I do describe the theories, I have them discuss the theories and evaluate them and explain them in their own words - but they are not retaining this information very well. I think the studies are more concrete, have a storyline, and are therefore easier to lodge and retrieve from long-term memory and so the students are focusing their energy on studies alone. How can I connect the theories to the studies in such a way that students will remember and appreciate the theories?
Here are some thoughts. I would really like to see suggestions from readers.
- Include concepts and theories on a check-list of required knowledge for each unit.
- Always have students write a paragraph summary about each theory before looking at the research studies associated with it.
- Regularly use mind-maps with a central concept which branches to theories, which branch out to studies.
- Require students to name and explain relevant theories in their essays, before going for the research studies.
- Occasionally ask students to defend an argument just using theories, without studies.
- Engage in discussion with students about how science works and that theories and studies are equally important to the construction and validation of new knowledge.
- Ask the Theory of Knowledge teacher for help making students understand the importance of theory.
Of these, I'll try 1, 4, and 5 for now. There will be a second post about how it goes.