Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Teaching and learning tricky topics
Teaching and learning tricky topics

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2 What is it that students don’t understand?

Identifying what tricky topics exist in any particular subject area can be very difficult, even for teachers who appear to understand their students’ learning needs in great detail. Teachers often feel frustrated when trying to understand their students’ difficulties, saying:

‘I just don’t understand why they don’t understand’

Described image
Figure 1 (repeated from Week 1) I don’t understand

Through the work with teachers, the tricky topics that drills down to the causes of student misconceptions and helps teachers target their teaching interventions so that they make a difference. The first step in this process is to work out what it is that the students are struggling to understand. This can be done through a ‘needs analysis’.