The best list of research links – brilliant!

The go-bag

Here, the #CogSciSci community has brought together a whole bunch of blogs, articles and research to help you answer the question “Why are you doing that?” This is far from an exhaustive list but instead aims to find writings that give a good rationale behind the choice explanation of particular areas of cognitive science and how they can be applied to the classroom.

The idea started with this blog by A Common Biologist, looking at ways cognitive science mutates in schools. It’s important to realise that two very different areas of research impact upon the classroom: education research and cognitive science research. Education research takes place in the classroom, with well-designed studies having large sample sizes and well designed control groups to monitor the effect of any intervention. The results from education research tend to be quite hazy, owing to the difficulty in isolating a cause for a particular effect once in the classroom environment. Cognitive science research, on the other hand, is laboratory based, giving researchers a considerable amount of control over the subjects (their environment, their attention etc.) and so teaches us a considerable amount about how we learn. The downside is that results from cognitive science studies will always require a certain amount of interpretation before they are used in a classroom setting.

Here, the ideas of cognitive science are introduced, and teachers/educators then go on to explain how they are using some of these findings within their classroom, altering their practice to become more ‘research-informed’. This list is far from exhaustive and both Adam Boxer and Craig Barton have excellent research lists with their own commentaries.

If you have any questions that you want answered please send them to cogscisci@gmail.com.


THE BASICS OF COGNITIVE SCIENCE AND MEMORY

“How do our brains work?” answered by Efrat Furst.

“What are all these fancy terms to do with memory that you keep using?” answered by Elizabeth and Robert Bjork whilst discussing how desirable difficulties can improve learning.

“What on earth is working memory?” answered by Professor Susan Gathercole and Dr Tracy Alloway, discussing what it is, its limitations, how it changes and how you can support students to learn in spite of their limited working memories.

“What is a schema?” answered by Greg Ashman.

“Do students remember what they learn in school?” answered by Daniel Willingham, drawing on education research and cognitive science to explain why our memory is an incredible but fallible resource.

“Why do students forget things?” answered by Jemma Sherwood who discusses how to design lessons with memory in mind.

“What is the ‘forgetting curve’?” answered by Durrington Research School.

“Is forgetting a vital part of remembering?” answered by Dalmeet Singh Chawla who interviews a range of researchers from neurobiology who point out that if we remembered everything, our brains would be far more inefficient.

“What will improve a student’s memory?” answered by Daniel Willingham, giving examples of methods that work and those that don’t when helping students commit ideas to memory.

“How does research into our memories affect teaching?” answered by Craig Barton, whose commentary on memory research (particularly that of Elizabeth and Robert Bjork) shows that memory lies at the heart of retrieval, interleaving and spacing.

“What are neuromyths?” answered by Thomas Moran, listing the 10 most common misconceptions about the brain. Do we only use 10% of it? Do we have preferred learning styles? Is your mental capacity something you are born with? No, to all of the above.

Remember also that we have an entire module on the basics of cognitive science here.


COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY AND LEARNING

“Can somebody explain simply how cognitive load theory applies to the classroom?” answered by Adam Boxer, who simplifies the theory for practical usage by teachers.

“How can I take into account cognitive load theory in the classroom?” answered by Blake Harvard, who introduces the idea of ‘element interactivity’ as a consideration for when trying to manage the cognitive load.

“What is the difference between learning and performance?” and “What is a desirable difficulty” both answered by Nick Soderstrom. The learning vs. performance argument is a crucial one for teachers to understand and has huge implications for how we assess the ‘understanding’ of students within a lesson.

“Aren’t cognitive load theory and the idea of desirable difficulties diametrically opposite?” answered by Blake Harvard, who tries to reconcile the need for simplifying (from cognitive load theory) and the need to challenge students (from desirable difficulties). A fascinating insight into how to understand ideas from cognitive science when they initially seem to point in opposite directions.

“Why are some things easy to learn and others are so hard?” answered by Mirjam Neelen and Paul Kirschner, looking at David Geary’s work into biologically primary and secondary knowledge, an idea that aims to explain why we can learn to understand facial expressions much more easily than we can understand chemistry.

“Why can we learn some things naturally from our environment but need instruction to understand others?” answered by David Didau, again looking at Geary’s work, but thinking about the relationship to explicit instruction and discovery learning. Why do we discover the talent for speech, but discovery approaches to reading are less effective?

“Why do students think they understand, when they don’t?” answered by Daniel Willingham, demonstrating why ‘familiarity fools our mind into thinking we know more than we do’.

“Why do they seem so confident they’re right, but they’re wrong?” answered by Kendra Cherry, exploring the Dunning-Kruger effect.


