Exam Technique – practical help for students

This much I know about…how to use research evidence to improve both my teaching and my students’ outcomes

I have been a teacher for 30 years, a Headteacher for 15 years and, at the age of 54, this much I know about how to use research evidence to improve both my teaching and my students’ outcomes.

In this article, I outline the steps I took from being directed to a research paper, using that research paper’s evidence to change my teaching and then how I measured the impact of that change to my teaching upon students’ outcomes. I have told aspects of this story before, but never in one place coherently, from beginning to end.

I have been teaching for over 30 years and for the first 25 I really didn’t know what I was doing; the shocking truth is that I got by on force of character and enthusiasm. It has only been in the last five years – since we became a Research School – that I have understood how to teach in a way that helps students learn effectively.

In February 2015 I was prompted to approach Alex Quigley, our erstwhile Director of Research, when I was faced with the following problem: my students’ AS mock examination results were poor – the most popular grade was a big fat U.

The frustration was that I knew they knew their Economics content. My challenge was to answer the question, How can I train my students’ thinking so that they can apply their knowledge of Economics to solve the contextual problems they face in the terminal examinations?

By then we were familiar with the Sutton Trust-Education Endowment Foundation Learning & Teaching Toolkit which rates developing students’ metacognition & self-regulation as a relatively cheap and highly effective strategy to improve students’ learning. Furthermore, Alex suggested I read a short research paper entitled: “Cognitive Apprenticeship: Teaching the Craft of Reading, Writing, and Mathematics” by Allan Collins, John Brown and Susan Newman”.[i]

The paper was illuminating. It transformed my teaching. The first section explores the characteristics of traditional apprenticeship and how they might be adapted to teach cognitive skills in schools; the second section examines three teaching methods to develop in students the metacognitive skills required for expertise in reading, writing and solving mathematical problems, and the final section outlines a framework for developing and evaluating new pedagogies in schools, based on the traditional apprenticeship model.

The paper identifies that “domain (subject) knowledge…provides insufficient clues for many students about how to actually go about solving problems and carrying out tasks in a domain. Moreover when it is learned in isolation from realistic problem contexts and expert problem-solving practices, domain knowledge tends to remain inert in situations for which it is appropriate, even for successful students”.

In order for my students to use the subject knowledge I knew they possessed, I had to teach them what Collins et al define as “Strategic knowledge: the usually tacit knowledge that underlies an expert’s ability to make use of concepts, facts, and procedures as necessary to solve problems and carry out tasks”.

I was the expert in the room. I knew subconsciously the skills required to apply my subject knowledge to solve an economics problem; the trouble was, I had not consciously taught my students those skills. What I had to do, according to the paper, was “delineate the cognitive and metacognitive processes that heretofore have tacitly comprised expertise”.

I had to find a way to apply “apprenticeship methods to largely cognitive skills”. It required “the externalization of processes that are usually carried out internally”. Ultimately, I had to develop an apprenticeship model of teaching which made my expert thinking visible.

In response to the research paper, here is what I did: in the first lesson after the mocks I completed the same examination paper, not answering the questions but writing on the paper what my brain would have been saying to itself, question by question, should I have attempted the paper. I did this in front of them, live, with what I was thinking/writing projected onto the whiteboard via a visualiser.

What I wrote on the paper I insisted they wrote down verbatim on their own blank copy of the paper, a key feature of this learning experience.

The exercise showed them just how alert my brain is when I am being examined. I was teaching them, apprenticeship-style, how to apply their domain knowledge to a new context when under pressure. I was making my thinking visible.

In the second lesson after the examinations, I surprised them with a new mock paper they hadn’t seen before. They completed the paper. The numerous students who attained a U grade first time round all improved by three or more grades.

The one student who I know for sure improved precisely because of his use of the metacognition and self-regulation intervention I modelled for him was Oliver. He went from getting 24/60 and a grade U in his first paper to getting 51/60 and a grade A in his second paper. Why am I so sure it was the intervention which helped Oliver improve? Well look at how he has made explicit on paper metacognitive processes in his marginal notes. He mimicked the thinking which I modelled.

The important thing to emphasise is that the students made these impressive gains in their examinations without being taught any more Economics A level content. They improved because I taught them the mental processes required to retrieve the knowledge they had learnt from their long term memories and apply that knowledge in an efficient, precise way which answered the examination questions.

