In his book, The First Days of School; How to Be an Effective Teacher, classroom management guru, Harry Wong, quotes research conducted by Madeline Hunter. He asks us to consider the following information:
- For a child to learn something new, you need to repeat it on the average 8 times.
- For a child to unlearn an old behavior and replace it with a new behavior, you need to repeat the new behavior on the average 28 times.
- 20 of those times are used to eliminate the old behavior and 8 of the times are used to learn the new behavior.
The implication of this information is enormous:
There is great value in thinking out your classroom procedures carefully before teaching them for the first time.
As well, whenever tempted to speed up or take shortcuts in the teaching of classroom procedures, remind yourself how much longer it takes to reteach than it does to teach something well the first time around. Time devoted to the teaching of procedures is time well spent.