SPACING, INTERLEAVING AND RETRIEVAL PRACTICE: THE BASICS

“What is spacing?” answered by Daniel Willingham.

“What’s the difference between spacing, interleaving and retrieval? Are they desirable difficulties?” answered by Nick Soderstrom.

“What is retrieval practice?” answered by Efrat Furst.

Remember that we have an entire module on retrieval practice here.


KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERT TEACHING

“Can’t they just google it?” E.D. Hirsch explains why knowledge is a cornerstone of our understanding of the world.

“Why is knowledge important?” answered by Daniel Willingham, who shows how ‘knowledge brings more knowledge’.

“Why does everyone keep talking about Rosenshine?” answered by Tom Sherrington, who explores why the principles in Barak Rosenshine’s ‘Principles of Instruction’ are so useful in the classroom.

“What are Rosenshine’s principles?” answered by Mark Enser.

“Can’t we just teach skills?” No, explains David Didau.

“Can’t we just teach skills (number 2)?” Daniel Willingham explains why comprehension can’t be taught as a skill in isolation as it relies on knowledge of the subject matter that you’re reading about.


WITHIN THE CLASSROOM:

PLANNING AND INTERVENTIONS

“Why don’t you have a lesson plan?” answered by Bob Pritchard, who uses cognitive science as the basis to explain why he plans for a longer period of time than simply one lesson (and hence doesn’t have a lesson plan: here are some examples of when he probably did have one…).

“What interventions can I use to help those struggling students?” answered by Ruth Walker, who argues that we shouldn’t focus on interventions to specific groups but instead on the overall quality of teaching to all students.

“How can cognitive science help in the planning of the curriculum?” answered by Ruth Walker, drawing together ideas about schema, memory, hinterland and the true meaning of interleaving to create a better curriculum.

“Can you give me an example of interleaving within the curriculum?” answered by Ian Taylor, who uses ‘teaching by contrast’ as a way of ensuring the links are made between ideas within a topic instead of teaching each idea in a single lesson.

“What is mastery learning? And what isn’t mastery learning?” answered by Daisy Christodoulou.

DIRECT INSTRUCTION VS. DISCOVERY

“Why aren’t they discovering this for themselves?” answered by Paul Kirschner, John Sweller and Richard Clark in one of the must-read papers for understanding one of the fiercest arguments in education.

“Why are you explaining the concept rather than letting them do problem-solving?” answered by Greg Ashman, whose research indicates novices perform better when explicitly taught in the first instance. This study contrasts the predictions of cognitive load theory and productive failure.

SLOP (Shed Loads Of Practice) AND THE EFFECT OF SUCCESS ON MOTIVATION

“Why are they doing SLOP (shed loads of practice) in your lessons?” answered by the learning scientists, who link to and comment on the best ideas about what deliberate practice is and why it is so powerful.

“I don’t like the idea of SLOP, convince me otherwise,” answered by Niki Kaiser who uses her own experiences to show how she came around to the idea of giving students extensive practice.

“Why is practice so important?” answered by Daniel Willingham, discussing the balance between ‘practice makes perfect’ and student motivation.

“Why does success lead to motivation and not the other way around?” answered by Carl Hendrick, giving a motivational background as to why SLOP is effective for all students.

“How can reducing the cognitive load lead to more motivated students?” answered by Greg Ashman who uses cognitive load theory to help students see that is is the ‘process of getting better at something that is motivating’.

“Is interleaved practice better than blocked practice (in maths)?” answered by Doug Rohrer, Robert Dedrick and Pooja Agarwal, exploring the differences between giving practice in distinct blocks (as would be common practice in a curriculum split into defined topics per lesson) and interleaving practice within a mathematics setting.

“How big should spacing gaps be?” answered by Damian Benney, who shares his practice in planning spaced homework, giving reasoning behind his choice of gaps.

Remember we have an entire module on designing practice sets here.

PRACTICALS

“How can I reduce the cognitive load of practical sessions?” answered by Adam Boxer, introducing the idea of the slow practical, a crucial read for new science teachers.

“Isn’t real science like discovery learning?” answered by Bill Wilkinson, drawing on his research experience to explain why ‘real scientists’ aren’t doing discovery as might be assumed.

ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING

“Why aren’t you doing more AfL?” David Didau explains why we should be cautious about AfL given the issues with performance vs. learning.

“How should I be using AfL (assessment for learning) in the classroom” a symposium of ideas from Adam Boxer, Ruth Walker, Niki Kaiser, Deep Ghataura, Ben Rogers, Matt Perks and Dylan Wiliam.

“How can I use multiple choice questions in the classroom?” answered by Blake Harvard, giving a guide to best practice in creating MCQs.

BOOKLETS AND VISUALISERS

“Why would you want to use booklets?” answered by Adam Boxer, giving reasons behind his choice to move to a booklet model that come from cognitive science and the need to reduce teacher workload.

