Topics in Secondary Education: Why Check for Understanding?

January 12, 2011

Checking for understanding is an important step in a student’s learning process, and also the teacher’s teaching methods. It is important to check for understanding during a lesson for a number of reasons. Many students, myself included, aren’t self-regulated learners. That is to say, these students make themselves believe that they understand concepts taught during the lesson, but in actuality, do not really grasp them.  Some students will be unable to ask for assistance when they don’t understand something, this feel of inadequacy will jade them and they will be unable to get assistance in learning these concepts. Though not limited to these reasons, it is important for the teacher to take initiative when the student is unable to. When a teacher checks for understanding, they’re filling in the gaps that students will inevitably have after the initial lesson. These gaps are caused by the issues mentioned above, and others, and checking for understanding helps to address these issues and help to complete their understanding of the topic where it might have been an issue before.

Not only does checking for understanding address some of these issues, but it also specifically addresses others. In order for learning to be enduring and long laster, checking for understanding is necessary in that it allows students to critically think about subjects that they might otherwise just receive verbatim from a teacher. By checking for understanding, students will be able to adapt the knowledge they’re gaining from the teacher and correlate this will knowledge they already have to create a better understanding of the new knowledge.

Utilizing these and other methods, teachers will be better able to address the needs of individual students. Using these plans that are tailored to specific learning challenges that students may have, teachers are able to tailor their lessons around students, and while checking for understanding help fill in gaps, improve their ability to learn, and also creating enduring knowledge.

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