The Pace of Instruction and Learning – Common Sense Teaching


speedy_turtle_400_wht_13232The Pace of Instruction and Learning – Common Sense Teaching

Most instruction is delivered at a snail’s pace.- much too slowly, even for children with learning issues.

It is counter-intuitive, but instruction should be delivered at a rapid rate. There is a window of optimum presentation speed for learning. That window is a pace at which the information is being delivered at a pace that does not allow a student’s attention to wander. The student must stay focused or they will make errors of inattention. The pace is not so fast as to push the learner into unnecessary mistakes, but it is swift enough that the student has to focus his full attention to the task.

The benefits are that the student learns more faster and has to spend less time in instruction and practice. More curriculum gets covered in less time providing more time for other activities.

The biggest error of teaching slowly happens when the learner makes an error. Most teachers, tutors or homeschoolers slow the presentation pace, mistakenly believing that if they slow down the student will understand more readily –wrong.

What is actually happening is that fewer opportunities to learn are being offered. There is now time for the student to attend to something else, which is probably not what the instructor wants. It allows for more off-task behavior, complaining, avoiding, escaping so that less curriculum gets covered, fewer correct answers occur and the student is less frequently reinforced for attempts and correct answers.

This higher pace works best when the instructor has a completely scripted lesson on a specific set of tasks that allows for rapid presentation. If the teacher is forced to create the curriculum, and necessary corrections on the fly, it may not fare so well.