“But really, why would you want to use booklets?” answered by a guest post on Adam Robbins’ blog, with a very useful set of responses to the possible questions from sceptical colleagues.

“How did you write that booklet?” answered by Ruth Walker. It’s best for her to answer it since we’re probably using her ones anyway.

“Why are you using a visualiser? Isn’t that from the 90’s?” answered in a twitter thread by Mark Wilkinson, giving a whole heap of suggestions for how to use a visualiser.

“How can I use a visualiser with a class? What on earth does Show-Call mean?” an example of Courtney Betar from TLAC. The TLAC website has a huge amount of video evidence of great techniques to try in the classroom.

“Why are you using a visualiser and a booklet?” answered by Ben Newmark, bringing together the benefits of booklets and visualisers (in a post that surprisingly doesn’t demonstrate his incredible handwriting).

COMPLETION PROBLEMS, WORKED EXAMPLES, NON-EXAMPLES

“I know they reduce the cognitive load but aren’t completion problems a bit easy?” answered by Ben Rogers, who gives examples of how completion problems can be used as scaffolding to reduce the cognitive load and get students to focus on the subject matter at hand.

“Which is better: problem-solving or worked examples?” answered by Greg Ashman, in a post that attempts to resolve the conflict that exists between desirable difficulties and cognitive load theory.

“What is a non-example?” answered by Ben Rogers.

CALCULATIONS

“Why do you think practice supports the lower attaining students?” answered by Adam Robbins, who explores how he uses SLOP calculation sheets to ensure opportunities for success for all learners.

“How do you teach the use of equations?” answered by Pritesh Raichura, giving a scaffolding method to ensure all students can be successful in performing calculations.

“Why did you design your calculation sheet like that?” answered by Tom Millichamp, going into detail about each of his choices that he makes when creating a resource.

DUAL CODING

“What on earth is dual coding?” explained by Rufus Johnstone.

“How can I use dual coding in science? Isn’t it just pictures?” answered by Pritesh Raichura, who gives simple, implementable examples of what dual coding truly is within the science classroom.

“Can I see more examples of dual coding please?” Gethyn Jones shows how he uses dual coding (and always has done) to teach SUVAT in Physics, as it’s a topic that naturally lends itself to dual coding, rather than it needing to be shoe-horned in.

“How can I change the layout of materials to ease cognitive load?” answered by Ben Rogers, who has excellent posts on the layout of materialson the drawing of diagrams in science, and a post full of examples.

THE TESTING EFFECT

What is the testing effect?” answered by Efrat Furst.

“Doesn’t all this testing just stress students out?” Blake Harvard explains why testing actually reduces test stress.

KNOWLEDGE ORGANISERS

“How can I use knowledge organisers?” answered by the Learning Scientists.

“Can you give an example of using knowledge organisers?” answered by Adam Robbins, who kindly answers the question and gives out his knowledge organisers for science.

“When shouldn’t I use knowledge organisers?” answered by Kris Boulton, writing why they are less applicable to maths (and arguing they often shouldn’t be called knowledge organisers at all).

“What are some of the limitations of knowledge organisers?” answered by Helen Skelton, who uses the idea of schemas to show where knowledge organisers can fit into teaching.

DIFFERENTIATION

“Why aren’t you differentiating?” answered by a guest post on Adam Boxer’s blog that should really make you think about why you’re asked to print off three different coloured worksheets.

“Why aren’t you differentiating by task?” answered by Greg Ashman, who looks at TALIS data which seems to show a negative correlation between differentiation and maths scores.

WRITING AND STORY-TELLING

“Why are they doing so much writing in your classroom?” answered by Pritesh Raichura, Ben Rogers, Ruth Walker, Tarjinder Gill, Jasper Green and Judith Hochman in the Writing in Science Symposium, an amazing collection of works on why writing should play a crucial role in the classroom.

“How can student writing help me to learn more about what they’ve learned?” answered by Tom Millichamp, who uses ideas from The Writing Revolution to delve into student understanding.

“Why would story telling help students retain more information?” answered by Ven Popov, explaining why research scientists are wary of story telling in their writing but why they shouldn’t be.

“How can I introduce stories to the classroom?” answered by Bill Wilkinson with a link to the #sciencestories project to encourage story-telling in the classroom.

COMPETITION AND GAMES

“Why isn’t competition always a good thing?” answered by Adam Boxer, discussing the notion that ‘boys will like it if you make it a competition’.

“Why aren’t you playing more games?” answered by Mark Enser, showing how inequality might be increased in the name of engagement.


OUTSIDE OF A LESSON:

MARKING

“What does a sensible marking policy look like?” answered by Adam Boxer by giving out his department’s marking policy.

