
Seven Retention Maxims
  1. Retention of facts by the student is the teacher’s responsibility.

  2. Retention of facts is effective only after they are understood.

  3. Retention increases as the student recognizes the content’s real-world relevance.

  4. Retention requires the teacher to focus on the facts that are most important.

    Remember the Pareto Principle: In a class, 20% of your content carries 80% of the real benefit to the student. Teachers should identify the facts required by a student in order to “know” the subject. This is called the Irreducible Minimum and should be understood and mastered by all students - it would then guarantee all students success.

  5. Retention arranges the facts so they are easy to memorize by incorporating acrostics, alliteration, charts, graphics, illustrations, and outlines.

  6. Retention strengthens long-term memory through regular review.

  7. Retention minimizes time for memorization to maximize time for application.

Five-Step Retention Method
  1. MATERIALS: Research and gather materials: Overview, organise and outline

  2. MINIMUM: Reduce your contents to a minimum

  3. MIND-EASY on the students ... package the contents
    • degree of understandability
    • degree of memorability

  4. [Students] MEMORIZE: Review, solidify and practice

  5. [Students] MASTER the minimum: Retain the minimum and be skillful and proficient in their use of it.
    • Indelible memorisation - a class function
    • In-depth comprehension [beyond surface meaning] - a class function
    • Intuitive integration [beyond the immediate context] - focus of homework
    • Independent utilisation [when the teacher and external pressure are not present] - focus of homework

Seven Retention Maximizers
  1. Represent the facts in a picture e.g., rainbow and the flood, statue in Daniel

  2. Express the facts with logic ... most use but least effective

  3. Transfer the facts by use of the alphabet ... easiest e.g., Psa. 119; Lamentations

  4. Associate the facts with objects and actions.

  5. Impress the facts through drama.

  6. Note the facts through music.

  7. Summarize the facts with graphs and charts.

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Alan's Gleanings | October 2011 by Alan S.L. Wong