I obsess about the golden thread from intervention to students’ outcomes. Skip a year and in the summer of 2016 those same thirteen A2 Economics students surpassed themselves, attaining a grade B on average, which was 0.27 of a grade higher on average than their aspirational target grades. On the A Level Performance Systems (ALPS) the class performance was rated Outstanding.

Oliver seemed to carry those metacognitive skills with him from year 12; with a B grade target, in the final reckoning he attained an A* in Economics and grade Bs in his three other A level subjects.

As Collins et al conclude, “ultimately, it is up to the teacher to identify ways in which cognitive apprenticeship can work in his or her own domain of teaching”. Reading their paper prompted me to design a pedagogic approach which modelled explicitly my expert thinking, to the obvious benefit of my students.

But one thing troubles me: I cannot help but wonder how many more of my students could have benefitted if only I had read “Cognitive Apprenticeship” 25 years earlier.

This term I will be teaching writing from different viewpoints and perspectives to a Year 9 English class; different elements of what I have learnt about developing students’ metacognitive  writing skills from the “Cognitive Apprenticeship” research paper will inform my teaching.

References

[i] The paper was first published in draft in 1987 as Technical Report No. 403 by the Center for the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois, under the title: “Cognitive Apprenticeship: Teaching the Craft of Reading, Writing, and Mathematics” by Allan Collins, BBN Laboratories, John Seely Brown, Susan Newman and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. It is available online at: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/17958/ctrstreadtechrepv01987i00403_opt.pdf?sequence

The final version of the paper was published in the Winter 1991 edition of the American Educator, under the title, “Cognitive Apprenticeship: Making Thinking Visible”, by Allan Collins, John Seely Brown and Ann Holum. It is available online at: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.124.8616&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Visualisers and booklets

Do you use ppt. for all lessons – there are alternatives and this is a really good option: How to teach using a booklet and visualiser

booklet

Early in my career I was part of a teaching paradigm shift, caused by the installation of electronic whiteboards in almost every classroom in English schools.

Before the arrival of these (enormously expensive) pieces of technology PowerPoint was rarely used, and when it was it tended to be for staff training and not day-to-day teaching. Schemes of work at my first school were held in a library of folders in departmental offices, which were followed and contributed to by teams working collaboratively. While, of course, there was some deviation from these (mine were usually unwise!), this centralisation of planning meant curriculum was coherent and departmental heads had oversight of it.

Interactive whiteboards, or just MASSIVE SCREENS as they were much more commonly used as, changed everything. Lessons became PowerPoint presentations with material that would once have been found in textbooks now projected above the heads of the pupils. This coincided with the strange belief that textbooks shouldn’t be used at all and that They Who Must Not Be Named would raze to the ground any school in which they saw them.

One of the effects of this was a decentralisation of curriculum. Teachers began creating their own lessons. In some contexts Schemes of Work became a hotchpotch of directionless standalone lessons. With lessons saved to personal memory devices and private areas it became more and more difficult for anyone to know exactly what was going on in each lesson. While the strongest departments continued to share and work collaboratively, the result was that in many contexts planning became atomised. Personal relationships and internal politics sometimes complicated this still further with some teachers reluctant to share their work with others. All of this increased workload for everyone, because everyone was now expected to plan their lessons effectively from scratch.

Fifteen years into my career, in my school and in others, we are seeing another paradigm shift. This time though, it is much healthier one.

Booklets and visualisers are changing everything.

For those still unclear on the terminology, as I was until fairly recently, a booklet is really just a personal textbook that contains the material pupils will need alongside the tasks they need to complete. This, in effect, is an embodiment of the Lemovian principle of ‘everything in one place’, which results in less time being wasted on transitions between different resources and activities.

In our Trust, in each subject, each booklet is drawn from a planned and sequenced curriculum that covers the entirety of the five years pupils are at secondary school. Each pupil in each year gets the booklet at the same time, which means that assessments can be genuinely standardised. As the pupils keep these booklets with them it makes setting homework very simple, as it is usually something as easy as ‘learn what we covered on pages 3-4 for a test in your next lesson’, or ‘answer question 6 on page 7’.