“Why are we marking?” answered by Gethyn Jones, clarifying the difference between feedback and marking and which is useful for students.

“What is whole-class feedback?” answered by Andrew Percival.

“How can I make whole-class feedback fit with my school’s marking policy?” answered by Ruth Walker who shows how her marking can tick a lot of the boxes that a school’s typical marking policy would have.

“Why aren’t books a good proxy for learning?” answered by Sarah Barker, who points out the issue with book scrutinies.

DATA AND TARGET GRADES

“What is my data showing me: progress or attainment or something else?” answered by Matthew Benyohai who shows the stupidity behind colourful trackers and why he uses bee-swarm plots instead.

“How should I be using assessment data?” answered in many blogs by Matthew Benyohai.

“What should I be doing with target grades?” answered by Ben Newmark, who explains why they don’t help the learning process.

“I need more convincing on this target grades thing, can you give me anything else to read?” Adam Robbins kindly obliges.

“What should I do after a mock exam?” answered by Adam Boxer, using a bit of assessment theory and knowledge of schema to rethink the post-exam strategy.

HOMEWORK

“Why aren’t you setting more projects?” answered by Adam Boxer, arguing through an example that grand projects only act to highlight inequality.

“Does flipped learning ever work?” answered by Bill Wilkinson, who uses some of the cognitive science basics to make flipped learning work for him and his students.

STUDYING AND REVISION

“How can I explain to students how to study?” answered by an article in Scientific American, explaining the basics behind retrieval, interleaving, spacing and elaboration, as well as what no to do.


MISCELLANEOUS OTHER QUESTIONS

“Why do you have your windows open?” answered by Jess Staufenberg.

Rosenshine – practical examples!

Ten Principles of Instruction- Rosenshine, B. (2012) Explained from a classroom perspective via @ASTsupportAAli

Here are the principles in their entirety from the 2012 paper- Have them open as you read through the below…

1- Begin Each Lesson With A Short Review of Previous Learning– Start each lesson with a 5 question recall check. Give students 5 minutes to complete this. If they don’t know the answer, they write the question down and leave a space to fill in the answer later. You could do also do these 5 questions via multiple choice questions. Ensure you provide 2 plausible answers with 1 misconception. These must be high frequency and low stakes. Meaning you don’t take grades in, or ask students to share their scores out loud.

2- Present New Material In Short Steps With Students Practicing After Each Step. Explain tasks fully, ask students to repeat back the instructions given. Ask them to explain why you’re doing that task. Then work through examples of the completed task, model the answers. Work on items in front of your class under the visualiser, while they listen. Be OK with talking and explaining. Then get students to do. The check.

3- Ask A Large Number of Questions and Check the Responses of All StudentsAsk lots of probing questions. ‘What if?’ ‘How do you know?’ Vary your questioning techniques. Hands up. Hands down. Add, Build, Challenge. Gadfly questioning; socratic questions. Plan for your questions. Do not ask questions before using a random question generator. Share the fact that answers to questions are for everybody, and therefore everybody should list and be ready to add, build, or challenge given answer. When students answer a question, ask them if they are sure, how sure and how do they know.

4- Provide Models– Vary the way you present modelled answers. Students should know that it isn’t solely how much you write that earns you more marks. Ensure students see the process of a modelled answer. Annotate and break down examples of completed tasks. When giving grades back to a class, use aspirational marking and only give the marks off the next grade students are, rather than their current grade.

5- Guide Student Practice– Instead of objectives or intentions for lessons try setting Big Questions- enable steps to answer those big questions. Enable the discussion to take place that breaks the big questions down. Practice and repeat. Allow for live marking to tackle misconceptions immediately, do this collectively if you can? Whole class feedback could support this. 

6- Check for Student Understanding– Don’t just take a blanket response from the class to the questions. ‘Are we OK with this?’ ‘Any questions’ and so on. Enable enough time in your lessons for the students task to be checked for their understanding. How do you know they are good with moving onto to their next step in learning?

7- Obtain a High Success Rate– Enable students to have understood something before moving on. Think about teaching and reapplying concepts in 3 different contexts for true understanding and longer memory building. I call it ‘re-mixing‘ lessons. Students should not say, we have done this, unless, they have learnt it!

8- Provide Scaffolds for Difficult Tasks– These can be provided in a variety of ways- think about the concept of Dual Coding. Do you explain visually alongside your written and oral instructions? Do you have a consistent way of dual coding to avoid cognitive overload in lessons? Also have you considered linking abstract concepts with concrete representations. Are you able to bring something obscure into something tangible?

