In re-teaching, students facilitate the learning of content that was already presented. This can be done in a variety of ways. One way that we suggest, is to ask students to engage in some type of pre-class preparation. We call this the ‘pre-party’. This may entail watching a mini-lecture, reading from a text or journal article or engaging in outside resources (e.g. reviewing an educational website). Upon arriving to class (or a synchronous online session), they work with their pre-determined team to re-teach what they have learned. Instructors and LAs can give specific prompts (e.g. create a 2-minute video re-teaching what you have learned) or students can have a choice as to the teaching modality.

Re-teaching roots in neuroscience

“The person who is doing the most work in the classroom is the person doing the most learning”

Terry Doyle (on page 7 of the book Learner-Centered Teaching)

“The brain acts like a muscle: The more activity you do, the larger and more complex it can become.”

John Medina (on page 87 of Brain Rules; Brain Rule #5: Wiring)

“we learn best if we stimulate several senses at once.”

John Medina (on page 179 of Brain Rules; Brain Rule #8: Sensory Integration)


Re-teaching is a CAT!

CAT stands for Classroom Assessment Technique and means that this is a technique that can be used to assess how well your students are achieving the learning outcomes (Angelo & Cross, 1993; Millis, 2010).

When students re-teach the learned concepts, we can quickly see areas of misunderstanding and gaps in their knowledge!

Image of kitten on computer keyboard

Re-teaching assignment prompt for an online General Microbiology Course

A Short Drama Skit to Enact Regulation on the lac operon:

The most famous operon is called the lac operon. This operon is subject to complex regulation. This means that not only does the operon have an operator (as we saw in the trp operon) but it also has a second regulatory site that is upstream of the promoter. This site is sometimes called the activator binding site. The cartoon below shows the lac operon with both the activator binding site and the operator.

Lac Operon

Gene 1 = lacZ, Gene 2 = lacY and Gene 3 = lacA

Please build this operon on the floor using painter’s tape (or any kind of tape that you don’t mind putting on the floor). You could also do this with sidewalk chalk! Be sure that it is big enough that you can set household items onto each site (e.g. setting a book or a frying pan onto the operator).

Student examples of re-teaching for the above prompt:

Briley produced the following video:

Sophie took a different approach:

References and Resources

Angelo and Cross (1993) Classroom Assessment Techniques. 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Doyle, T. (2011) Learner Centered Teaching: Putting the Research on Learning into Practice. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus.

Liu, C. Sun, F., and Zhang, B. (2018) Brain-inspired Multimodal Learning Based on Neural Networks. Brain Science Advances. 4(1): 61-72.

Medina, J. (2014) Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home and school. Seattle, Washington: Pear Press.

Millis, B. (2019) Structuring Cooperative Learning to Achieve Multiple Outcomes, Especially Student Learning, Lilly Teaching Conference, Oxford, OH.