Writing the booklets is a task shared out among all the history teachers in the MAT (working at a larger scale does make this much easier), which means no one teacher is overly burdened. There is no getting around the fact that doing this well does take a long time, with most of our booklets (that last roughly a half term each) coming in at between 30 and 50 pages. Regardless, we’re finding most teachers don’t mind. Having ownership of an entire unit of work that will be taught to hundreds of pupils is an inspiring responsibility and very different to frantically typing text onto PowerPoint slides in time for P4 after lunch. The greatest advantage of this approach is that it means that everyone then benefits from really high quality work from the rest of the team – instead of spreading out the work thinly and producing lots of lower quality resources, the more focused booklet strategy means overall standards are much higher. It also offers opportunity for further professional development – some members of our MAT history team asked to write booklets on topics they knew little about so they could improve their own subject knowledge. It is also important to remember that the big effort is only at the beginning. Assuming the booklets are of a decent standard, work the following years is really just editing them based on the feedback of the teachers who’ve used them.

Having these booklets radically changes planning. Freed from time consuming resource creation teachers can concentrate all of their efforts on effective delivery. For most this means annotating their own copy of the booklet with the words they’ll need to teach, scripted explanations, diagrams and the questions they plan to ask. Most teachers at my school now also keep their own exercise book in which they model tasks and project onto the board using a visualiser (more on this later).

Teaching using the booklets is very straightforward. Much of most lessons is spent on teachers reading the booklet with pupils, elaborating on the material through explanation and checking understanding through questioning. Page, and even better, line numbers make it really easy to keep pupils on track and to refocus those who have for whatever reason lost their place (“Lucy, page 3 line 26, please”). For pupils who have been absent it is now much easier to catch up – read the pages in the booklet you missed and then just ask the teacher about what you didn’t understand.

Assessment is much fairer; because pupils take booklets home with them they always have what they need to study from. No more trawling the internet for vague ‘revision’ websites and fairer for those pupils who might not have books at home to help them.

VIS-GEN-GVIS-50-2

While booklets on their own have a huge impact, when combined with the use of a visualiser the effects are transformative. Again, for those who have not come across them a visualiser is basically a camera that can project work on a desk up onto the screen at the front of the classroom.

The Nuneaton Academy, where I work, now has visualisers installed in every classroom and it has been really interesting to see, without any particular direction from SLT, how their use has increased and created consistency in practice. While consistency is not, of course, a positive thing in itself I think even Mark Enser would approve of what is going on; teachers are simply, without external direction, moving to the method that works best.

In most lessons this now means the teacher places their own copy of the booklet the class is working from under the visualiser and reads, or asks pupils to read, from the text. The teacher then highlights key passages and annotates them to illuminate and add further layers of meaning and understanding, while talking through their thought processes. Pupils follow along, adding their teacher’s annotations if they are helpful and their own if there is something else they think worth noting down. Some teachers task pupils they know to be good annotators to sit at the visualiser freeing them up to draw on the board or to give more expansive explanations, while providing peer role-modelling for the rest of the class.

The visualiser is even more effective when used by teachers to model work. Putting their own booklet or exercise book under it and then completing the tasks while explaining why they have included the material they have, or how they are linking seemingly disparate points together provides pupils with strong models. The teachers I’ve seen do this best incorporate this into the “We” section of the “I, We, You” teaching sequence by pausing to ask pupils what they think should be included before setting pupils off on independent work.

The efficiency of all of this has meant I’ve had to make some alterations to my teaching and unlearn some internalised habits, but overall the switch has been pretty painless because it has been so intuitive and easy. It all feels very different to the days in which we were frogmarched into training on how to use the IWB for engaging learning games. Already I’m finding I’m clicking the PP icon on my desktop less often and even when I am using it, it’s mainly just to show an image in the booklet on a bigger scale so I can point out the details in it, or to show something that reinforces the material in the booklet.

In some ways seems a shame. A bounty of the Great Stupidity I have banks and banks of PowerPoints, representing probably thousands of hours work, stored in neat folders dating back more than a decade.

I don’t suppose I’ll ever use any of them again. I wish I’d never had to.

