February 26, 2011
The Educational Bookends
Two teaching techniques are known as the educational bookends: previews and summaries. The idea is that you present a preview of the material ("Let me preview adverse possession for you. We will be studying the topic for the next 2 weeks."), teach the material, and the summarize the material ("Let's pull together what we have learned about adverse possession over the last 2 weeks.").
Global learners (who need a road map of the topic before they can understand the sub-topics within the topic) will appreciate the preview step. It helps them to understand how to fit the parts into the whole as the material is covered. They will feel that they know what the "road trip" will be about and can enjoy the journey.
Sequential learners (who need to first understand each sub-topic before they can think about the overview) will appreciate the summary step. It helps them to know where they have been and how the parts fit into the whole now that they understand the material in its segments.
In short, each type of learner gets to the same destination in a different way. By providing both a preview and a summary, the teacher starts or ends the journey appropriately for each type of learner.
The trick as a professor is to remember to do both steps and not just the one that matches your own style of learning! (Amy Jarmon)
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