The Three Step Method

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Method & Rationale

This method lets students work in three different ways at three different levels (steps) while learning or revising a topic – or training a skill. The three levels extend from basic terminology understanding to dealing with more complex matters. The training at all three levels will be useful for all students, no matter how advanced they are.

Student Outcomes

   -   Approaching a topic or a skill from different angles gives both wider and deeper understanding
   -   All students can achieve something at each level – satisfying for all
   -   All students are active during the whole lesson – maximum learning efficiency
   -   Different skills are trained – useful and varied
   -   Slower students get a chance to work with more complex and creative exercises – not only the basic ones
   -   Faster students will both revise simpler skills and knowledge and get a chance to reach further with the more complex exercises

Key Skills Trained

   -   Word knowledge – both topic specific and general
   -   Text comprehension – both as a skill itself where you learn how to reveal and understand the content of a text and as a means of finding the
        relevant facts in a text and learning them efficiently
   -   Applying both existing and newly gained knowledge to discuss bigger matters


   -   We read a text aloud in the class. The students will then have the text by them while reading. When the text is read a work sheet is distributed
      to the students. They will then have 10 minutes to solve the first step, which is about word knowledge. The task would be to explain a number of
      words which appear in the text. The students do as many as they can during 10 minutes. This is Step 1.
   -   After this all students move on to Step 2, where they answer questions on the content of the text. This phase will train text comprehension and,
      if the purpose is learning the content, also offer an opportunity to do that (on your own).
      The students answer as many questions they can in 10 minutes.
   -   Finally, all start on Step 3, where both already existing knowledge and content from the text are used to discuss bigger matters.
      The purpose is to show what you really can do with your knowledge and skills.
On completion of all three steps, the results will be gone through in the class and (where necessary) corrected by the students themselves during the go-through or the working material could be collected and corrected/assessed by the teacher. When learning the content is the purpose, rather than training reading comprehension in general, the questions should cover most of the relevant content (to be learnt). In this case, all questions should be completed by all students when going through the answers.

Tips for Success

There should be a progression in difficulty at all three steps, making it possible for even the weakest students to achieve some results throughout the whole exercise, yet challenging the more advanced ones.


   -   The method should be possible to adapt to fit most theoretical school subjects, such as mother tongue, a foreign language,
      social science or science – in fact any subject where the content of a text should be learnt and applied
   -   Faster students will solve the easier tasks quickly and then have time to solve more difficult ones as well (both revising and learning new things)
   -   The exercise will take some for the teacher time to create, but could be used over and over again
   -   The exercise could probably also be used as a test

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