As a teacher, it is your responsibility to put your students on the path of academic success. However, many teachers are trying different and path breaking educational tools that cater to different students and help improve the performance. But, often, the teachers fail to analyze the fact that the basic building block for any type of lesson plan and learning any new subject is the powerful vocabulary. Therefore, the teachers should focus on building vocabulary skills. Strong vocabulary is the cornerstone for the academic success of the students.
Teachers and parents know that students do not love to learn new vocabulary words. They often memorize the words when it comes to spelling and vocabulary tests. These are the temporary solutions. Therefore, the need of the hour is an innovative vocabulary solution. Many teachers are using interesting vocabulary learning games to increase the enthusiasm of students and develop longer recall of learned vocabulary words, while giving the contextual formation of the vocabulary words. There are many free online educational resources (carson dellosa)that provide learning games for free. There are different variants of the vocabulary games, such as spelling game, crosswords and vocabulary matching games. These vocabulary games are interactive and simple to play, therefore, students spend long hours in front of their computer screens while building vocabulary skills.
In recent years, there has been much discussion in the outside community that students are leaving school with less knowledge than their parents. There have been calls to return to the old ways of teaching which would include the use of a class quiz from time to time. However, what parents and others have forgotten is that, right from primary school, students are now exposed to a greater number of learning areas than the old ‘Three Rs’.
Consequently, the students have less time on the traditional subjects than was the case in years gone by. Thus, we teachers still need to look for efficient ways and modern teaching supplies to ensure students get all the necessary essential learning so that they are ready to enter the real world at school’s end.
Syllabus writers have tried to counter this loss of subject time by reducing content and therefore encouraging teachers to concentrate on teaching for understanding rather than for a body of facts. However, there is still, as ever, a need for students to know basic facts on which to build their learning and to have an understanding of the language of the subject area they study. The quiz is an effective way to enhance this learning and understanding.
The strengths of a quiz are many. They include the following.
- They are time efficient. They can be as little as 5 minutes long or as long15 minutes.
- The teacher can create a quiz, for each topic, of questions that are often done poorly by students.
- These quizzes can be recorded and used over and over again.
- The teachers can ask students as a homework exercise to write quiz questions on the topic which they find difficult. These questions then become a revision exercise plus extra quiz questions that the teachers can use in the future. These questions also lead the teacher towards areas of the topic that the students find more difficult.
- The quiz also allows young teachers a great opportunity to develop and practice their questioning skills.
The quiz can help develop:
- better basic skills and subject content knowledge
- better problem solving skills
- an understanding of subject terminology
- a fun environment
- listening skills
- a desire for more success
- learning through the back door
- better self esteem
- learning through competition
- more self confidence
- educational classroom decorations
In addition, a quiz can be used:
- as a revision lesson (part or all of one).
- as a review of a topic before the teacher begins a new lesson.
- as a review of a lesson just taught.
- as a development lesson into a new topic, i.e. questions are used to develop new ideas in a subject area by using students’ own personal experiences.
- as a diagnostic test.
- to develop a better understanding of a subject’s language.
- to develop better communication skills in subjects.
- to allow the teacher to find areas of learning where he/she needs to revisit.
In conclusion, there are many types of quizzes. In my early career, after a year teaching in a primary school for one year, I taught a variety of high school subjects in Years Eight to Ten including Maths, Science, English, History and Geography. These gave me many opportunities to use the quiz as a teaching strategy. What it also taught me is that the quiz is an effective teaching and learning tool across all subject areas from lower primary school classes up until junior high school.