9- Require and Monitor Independent Practice– Circulate the room, check over tasks. Monitor as work is being completed. Don’t be afraid to ask for tasks to be completed in silence. Do not worry about getting students to edit tasks. I prefer the term edit, rather than re-do. Try Red Dot Marking?

10- Engage Students in Weekly or Monthly Review– Remind students you have not just taught them from last lesson, but from the start of the year. Remind them that every lessons learning is vital. Think about the spacing effect in your curriculum . How do you enable recall. Do you refresh on core concepts, skills and important threshold concepts throughout the year? What is your assessment cycle like? Quality first teaching is preceded by quality first planning.

Finally read this blog by on Rosenshine- and blog too- They have both allowed me to summarise my thoughts. Thank you!

Click on the tweet below to read my original thread. 

 

Download an amazing visual by Oliver Caviglioli here

Articles Worth Reading – a brilliant resource!

A fantastic collection of research from Chris Moyse – TLC Educuation Services Limited

Research articles worth reading

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/9733p2rkvmzxkq3/The_Science_of_Learning.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/hrlmoqjf7t29di4/classroom-instruction-that-works_pdf.pdf?dl=0

Picture6https://www.dropbox.com/s/dqb1f052crkugsc/3_improving-students-learning-with-effective-learning-techniques-promising-directions-from-cognitive-educational-psychology.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/gqf7wj3qosfopri/Strengthening%20the%20Student%20Toolbox.pdf?dl=0

Picture16https://www.dropbox.com/s/lzq6i4gbokjlh1y/NCTQ_Learning_About_Learning_1-16.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/sgxet7ew4heg61c/Principles%20of%20Instruction%20-%20Rosenshine.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/m094rmnk9y4o2q0/willingham_0.pdf?dl=0

Picture32https://www.dropbox.com/s/8foxlmek5crz080/bjork-creating-desirable-difficulties-to-enhance-learning.pdf?dl=0

Picture29https://www.dropbox.com/s/mns8kd14qxh2rdm/can-teachers-increase-students-self-control-willingham_3.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/7107xgrk6wnoqxn/kirschner_Sweller_Clark.pdf?dl=0

Picture37https://www.dropbox.com/s/oldaulzaybik4c0/DGT%20Full%20report.pdf?dl=0

Picture30https://www.dropbox.com/s/c0bvx8gnz1l2zus/EricssonDeliberatePracticePR93a.pdf?dl=0

Picture1https://www.dropbox.com/s/4bvm41msvsj0s3y/whatworks.pdf?dl=0

Picture39https://www.dropbox.com/s/qk2oeqxsl90rhr7/Working-memory-and-learning-diffculties.pdf?dl=0

Picture22https://www.dropbox.com/s/jsk77di5ndmbylt/top-twenty-principles.pdf?dl=0

Picture23https://www.dropbox.com/s/1u78f4pi4fss5i0/Ruth%20Clark%20Graphics%20for%20Learning.pdf?dl=0

Picture31

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gow1fmv1wln60j7/graham-nuthall-2001-the-cultural-myths-and-the-realities-of-teaching-and-learning.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/gogdw9bv3shertp/Grit%20JPSP.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/bdyqcy8uagmgxpi/Resources_FiveDirectInstruct.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/umsnwxbxs86hkez/organizing-instruction-to-improve-student-learning-pashler-2007.pdf?dl=0

 

Picture18

https://www.dropbox.com/s/m0h3s5hv0qet8y3/Know_Thy_Impact_Visible_Learning_in_Theory_and_Practice.pdf?dl=0

Picture2

https://www.dropbox.com/s/u1ymhxyj00358eo/How-people-learn.pdf?dl=0

Picture28

https://www.dropbox.com/s/l3ykajytkms7pza/hattie-and-timperly-the-power-of-feedback.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/3xagd2qsooyux7c/soderstrom-bjork-learning-vs-performance.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/2c8r7y1ohhm39ba/35pdk_97_7.pdf?dl=0

Picture3

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ndgp8vc8zxvwtdi/what_works_best.pdf?dl=0

 

