Repetition in Education

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol

Most of us with stable, comfortable lives abhor repetition. It is a dull yet necessary aspect of our lives. What makes some of us deal with it better than others? There is a Japanese term Ichigo ichie which translates to “one time, one encounter”. So, repetition needn’t be so routine! There is always something new to learn.

As I approach January and the fourth grade launch of timed multiplication fluency practice, I find myself thinking about repetition. What role does repetition play in education? Repetition by itself is not so valuable. However, it can help us learn more deeply if we look at it in a brand new way.

When math facts are automatic we can get to higher order thinking.

When students revise their writing and thinking it gets better. That requires repeated thinking and writing about an original idea. Something that is so rushed in school.

When a child repeats the same undesired behavior over and over we need to remember that they are often craving predictability in their unpredictable life.

Does repetition work for or against you in your life?  How do you use repetition in your classroom to go deeper?


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