Every student is different and so does their learning patterns.
No matter how hard you try, you will still observe that some students are not at all interested in the lectures.
Have you ever encountered this problem?
The answer is a big YES!!
You must have observed scenarios in your classroom where students try a lot to remember everything taught in the chapter. But, somehow forget everything.
Need not panic!!
Reciprocal teaching is one of the great teaching exercises that you can adopt in your classroom.
Now, you must be wondering what is reciprocal teaching?
Some of you might have heard about it while others don’t have a clue about it.
But, the question here arises, how can I use it?
Need not worry!! Just stick to this blog till the end and you will witness every minute aspect of reciprocal teaching. And, all your queries will be duly addressed by moving further.
So, let’s get started!!
What is Reciprocal Teaching?
Before further drilling down to reciprocal teaching, it is very important to understand the core concept of reciprocal teaching.
So, let’s deep dive into it.
Reciprocal teaching is an exercise that you follow in your classroom. During this method, students will tell you about what they have learned or understood from a particular chapter or passage.
You will help the students explain all the things to you by following the four pillars of reciprocal teaching. These pillars will be discussed in the subsequent section.
Firstly, you will help the students understand all those four pillars and how to use them in their learning.
Once they understand it properly, then you should divide them into small groups to have a better understanding.
As soon as they get comfortable with the entire process, you should give them the liberty to use this entire strategy on their own.
This whole process works behind the scenes of reciprocal teaching.
Always remember that reciprocal teaching works on a simple mantra: “I do, we do, you do.”
So, never hesitate to use it in your classroom.
Benefits of reciprocal teaching
You must be engrossed in your thoughts that why would I take so much pain in implementing this technique? Will it be of any good?
It is completely fine if you think this way. Because, you won’t be convinced to use this technique until you know its benefits.
So, let’s have a quick sneak-peak at some of its benefits that will help you make a judicious decision about its usability.
1. Improved literacy
With this technique, students will learn the habit of exploring difficult things rather than skipping them as they were doing earlier.
2. Enhanced engagement
Students will form the habit of finding various clues to stay engaged with the chapter or the comprehension they are doing.
3. Easy understanding
The four pillars of the technique will help the students develop better understanding skills. This will help them in the long run.
4. Learn in a convenient way
Students will imbibe the art of teamwork and learning from others. Apart from that, they will also learn how they can implement this technique for their self-learning.
Key strategies in reciprocal teaching
Since the starting of this blog, we have been talking about the four pillars of reciprocal teaching. You must be very curious to know what these pillars are.
So, let's put a mark on your running thoughts and see what are the key strategies involved in reciprocal teaching.
Predicting is the key aspect of this technique. You should teach students how they can predict what's going to happen next in the chapter or passage.
Prediction can be of two types i.e. either predicting what's going to happen in the next paragraph or predicting what the entire chapter is all about.
Encourage the students to have realistic predictions so that they don’t feel disheartened.
But, the question is how to help them with the predictions?
Give a paragraph or some title of the chapter. Ask the students to think about what the entire chapter or the very next paragraph after a certain paragraph will be all about.
This will help the students connect the dots and think from different angles. Once the student gives you a prediction about what they think.
Then ask them why did they think so?
In addition to that, ask them to predict something in a more detailed format.
For example, you can give them a history chapter with one paragraph and ask them to predict what will happen next.
This will not only boost their learning but will also build up their interest while reading to see how much they got correct.
It won’t be inappropriate to say that students won’t understand every bit of information that they read.
Instilling them with the habit of questioning will help them feel comfortable with their mistakes and move forward.
Ask the students to write questions that strike their minds as they go on reading something. Initially, it will be a bit hard for the students to think this way.
But, you can ask them to have simple questions like Why? What? Who? When? How?
As the students get comfortable with these types of questions, they will discuss these questions within their groups and try to find answers for them.
This will help them pay more attention to the details about what they are reading and they will enjoy themselves with every bit of reading.
Clarifying the students whether they got everything correct or not is very crucial in reciprocal teaching.
In the initial days, you need to take the charge and tell students whether they are confused by a particular idea in the chapter or they are unable to understand a particular word in a chapter.
Once you know about their confusions, clarify them by telling them the steps they can take to resolve their issue.
For example, you gave a literature chapter to the students. But, there were a couple of words that were not familiar to the students.
Allow students to search for the meaning of words from the dictionary or thesaurus. Besides that, if there is some chapter that students are not able to clearly understand.
Then tell the students why their thinking approach is not apt and how do they need to shift their thinking.
You can even suggest they break down the complex parts into small chunks to have a better understanding of the concept.
Summarising is one of the trickiest yet most important parts of reciprocal teaching.
You have to encourage the students to take a pause after every small interval and write down somewhere what they have learned.
You can help the students with this by encouraging them to ask questions like "What is this part about?" "How does it start?" "What message was given?"
With these simple questions, students will get key points from every paragraph and ultimately they are ready to have a long-verse of summary for the entire concept.
This will keep them engaged and intact throughout their reading.
Reciprocal teaching is undoubtedly one of the best ways to engage students in the classroom.
No doubt, it is an efficient method for engaging students but if you will practice it regularly then it can cause great exhaustion to the students.
Make sure to limit its implementation only to a couple of times a week.
So, do try this in your classroom and write down in the comment section what you feel about it.
Also, you can have free specimen books from Oswaal by filling up this form, if you haven't filled it yet. If you feel these books can be of help to your colleagues or anyone belonging to the teaching community then please, do share it with them as well.
All the Best