Five Steps to Increase Student Achievement Fast
1. Recognize that students are capable of a higher level than they are currently demonstrating.
All too often, we become discouraged with student performance and begin to believe that our students cannot do any better. We tried everything we know to help them improve, and when they fail to do so, they fulfill the unspoken prophecy of "I can't". Every student can improve, and improvement begins with rekindling our belief that they can.
2. Identify three areas in which students need to improve.
These might include broad areas such as math, science, language arts, social studies. Or, they might include several elements within one area, such as comprehension, fluency, and prosody in reading. Being clear about the need helps us to focus lessons and instruction where it is most needed.
3. Narrow the focus and determine the level of performance you expect.
Choose one area on which to focus your energy and determine what level of performance is realistic in the time you have. If they are a grade level behind, they will have great difficulty in meeting grade level performance in four weeks. However, if they are three months behind, a one-month concentrated effort may well result in improving their performance to grade level. Determine what outcome you expect. What would their homework look like if they were "on target"? What would class participation look like? What would their test or quiz results be? Narrowing the focus helps set the target for their performance.
4. Show students the target they are expected to meet, and the steps they must master to "hit the target".
Usually, when we begin a new lesson, we let students know what we expect them to learn, but we may fail to tell them the steps we will need to take, and how we are going to help them get there. When we can identify the specific steps they will need to take to achieve success, we give them a glimpse of the target, and help them set their minds on taking small steps toward the achievable goal.
5. With the targeted performance outcome in mind, prepare your lesson or unit to achieve that outcome.
By designing your teaching with the targeted performance in mind, you will begin to structure lessons that are more focused, more directed to achieve the specific outcome that you have identified.
Kathleen Kardaras, Psy.D., is trained in both pedagogy and psychology. She is a licensed clinical counselor and professor who has taught most levels from Pre-K through graduate studies. She provides consulting to schools, universities, and individuals on optimizing achievement and she does transformational life coaching for individuals and groups. Her books and articles include "Transform Your Life in Four Seasons", "Transcendance", and "Bull's Eye Teaching". She can be reached at 847-804-2278 or 773-777-4003. Kkardaras@thekoreconcept.com [http://www.TheKoreConcept.com]
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