Picture35

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bm1hgn03ypm1qzx/carless-differing-perceptions-in-the-feedback-process.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/obcuwhhyvp2hi5p/eef-a-review-of-educational-interventions-and-approaches-informed-by-neuroscience.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/o4klh8ifxx8mexz/fpsyg-07-00350.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/69c8r1hd2tlqq2a/growth-mindset-and-grit-lit-review.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/8jzlmdzgelek837/Hanushek%2BRivkin%202006%20HbEEdu%202.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/hd2sk8dja34h0uw/Learning%20by%20viewing%20versus%20learning%20by%20doing%20-%20Clark%20Mayer.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/qlybn2elpoua33t/Richland_RBjork_Finley_Linn_2005.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/8uxwf049zkhesfn/usefulness-of-brief-instruction-in-reading-willingham.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/cppqpvwm0df8ly5/what-is-developmentally-appropriate-practice-willingham_1.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/5oy6vstcebstydv/Teacher%20retention.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/f9g0cafsa3tstuz/9_ways_to_reduce_CL.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/pgdz5nablyic6p8/ryan-deci-self-determination-theory-and-the-facilitation-of-intrinsic-motivation-social-development-and-well-being.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/8n5a9lokgfr4083/06_understanding_memory.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/rdapwgk8b8y6h3q/Classroom%20guide%20working%20memory.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/hv89cxo541mko6o/teachingthatsticks.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/ende6sncj093m3b/asle2014.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/sqhk3s516w8ey5q/Teaching%20Brophy.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/hyu68sn7w5a4wzo/RetrievalPracticeGuide.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/e5yml4siyf57hus/power-feedback.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/dwf6ijlpbbo62o8/How%20children%20learn.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/h4stsr4ctxilkd3/EEF_Metacognition_and_self-regulated_learning.pdf?dl=0

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https://www.dropbox.com/s/ecadj3oeu368sg9/Cognitive%20Load%20Theory%20-%20CESE%202017.pdf?dl=0

How should students revise? A brief guide

One of the biggest lessons from research is that many students don’t really know how to study. Various studies have shown that students rate re-reading and highlighting as the most effective ways of revising when in reality they are often a waste of time giving an illusion of competence in the short term at the expense of long term gains.

Students may spend large amounts of additional time studying despite no gain in later memory for the items, a phenomenon called ‘‘labour-in-vain’’ during learning (Nelson & Leonesio,1988). Recent research with educationally relevant materials has shown that repeatedly reading prose passages produces limited benefits beyond a single reading. (Karpicke, Roediger, Butler, 2009)

In contrast, retrieval practice, spacing and interleaving are some of the most productive ways of revising material but how many students are familiar with this? I think there is often a tendency to focus too much on what teachers are doing and less on what students are doing.

Recently I got the chance to talk to some year 10 students from across our partnership of schools about study skills and I put together a brief guide to help them. The idea was to introduce them to five powerful approaches to studying in a language they can understand with the opportunity to apply them to a period of revision designed by them. All materials are below.

Thanks to the brilliant Olivier Cavigioli for the illustrations and design.

Wellington College Study Guide-page-002

Wellington College Study Guide-page-003

Wellington College Study Guide-page-004

 

Wellington College Study Guide-page-005

 

Wellington College Study Guide-page-006 (2)

Once you talk students through these key principles, you can get them to plan their revision using a revision planner like this depending on how much time they have left:

 

study timetable template pdf-page-001You can download all materials here:

Wellington College Study Guide

study timetable template

 

 

Further reading:

Dunlosky et al, ‘Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology’ 2013

Karpicke, Roediger, Butler ‘Metacognitive strategies in student learning: Do students practise retrieval when they study on their own?’ 2009

Koriat, Bjork ‘Illusions of Competence in Monitoring One’s Knowledge During Study’ 2005

Are you up to date?

These are the current top research papers and edu books – have you read them all?

RESEARCH PAPERS

Principles of Instruction – Barak Rosenshine

What makes great teaching? A review of the underpinning research – The Sutton Trust

What will improve a student’s memory? – Daniel Willingham

The science of learning – Deans for Impact

Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques – Dunlosky et al

EEF Metacognition and self-regulated learning guidance report

Putting students on the path to learning – Clark, Kirschner & Sweller

 

BOOKS

Making every lesson count – Shaun Allison & Andy Tharby

This award-winning title has now inspired a whole series of books. Each of the books in the series are held together by six pedagogical principles challenge, explanation, modelling, practice, feedback and questioning and provide simple, realistic strategies that teachers can use to develop the teaching and learning in their classroom.

Packed with practical teaching strategies, Making Every Lesson Count bridges the gap between research findings and classroom practice. Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby examine the evidence behind what makes great teaching and explore how to implement this in the classroom to make a difference to learning.

Why don’t students like school – Daniel Willingham

Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham focuses his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. His book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn. It reveals–the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences.

The hidden lives of learners – Graham Nuthall

The Hidden Lives of Learners takes the reader deep into the hitherto undiscovered world of the learner. It explores the three worlds which together shape a student’s learning – the public world of the teacher, the highly influential world of peers, and the student’s own private world and experiences. What becomes clear is that just because a teacher is teaching, does not mean students are learning. Using a unique method of data collection through meticulous recording – audio, video, observations, interviews, pre- and post-tests – and the collation and analysis of what occurred inside and outside the classroom, Graham Nuthall has definitively documented what is involved for most students to learn and retain a concept

What does this look like in the classroom? – Carl Hendrick & Robin Macpherson

In this thorough, enlightening and comprehensive book, Carl Hendrick and Robin Macpherson ask 18 of today’s leading educational thinkers to distill the most up-to-date research into effective classroom practice in 10 of the most important areas of teaching. The result is a fascinating manual that will benefit every single teacher in every single school, in all four corners of the globe.

