Give this to every teacher you know: A brilliant, short, accessible, *free* guide to using cognitive load theory in the classroom cese.nsw.gov.au/images/stories… This should be on every teacher training course there is.
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:
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:
Churchill Academy and Sixth Form
Brain food for the thinking teacher
Working harder makes you smarter
...our directory of excellence
Developing successful habits of mind, body and pedagogy.
Fascinated by Leading and Learning
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
Finding & sharing teaching 'bright spots'
Most Influential UK Education Blog
I want a life that's bigger than me!
Because learning is too important to be left to chance
Zest for Learning... into the rainforest of teaching and school leadership
Teaching in British schools
Reflections on Education: a blog by Chris Hildrew
How to implement a growth mindset culture......