If one wishes a subject to be taught with maximal effectiveness, he should:
#2. Present it in its simplest form (but not necessarily its most elementary).
Break down concepts into simple terms so even complex subject matter is presented into bite size pieces that can be easily understood. Doctors describe medical procedures in “laymen’s terms” exactly for this reason; so the patient doesn’t need a medical degree to understand what is happening and what to expect.
– Gauge its terms to the understanding of the student.
Use nomenclature appropriate for the age group, ability level and experience of the student and make sure to define any unfamiliar or new words and keep those definitions clear and simple for the student. Most likely, you’re not talking to a third grader who is ready to tackle their Master’s thesis.
– Use terms of greater complexity only as understanding progresses.
Use a gradient approach to teaching. As student understanding and ability is increased in the subject, you can then step up the game and introduce more and more complex concepts and nomenclature as their understanding progresses. Older students may not have fully gotten earlier concepts as expected and this is how you can gradually increase their knowledge and understanding.
Does this mean that subject matter and learning should be dumbed-down?
This is how to build the foundation for all future successful learning and application in a subject. Complex concepts don’t have to be presented in a way that seems difficult to learn or understand.
Keeping it simple and progressing at a pace that students can follow and build upon is how anything in life is mastered and how learning should be: fun, interesting and relatively easy.
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