What every teacher needs to know about psychology – David Didau & Nick Rose

Here, David Didau and Nick Rose attempt to lay out the evidence and theoretical perspectives on what we believe are the most important and useful psychological principles of which teacher ought to be aware. That is not to say this book contains everything you might ever need to know – there is no way it could – it is merely a primer. We hope that you are inspired to read and explore some of the sources for yourself and see what other principles can find a home in your classroom. Some of what we present may be surprising, some dubious, but some in danger of being dismissed as ‘blindingly obvious’.

Closing the vocabulary gap – Alex Quigley

As teachers grapple with the challenge of a new, bigger and more challenging school curriculum, at every key stage and phase, success can feel beyond our reach. But what if there were 50,000 small solutions to help us bridge that gap?

In Closing the Vocabulary Gap, Alex Quigley explores the increased demands of an academic curriculum and how closing the vocabulary gap between our ‘word poor’ and ‘word rich’ students could prove the vital difference between school failure and success

The learning rainforest – Tom Sherrington

The Learning Rainforest captures different elements of our understanding and experience of the art and science of teaching. It is a celebration of great teaching and the intellectual and personal rewards that it brings. It’s aimed at all teachers; busy people working in complex environments with little time to spare. The core of the book is a guide to making teaching both effective and manageable using a three-part structure: establishing conditions; building knowledge; exploring possibilities.

On what a research-informed classroom actually looks like #EducationFest

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Today I had the pleasure of presenting with Claire Hill on what a research-informed classroom actually looks like. Both Claire and I share a vision of using research to guide effective classroom practice in our departments but also as a way to reduce unnecessary workload by focusing on the things that are more likely to really make a difference. Link to the PowerPoint slides here.

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I started by talking about the fact that in the first years of my teaching I did not have a good definition of learning – which now seems pretty remarkable given that I was in the job of getting students to learn stuff… However, if we take this notion from Kirschner, Sweller and Clark (2006) it’s a bit of a game changer. If we make long-term learning the goal of our teaching then it calls into question all sorts of practices which have long been established. For example, the model of massing practice in half-term long units (sometimes focusing on knowledge/skills which will never be revisited) is perhaps not the best model for learning.

Such massed practice is great for performance of learning – your students will probably appear to know a lot about a topic by the end of the unit. However, this gives us a false sense of security because it’s so easy for students to appear as if they’ve learnt something if we’ve only just finished teaching it.

The truth is that when teachers try to facilitate learning by making it as easy as possible they’re increasing the immediately observable short-term performance but that often comes at the expense of important long-term retention. In short, we often seek to eliminate difficulties to the detriment of long-term learning.

I think it’s important that I say here that I completely understand why, with certain in-school accountability measures, teachers do strive to make learning as easy as possible to increase perceived performance or perceived progress. School leaders need to understand that excessive data drops/captures/trawls are having a negative effect on learning. In seeking to measure performance, presumably to implement targeted intervention, they are actually making progress and learning LESS likely.

So how can we ensure that the time and effort put into lessons, by both students and teachers, is resulting in long-term learning and not just performance?

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Well Bjork suggests introducing what he terms ‘desirable difficulties’. Bjork argues that by introducing these ‘desirable difficulties’ we can improve the long-term retention of what students are learning. As teachers, our goals should be long term and not about what a student has leant by the end of the lesson, unit or key stage.

To appreciate why difficulties might actually be desirable, we must first make a distinction between performance and actual learning itself.

Performance: Observable during learning and testing
Learning: A long-term process that is difficult to measure

We need to separate performance and learning and prioritise the latter in our classroom.

Bjork begs the question that ‘if the research picture is so clear, why then are massed practice, excessive feedback, fixed conditions of training, and limited opportunities for retrieval practice such common features’ in the classroom?

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Claire then began to talk about the classroom application of this research about learning and desirable difficulties by talking about using multiple-choice tests to exploit the testing effect and to increase the durability, and students’ ability to recall, what they’ve learnt.

With the new linear specifications and the vast body of knowledge that needs to retained, it is no longer an option to teach a text or topic in September of year 10 and then only come back to this in the lead up to exams in year 11. It is little wonder that with this approach the period between January and May of year 11 is oftentimes filled with intervention and revision sessions because students have not revisited or revised half of the topics since year 10.

No revision happens every lesson through different forms of retrieval practice with students being pushed to retrieve knowledge from things they learnt in a previous topic, month, term or year. This retrieval practice is low stakes and can take many forms.

