In training we use Twin Check-outs on a regular basis. Each student has a twin with whom to work.
First the student studies his theory assignment. If he finds it too difficult he is coached by his twin. When the student knows the material, he is given a Check-out by his twin. If he flunks he returns to study and, when ready, gets a new Check-out. When he passes the twin signs the checksheet and attests to, that the student has understood it, has no misunderstoods, and can apply it.
Understanding and School
In the Study Technology the student's understanding must be examined. It must be verified that the student understands the words as well as the principles described. The bottom line is, the student is expected to be able to use the facts in practice. If the student's understanding isn't examined he will eventually get upset with the subject. Course difficulties can always be traced back to non-comprehension of words and data. This can be prevented by doing Check-outs correctly and as described in this chapter and the next. It can make all the difference to a student's eventual competence and success in the subject.
First Phenomenon: When a student misses understanding a word the section right after that word is a blank in his memory. You can always trace back to a word just before the blank spot. Getting that word defined will clear up the blank in the text almost in a magical way.
Second phenomenon: This occurs after the student has gone past many misunderstood words. He begins to dislike the subject being studied. If not caught in time it gets worse and worse. This leads to various mental and physical reactions. You will hear complaints, fault-finding, and 'look-what-you-did-to-me'. Eventually this will justify a departure, a blow, from the course and the subject being studied. The student is now so fed up with it all he leaves or wants to leave.
Any system of education will of course try to prevent that. In most formal education this is done by discipline and punishment of the student. A common solution for students in such a situation, is to stay but to withdraw self from the study or subject. In place of participation and understanding the student sets up a circuit that can record and give back sentences and phrases. He becomes a mental 'tape recorder of words'. This we call a 'Glib Student'.
When this occurs we have "the quick student who somehow never applies what he learns". The second phenomenon is, that a student can study some words and give them back correctly and yet show no participation or understanding. The student passes exams with flying colors but can't apply the data.
How to Break It
A merely uninterested or dull student is stuck in the blankness and non-comprehension following some misunderstood word.
The "very bright student", who upon inspection is found to be unable use or think with the data, isn't there at all. He has completely given up on confronting the subject at hand. The cure for either of these conditions of "bright, but no-understanding" and "dull student" is to find the missing definitions.
Knowing these facts it can easily be prevented ahead of time. Preventing it is the duty of the twin. He can catch it in coaching and in Check-outs.
Coaching of Theory
The course supervisor uses this principle when he has a student who is having trouble or is slow or glib. He teams that student up with a twin with similar difficulties and has them take turns using twinning and theory coaching. Then, when they have finished a text assignment this way they give their twin a Check-out. The Check-out is a spot Check-out, a few definitions or rules and some demonstrations are asked for.
Correct Check-outs and examinations are done only by making the person being tested answer:
1. The meanings of the words. The student has to be able to define the words used in his own words and demonstrate their use by using them in his own made-up sentences.
2. Demonstrate how the data are used. Here the twin can ask for examples of actions or applications. "What does the first paragraph say?" would never do. "Quote rule one, two, and three" would be off the mark. Neither of these would reveal if the student is a 'bright non-applier' or a 'dull student'. Such an examination would just lead to dull, 'critical', antagonistic students ready to blow the course.
Go over the material being examined and pick out some uncommon words. Ask the student to define each and demonstrate its use by making up sentences with the word in question. Flunk the first signs of hesitation or uncertainty and tell the student to restudy the materials. You have to be tough on this point. The least hesitation equals a "flunk".
You would pick technical terms for him to define. But you should not limit it to that. Pick less commonly used words as well. From time to time pick real simple words, such as 'a', 'the', 'by', etc. Sometimes you will be surprised that such common words are troublesome or misunderstood. Working with the same twin one will soon know for which types of words to check.
Students may at first feel 'unjustly and harshly treated' when given tough Check-outs like this. To begin with they may get a hunted look and sweat over dictionaries. But they will never begin to gossip and criticize, get sick, or blow course.
The theory section of a course may often say, " they take care of all that in the practical section". This is the wrong way to look at it. If you have a theory section that believes that, practical can't function at all. Practical goes through the simple motions and actions. Theory covers the reasons why one goes through the motions and actions.