Another skill a great teacher cannot ignore!
- Posted by: Biju Ramakrishna Pillai
- Category: Articles
How many teachers have never come across situations where their students asked them to explain certain concepts or problems again, because they had not understood it well?
Good teachers have tremendous patience. They will be happy to explain the concept or topics discussed any number of times so that their students get all their questions addressed. Different teachers do it differently. Some of them explain it exactly how it was done initially, verbatim, over and over again. Unfortunately, in spite of their best intentions and efforts, the students may not get benefited much out of such repeated exercises. However, there are some other teachers, who realize the situation the students are in, step back, think for a while, and then present the same concepts or ideas or problems in different ways. They also explain again and again, but not exactly how it was done initially. They might use more examples, start with simpler aspects and then go up to complex aspects, and moreover, they use simple and different words to drive the same meaning into their students, termed otherwise, paraphrasing.
As per the Cambridge dictionary, ‘to paraphrase’ means, “to repeat something written or spoken using different words, often in a humorous form or in a simpler and shorter form that makes the original meaning clearer.”
Smart teachers paraphrase. They don’t stop there; rather help their students learn how to paraphrase. They encourage their students to explain what they have learned or understood, in their own words. This is another powerful exercise for deep learning by students. A student who can do it well understands the concepts well.
Easier said, than done. To do it well, you need to master the skill. Unless done well, it might not get you or your students any benefits, but only confuse them more.
Time to introspect. Ask yourself, “Do I use this highly useful technique of paraphrasing smartly in my classes?”