Threshold Concepts

Great blog from Class Teaching – Last week I was leading a training session for trainee science teachers, looking at the EEF ‘Improving Secondary Science’ guidance report – this is a great resource for science teachers and one that I would strongly recommend.  There is a section in the report on the importance of ‘threshold concepts’ in science teaching.  A threshold concept is described below:

“A threshold concept can be considered as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something. It represents a transformed way of understanding, or interpreting, or viewing something without which the learner cannot progress. As a consequence of comprehending a threshold concept there may thus be a transformed internal view of subject matter, subject landscape, or even world view. This transformation may be sudden or it may be protracted over a considerable period of time, with the transition to understanding proving troublesome. Such a transformed view or landscape may represent how people ‘think’ in a particular discipline, or how they perceive, apprehend, or experience particular phenomena within that discipline (or more generally).” (Meyer and Land, 2003).

In the guidance report, threshold concepts are described as likely to be:

  • Transformative – they result in a change in perception of a subject and may involve a shift in values or attitudes.
  • Irreversible – the resulting change is unlikely to be forgotten.
  • Integrative – they ‘expose a previously hidden interrelatedness’ between other concepts within the discipline.
  • Potentially troublesome – we may have difficulty coping with then new perspective that is offered.

Once we start thinking about the idea of threshold concepts, it seems likely that this also applies to our understanding of teaching.  From a purely personal point of view, I would say that during the years I have been engaging with research evidence, I have come across some ideas that have irreversibly transformed my view of teaching.  Some of these have been troublesome and they definitely all interrelate.  For example:

“Memory is the residue of thought” from Daniel Willingham

New learning should be tethered to existing knowledge

“Feedback should be more work for the recipient than the donor” from Dylan Wiliam

“Learning is a change in long term memory” from Paul Kirschner & John Sweller

Fully guided instruction is more successful than minimal guidance from Clark, Kirschner & Sweller – more here.

These 5 ideas have definitely changed the way I teach and the way I lead teaching and learning.  This made me then ask the good people of twitter about the ‘threshold concepts’ that have transformed how they think about teaching.  This got a great response and I thought I would share some of them here:

Andy Tharby:

  • Understanding is memory in disguise – Daniel Willingham
  • Learning is invisible.
  • Students learn very different things from the same lesson.

David Didau

  • Speech is a powerful lever for cognitive growth.

Ben Newmark:

  • The only curriculum that matters is the curriculum pupils remember – Clare Sealy

Cristina Milos:

  • Performance and learning are not synonymous.

Mark Enser:

  • Learning doesn’t come from activity but from retrieval.

Sarah Donarski:

  • If we want our students to breathe our subjects, we must first do the same.

Tom Boulter:

  • Reasoning, problem solving and creative skills are largely domain specific and enabled by deep knowledge of the field.

Sallie Stanton:

  • Learning is a change in long term memory.
  • Gaps in knowledge make gaining new knowledge really difficult.

Rufus William:

  • Novices and experts think in qualitatively different ways.
  • The curse of knowledge.

Frances Walsh:

  • Learning is not a performance at the end of the lesson.

Dan Hannard:

  • Practice makes permanent.

Julie Stewart:

  • We are prisoners of our working memory.

Amy Pento:

  • Extraneous load – much done to grab students’ attention distracts from what we want them to think about.

Knowledge Organisers: Making them worth more than the paper they’re written on

A great blog from Durrington Research School:

As we have previously blogged about here and here, we at Durrington are currently implementing knowledge organisers across the whole school. At the moment, we have knowledge organisers in place in all subjects for Year 9 and Year 10. The knowledge organisers themselves are disciplinary, by which we mean they are subject specific and so show variation according to the curriculum that they support. However, we have also tried to ensure consistency through adhering to the following principles:

  • The knowledge organisers include judiciously selected tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary. This vocabulary will be taught explicitly to students.
  • The knowledge organisers incorporate the building blocks for learning in that subject that all students are entitled to know and understand.
  • The knowledge organisers are designed to aid retrieval practice and metacognitive learning.

Here are some examples of the knowledge organisers that we are currently using in different subject areas:

 

We are very aware that knowledge organisers by themselves are fairly meaningless; it is how they are used for planning, teaching and testing that will have the intended positive impact on our students’ outcomes, experiences and future opportunities. Consequently, we are keen to share the simple yet effective ways in which different subjects are utilising their knowledge organisers in lessons, as described below.

In geography the team are collating the words that students most frequently misunderstand or confuse (these are words from the knowledge organisers). The students then take a two-part quiz: In part 1 they choose the correct explanation of the word from three options, and in part 2 they identify the word in the correct context from two options. This is a great example of how the vocabulary from the knowledge organiser is being taught explicitly to students and misconceptions are being tackled at the same time.

