Why Reviewing Student Understanding of Spanish Language Lessons is Relevant
Effective learning requires the constant review of a student’s understanding of a lesson, I am not just referring to learning Spanish but all subjects, otherwise how can it be guaranteed that they have understood the correct meaning of what they have been taught?
This review of understanding takes time away from actual teaching, however, it is an intrinsic part of the lesson. If students have not understood what they have learnt their journey to gaining a second language will grind to a halt and fail.
If understanding is not regularly reviewed during a lesson how would a teacher know that a student has grasped the meaning of a particular class? Students themselves may also believe that they have understood the lesson, which might not be the case. In a worst case scenario a student might not tell the teacher that they don’t understand a lesson because they may feel ashamed to admit their failing, as it may reflect upon themselves and the teacher.
It is the responsibility of the teacher to stimulate confidence in their students so they feel comfortable to openly express that they have not understood something. Similarly, students should feel the freedom to bring to the attention of the teacher their doubts and needs. Always remember that learning a new language must be FUN (See blog: Learning a second language must be fun).
Reviewing and verification techniques should vary according to the level of the student and the class.
Beginner student lesson reviews undertaken by the teacher include test questions, mime gestures or actions, timelines, use of hands and fingers to mark which part of the sentence or fragment of a sentence is being investigated, amongst others techniques. The ability to know when it is the right time to stop the progression of the lesson and ask pertinent questions is also essential.
Intermediate/advanced students lesson reviews undertaken by the teacher will also include the use of conceptual questions, which break down the meaning of a sentence into a smaller number of statements or the turning of a statement into a question.
I believe that successful learning occurs when students feel the confidence and freedom to ask questions at any time. In turn, students should welcome teachers checking their understanding of the lesson because this is how a teacher will be able to assess if more work needs to be done on a specific topic or whether it is time to move on to something new.
 I would be interested to open this issue for discussion and to hear from students that have found hard to admit in a class that they did not understand a topic.