According to Thorndike, when a child is not ready to learn, he or she cannot be forced to learn. Teachers should adopt the principles of individual differences. The easier learning tasks should be assigned to pupils of less mental ability and the more difficult tasks should be assigned to pupils of superior mental ability.

If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.
-Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada

“Did you understand the lesson?”

“Yes sir!”

“Yes?! You know, that is the most abused question a teacher could ask their students. Every time I ask you whether or not you understood the lesson you would always say yes. But this time, I would like you to be very honest. Please, tell me the truth. Did you understand the lesson?”

“No sir!”

At least, eleven students were honest enough to say that they did not understand the lesson. This happened during a discussion in one of my classes. The topic was all about the different types of sentence structures; specifically, the difference between a compound and complex sentence.

I handle two grade levels, with two sections each. First section and Second section. Although we have the same lessons in both sections, I have to vary the strategies that I used. The activities that I give to the students of the first section are different from those of the second section. For example, in teaching literature such as short stories… I give a simpler and shorter story to those students in the lower section. I don’t usually follow the teaching module. I have to modify some of the lessons and activities.

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Thorndike also stated in his law of exercise that practice reinforces learning. This puts importance on drill, repetition, and review.

The law of exercise is one of the most effective ways which I believe help students master a lesson. For example, for the students to be able to construct a sentence, they should master first the different parts of speech since these are very crucial part’s of the English lessons. As early as in the elementary grades, these parts of speech should be taught and reinforced to them. Therefore teachers have significant roles. Unfortunately, elementary teachers in the Philippines teach all the basic subjects. With due respect to them, I don’t think they can teach all the lessons well, since they have to concentrate on different subjects and they usually cannot focus on only one. Consequently, the pupils do not learn much from the teachers.

A post on facebook page said: “If teachers cannot teach all the subjects, how could they expect students to learn them all.” Funny but it is true. It is advised therefore, that a teacher should only teach a minimum of one or two subjects which are his or her major.

In secondary schools, mostly in small schools, some teachers are given subjects which are not their major; to teach. Since they lack enough knowledge for the subject they are teaching, they could not expect their students to learn easily.

For teachers to expect their students to master the lessons, they should master first their subject-matter. When it comes to teaching English, as long as a person can master the rules of grammar and the parts of speech, he or she can easily construct a sentence. Hence, the mastery of them is strongly recommended.

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The Law of Exercise and Readiness in Teaching

As a solution to my problem, I organized a remedial teaching with the slow-learners. We study the different parts of speech, their uses and functions. We review the rules in grammar such as the subject verb-agreement. I discovered that they have already learned these things when they were in Elementary, but they have easily forgotten them because they don’t put them into practice.

In conclusion, the students must always practice writing sentences with the guidance of their teacher. It is also important to show them their mistakes. We have to check their outputs and let them look at their mistakes. After which, we repeat the process until they master the skill. Then we can say, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!

According to Thorndike, when a child is not ready to learn, he or she cannot be forced to learn. Proper attention to individual motivation is paramount for an instructor to essentially “know their audience.” Combining readiness and exercise can create substantial progress in learning for students of any discipline or beginning skill level.


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