TEACHING THAT STICKS

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“…Teaching that Sticks…” Over the next few weeks I would like to share with you some key perspectives
around learning at Matahui and to begin with want to impart some perspectives raised by Chip and Dan
Heath in an article they wrote titled, “Teaching that Sticks.”1
They suggest that every day we are presented
with ideas, but “sticky ideas” are ideas that are understood, remembered and may change aspects of our lives
such as how we form opinions, alter our behaviour or perhaps encourage us to reflect on what we value.
As teachers and parents we want ideas to stick but why is it that some ideas seem to stick more effortlessly
than others? Some ideas seem absurd, ludicrous – “dumb.” But they stick. Chances are they don’t have any
tangible resource behind them – they are just naturally “sticky.” Can you recall an inane joke, urban legend,
a conspiracy theory, the essence of a fad diet, a scientific theory or the rudiments of how a combustion
engine works? Some of these ideas may be ridiculous, some insightful – but the fact is they all stick.
One way we aim to help make ideas stick is by utilizing resources outside the classroom. Undertaking a field
trip can be an “activator” that helps ideas stick. Equally, if used near the end of a unit, it can reinforce key
concepts or provide a direct connection to what has previously been learned in class, especially as the
experience the students are exposed to presents them with visual, tangible information that will help make
ideas stick.
Recently our Year 3 – 8 students took part in a Bay of Plenty Regional Council Wairoa River Restoration
project. What a great way to focus upon, simplify and make the following ideas stick for students;
 understanding that adopting land management practices will future-proof and sustain land and
livelihoods
 recognising the importance of protecting and enhancing waterways and other natural areas
 appreciating what we could contribute as a “care group”
As you have discussions with your children, think about the ideas you are sharing and
exploring and consider what makes them “stick.”

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