In history, the curriculum leader emails out weekly slides, comprising a section of the knowledge organiser, to be used across the department. These slides ensure that there is consistency to the use of knowledge organisers and retrieval practice in every history lesson. The students complete the slide-task, for example filling in blanks in sentences with appropriate tier 3 vocabulary, and then use the knowledge organiser to self or peer check their response. The tasks in themselves are simple but they effectively focus the students’ efforts on improving specific areas, for example accurate use of tier 3 historical words and phrases.

Maths are using their range of knowledge organisers to support homework tasks. Firstly, the students can access their maths knowledge organisers are any time using our online system Connect. This means that students have scaffolding in place for when they are working outside of the classroom. Furthermore, every fortnight the maths team set a homework that is based on retrieval quizzing. The students are required to use the knowledge organisers to find the answers to upcoming quizzes and then actually sit the quiz in class on the due date for the homework. Students who score less than 12 out of 15 are then supported in making flashcards on the questions, again gaining the information from the knowledge organiser, and use these to retest until they are successful. This strategy demonstrates how knowledge organisers can be used to support learning through the testing effect.

The science team have carefully selected the tier 3 vocabulary that they feel is imperative to scientific success and published these on their knowledge organisers. In class, the teachers explicitly teach this vocabulary using a morphological approach, i.e. by drawing students’ attention to prefixes such as mono, hetero, pent etc.. The beauty of this approach is that once the vocabulary has been decided there is no need for any further resources or planning. It is simply a case of the teacher taking a few moments of the lesson to highlight the prefix in order to activate students’ prior knowledge of this word part (or teach it for the first time) so that students can go on to decipher the likely meaning of the entire word.

Finally, in English the team are making frequent use of their knowledge organisers to retrieve the contextual knowledge, key themes and authorial methods linked to literary texts. In addition, the English team are also making students use identified tier 2 vocabulary by linking it to characters and plot situations from multiple texts, thereby giving the students ample and varied examples of the words in use. Knowledge organisers in English tend to be produced on PowerPoint and use a grid format. This makes it incredibly quick and easy to extract sections, put this on a slide and blank out boxes ready for students to fill as a 5 minute starter every lesson.

Our use of knowledge organisers is a journey and one in which we have only taken the first few steps. To move forward we will:

  1. Share examples of effective practice from the our colleagues in other curriculum areas, especially the practical subjects where the use of knowledge organisers may well yield some very different ideas for practice.
  2. Talk to students and make them a greater part of the knowledge organiser dialogue in our school. In particular, we want our students to have a secure understanding of how knowledge organisers work to support retrieval practice and vocabulary instruction, where they can find them and how they can use them for effective learning outside of the classroom, for example self-quizzing.
  3. Make knowledge organisers accessible for parents and carers via our VLE, online Connect system and through making them a key component of conversations at upcoming parents’ evenings.
  4. Reflect on how to improve and develop the work that we now have in place ready for our new batch of knowledge organisers that are required for later this year. In particular, we will consider the need for accumulation of knowledge across units of work and year groups in order to meet our end goals for every student who is part of our school.

If you are interested in learning more about our approach to teaching and learning please take a look at our upcoming training days here.

Fran Haynes.

Knowledge Organisers: Tackling the Misconceptions

Last week, Andy Tharby wrote about Durrington’s journey with knowledge organisers and in particular how we are using these to improve retrieval practice. Andy’s blog generated a lot of interest, perhaps because it taps into the current debate regarding the possible advantages and dangers of using knowledge organisers as a central resource for classroom learning (and because it is expertly written, of course).

One of the major issues we at Durrington have faced on this journey is ensuring a cohesive approach to using knowledge organisers in a way that tackles some common misconceptions about their design and use. Below is an outline of our experiences so far.

The Pros and Cons

At Durrington, we are aiming to have knowledge organisers in place for all units of work, in every curriculum area and for all year groups. This, of course, is an ongoing process and something that we hope to achieve over the next two to three years. To support this process, we have used the EEF’s implementation guide so that we can maximise the chances of this change being successful and having the desired impact on students’ outcomes.

