I love this cartoon because it highlights the disconnection between teaching and learning that some times happens.

I remember when I was in my first year of teaching back in the day. I taught composition to high school juniors and seniors. I remember a particular day I was covering run-on sentences. I was up at the board, explaining and diagramming my heart out.

Then I’d give them a few minutes to do some activity in small groups to make meaning and to practice. But it was pretty much me doing the heavy cognitive lifting that day. I went home tired to the bone only to come in the next day to have students not remember the key rules around how to use commas or the procedures for fixing a run-on sentence. Dang it, I “taught them to whistle,” or so I thought.

Since that experience years ago, I’ve obsessed with the following questions.

  • How do you ensure through lesson planning and curriculum design that you aren’t working harder than your students?
  • How do you make sure that learning transfer is happening for the student?
  • How do you make learning “sticky” enough so students have that “I got it” moment?

Tell me how do you make sure learning sticks? What strategies do you use to make sure students are internalizing their learning and able to apply it?