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Effective feedback: Rehearse and repeat

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What’s the idea?

This is a type of feedback that requires students to act by repeating the same skill or task multiple times to increase fluency and understanding.

 

What does it mean?

Rehearse and repeat is the second in a series of five ‘actions’ that students can take after receiving their work back. This technique, which could also be referred to as ‘practise and drill’, is inspired by musicians. Students practise something specific (scales, finger exercises or a performance), each time paying attention to a particular skill, element or detail. In this way, students are encouraged to make progress, and recognise that they have already made it, before presenting their work again.

What are the implications for teachers?

Students will need specific, scaffolded guidance to ensure that their practice is useful; simply asking them to ‘practise doing X’ will not have a significant impact on their learning. Give them specific questions so that the pace and difficulty of their practice is set at the correct level for them.  It’s a good idea to avoid setting too many questions, though; this technique is all about repetition of a specific action to consolidate and strengthen understanding.
Here are some examples of rehearse and repeat prompts:

  • Practise factorising basic common expressions by doing these questions…
  • ‘Rehearse your use of future tense/dialogue markers/fronted adverbials/connectives etc by re-writing these 20 statements, adding the appropriate phrase, punctuation…’
  • ‘Drill this week’s spellings by writing each one 10 times then testing yourself until you can spell them all correctly without checking.’

Set manageable deadlines and show that you expect students to have completed a pre-decided amount of practice before a certain time. Hold them accountable to this and ensure that you make time to value the positive impact of their practice.

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