That Morning Coffee

and a red airplane

How to Effectively Check for Understanding

We all were students once and we all know what it feels like to worry over what your teacher and classmates think of you. Example: Your teacher stands in front of the class and starts explaining the lesson to you. You do your hardest to keep up. Then when the teacher is finally done explaining, you find

yourself a bit lost. However, you don’t want him or your classmates to know about it, so you just nod all the way and pretend that you have understood everything. Right? That –unfortunately– is something that happens a lot nowadays in many classes. In this post, I will try to provide an easy –yet effective– fix for this problem.

It all boils down to understanding how students generally feel and then asking them <i>the correct question</i> to check for understanding. You need to refrain from using questions like “Do you understand?” because the student will not admit to that in front of the entire classroom–they may feel stupid if they did, wouldn’t you? Instead, try “Is that clear?” because in this case, the blame can be shifted on the quality of your instructions and explanation and the student will be comfortable enough to ask you to explain the lesson again.

If a student asks you to explain something again, you can ask if another student can explain it. If more help is needed, go through the examples one more time together step by step or just provide new, easier examples –that usually does it. In case even that doesn’t work, you can give it up for the moment and try to explain it again later, or assign it as homework and get the students to explain it the next lesson.

I hope this was helpful.


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