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Professional Practice

ILLUSTRATION: Simone Martin-Newberry

Illustration of students learning.

In my quest to help a student struggling with math, a conversation with a more experienced teacher opened my eyes to the power of memory. Using three steps, my student had better retention of class examples, and was able to quickly recognize when a line of thinking led to an unreasonable solution.

The memory techniques are: (1) Purposeful repetition. It should take place daily, but does not require a large time commitment. (2) Review what you know and add one more. Let's say you can recite the alphabet backwards from z to s. Review that aloud, and then add the next letter. (3) Focus on the single most important item, and move on to another only once it is memorized. Thanks to these memory-boosting strategies, my student grew as a learner and her confidence skyrocketed. The benefits of a well-trained memory go far beyond the simple reciting of facts. As teachers, it is our duty to find authentic and creative ways to incorporate direct memory development into our learning program.

Adam Butter, OCT, is a middle school teacher in Cambridge, Ont.

Online Activities for Technological Education

by Stefan Dubowski

Teachers in auto workshops, hairstyling classes and other technological education roles usually prioritize hands-on learning. But what do you do when your school closes and you're expected to teach online? The Ontario Council for Technology Education (OCTE) has a plan: this group recently developed a number of lessons and activities in both French and English that support technology teachers as they try to keep their classes going on the web or in hybrid online/in-person situations.

Visit and have a look. You'll see lessons for various areas such as Grade 9 construction (how to measure tall objects like cranes), Grade 11 woodworking (how to design a tool storage board), and Grade 12 health care (lessons on the immune system).

There are resources for elementary students, too, including lessons on pulleys and gears (Grade 4), the properties of air (Grade 6), and form and function (Grade 7 — understanding the difference between solid, frame and shell structures).

Chris Tucker is OCTE's chair, and technological education and Specialist High Skills Major lead for the York Region District School Board. He says that during the summer of 2020, OCTE planned to do a round of traditional curriculum writing. But with the pandemic, the group modified its approach to focus on online resources to support the transition to a fully remote delivery option, though the resources can also be used as blended or face-to-face options.

"Ultimately we want teachers to take the resources, make them their own, and provide feedback so we can make them more efficient and identify any gaps," he says.