We see knowledge organisers as having a lot of positive potential, especially with regards to our knowledge-based curriculum (you can read about this here). However, we are also highly aware that in order for this potential to be fulfilled we have to be judicious, informed and reflective in terms of their production and our expectations of how knowledge organisers are used by teachers and students. We do not want it to be the case that teachers dedicate a huge amount of time to producing knowledge organisers that are either ineffectively designed in the first place or created with expertise and attention but then fade out of consciousness as the year unfolds.

In the exploration phase of our implementation plan, i.e. when we were systematically investigating the practices tied into the use of knowledge organisers, it became increasingly apparent that there is not any robust research evidence that supports their use. As an evidence-informed school, this was a clear issue for us. Firstly, the current dearth of research evidence underpinning knowledge organisers means that there is also a lack of guidelines for best practice, or even concrete ideas about how they might be effectively used in classrooms of different contexts. Accordingly, any school that is thinking about implementing knowledge organisers as a whole-school approach, or even departmentally, faces somewhat of an abyss when it comes to knowing exactly what to do. However, the experiences of schools that have adopted knowledge organisers seem to align so closely with our T&L principles that it was deemed a path worth pursuing. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that the research evidence does not exist yet, meaning that nothing has been tested either way.

Tackling the Issues

After much research and careful thought, we decided to ask all curriculum areas to create knowledge organisers for the units that will be studied by Year 9 and Year 10 students in the first term of this academic year. Crucially, however, we also decided that the knowledge organisers needed to be the mechanisms for our three current whole-school T&L approaches: retrieval practice, explicit vocabulary instruction and developing metacognitive learners. By emphasising that the knowledge organisers should be developed and used in a way that supports our three evidence-informed T&L foci, rather than as a different pedagogic approach altogether, we felt that we were reducing the risk of them becoming obsolete bits of paper stuck in books, or at worst injurious resources that would narrow the curriculum.

In summary, we have come to believe that knowledge organisers as an isolated pedagogical tool are probably not the way forward, but using knowledge organisers as a way of enabling teachers to incorporate retrieval practice, explicit vocabulary instruction and metacognitive learning in their lessons seems very fruitful indeed.

Misconceptions

So far, the whole-school implementation of knowledge organisers has not been easy – they require a substantial amount of time and expertise, and tend to throw up more questions before any answers emerge. There have also been lots of very understandable doubts that we have struggled to quell with ease. However, some of these concerns were rooted in misconceptions that we have been able to overcome. These misconceptions include:

  1. I can’t fit everything a student needs to know on one side of A4.
  2. I don’t know what to put on a knowledge organiser.
  3. I’ve already got excellent resources, why would I need a knowledge organiser as well?
  4. It doesn’t work in my subject.
  5. They take too long to make.
  6. Surely I can just photocopy the exam specification?

Expectations for Using Knowledge Organisers at Durrington

To tackle these misconceptions we consistently emphasise that the fundamental purpose of our knowledge organisers is to put our three T&L foci into practice. Accordingly, we have identified the following attributes as expectations and reiterate these regularly through CPD channels such as INSET:

  1. All knowledge organisers include specific tier 2 and/or tier 3 vocabulary. Teachers will teach this vocabulary explicitly in lessons.
  2. Knowledge organisers distil and clarify the building blocks for learning in your subject ready to extend in classroom learning.
  3. Knowledge organisers do not replace other lesson resources. Rather, they make it explicit what students need to know automatically and be able to apply and develop in lessons.
  4. Knowledge organisers are based on cultural capital. Exam requirements are important for student success, but learning should also go beyond this. Knowledge organisers, therefore, should identify the knowledge a student should remember in ten years’ time about that subject.
  5. Knowledge organisers are disciplinary, i.e. they are subject specific. A knowledge organiser from history will look very different to a knowledge organiser from textiles. Knowledge organisers can be text-based, visual or a mixture of both formats as best suits the needs of the curriculum it supports.
  6. Knowledge organisers are designed in a way that makes them mechanisms for retrieval practice, explicit vocabulary instruction and metacognitive learning in lessons and at home.

The Journey Continues

Perhaps the best part of our investment in knowledge organisers so far has been the collaboration it has engendered. Rather than seeing the lack of prior knowledge organisers as a hindrance, we at Durrington are using this opportunity to galvanise a pioneering spirit. There are many questions that are still unanswered, and this means that curriculum time centres around discussing, questioning and debating what we should teach in our subject and why. There is no side-stepping the fact that the creation of knowledge organisers does take a very long time, but we believe that will be time well spent.