Multiple choice questions (MCQs), like those on the slide, not only allow for retrieval practice but also serve to give teachers an insight into which students still have misconceptions or misunderstandings. For example, if a student identifies that ‘lovely’ is an adverb because it ends in ‘ly’ then that’s a misconception that can be identified through MCQs and addressed. MCQs, once created, can be used, refined and used again. Your team can work together to generate these and, if you have a team with varying experience, your more experienced teachers can really inform the creation of these because they’ll know the misconceptions that students will likely make.

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I spoke briefly about how providing students with a knowledge organiser is a powerful way to be explicit about the knowledge all students are expected to know. This knowledge can then easily be tested in the form of 5-a-Day Starters which include a mix of questions from topics covered so retrieval is distributed. They’re also a great way to establish a routine at the start of lessons where students are expected to ‘get in and get on’ with their learning.

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Claire then shared the next step in creating retrieval practice questions which is to consider how these might be used to really extend students’ thinking and to include comparison and evaluation as well as recall. The example here is adapted from one used by Claire’s 2iC and this structure is now followed for a series of questions on different texts and for different year groups as a further development to her department’s work on retrieval practice. Creating a bank of these questions by dividing texts across members of the department has been a good way to save time and share workloads whilst also offering teachers the opportunity to really think about students’ possible misconceptions and ways to further interleave topics across the curriculum.

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Reducing workload is at the centre of nearly every policy and practice Claire introduces. Claire has not marked a single piece of homework for over four years and never intends to again. This doesn’t mean that students in Claire’s school don’t do homework – they absolutely do and it is checked in lesson along with seeing just how well the homework has been completed. However, most homework is checked through retrieval practice in of the many forms already mentioned which does not require teacher marking.

However, essay homework is dealt with slightly differently. When students write an essay for homework, Claire will take it in and have a look over it but won’t give any feedback. The reason being that Claire is unable to control the conditions in which the homework has been completed – any feedback given on homework is not going to be as accurate or helpful as feedback on a timed piece written in lesson. Claire will, instead, mark their essays written in lesson and give feedback before asking students to use the feedback from the lesson essay to improve their homework essay thereby transferring the feedback to a new piece of work. The idea behind this is based on Dylan Wiliam’s assertion that the ‘main purpose of feedback is to improve the student [to help] the student do a better job next time’. By using this model, Claire can see that they are transferring their feedback to another piece of work and therefore they are more likely to be able to apply this to their next piece of work.

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I then spoke about the best thing I’ve introduced for homework at both KS3 and KS4: self-quizzing. This idea was inspired by reading Joe Kirby’s chapter in ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers: The Michaela Way’ entitled ‘Homework as Revision’. Not only does it complement my department’s approach to homework (activities which have high value but require no marking) but students’ knowledge has improved as well as their confidence.

Students are expected to spend 30 minutes every week self-quizzing on a section of their knowledge organiser. They do this by recalling, as accurately as they can, everything they can and, once finished, checking their work against the knowledge organiser and using a different coloured pen to fill in gaps and correct errors. This way, progress can easily be seen and it’s incredibly quick and easy as a class teacher to check that the homework has been completed by expecting students to have their books open on their desks and quickly walking around the room.

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It’s also a great revision activity in the classroom to give students a blank knowledge organiser or a mostly blank knowledge organiser to fill in. Students really enjoy the challenge and it highlights very clearly to them where their gaps in knowledge are.

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Students at KS3 an KS4 in my school also self-quiz on their ambitious vocabulary using the Quizlet App (or look, cover, write, check if they haven’t got access). Students are encouraged to spend a few minutes every day self-quizzing on their vocabulary.

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In his New Theory of Disuse (1992), Bjork theorises that memories don’t decay. He suggests that it’s not that memories disappear but that we stop being able to retrieve them. You could liken this to having a shoe cupboard full of shoes and knowing there’s a certain pair in there but being unable to dig them out. The shoes still exist but you can’t find them under the mountain of other shoes!

What’s really exciting about Bjork’s ideas is that it suggests we have an infinite long term memory store – there’s potentially no limit to the amount of knowledge we could know but we need to get better at retrieving that information.

However, there’s a barrier to getting things into our long term memory: our working memory. Our working memory is limited and there’s research to suggest that our personal working memory limit is fixed and there’s not much we can do about that. We need to navigate the bottle neck of working memory to get more stuff into long term memory.

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We need to reduced the extraneous cognitive load in lessons in order that students can manage the intrinsic cognitive load of what we’re trying to teach them. We can’t change the intrinsic challenge of a text like Jane Eyre (and we certainly shouldn’t avoid teaching it because it’s challenging) but we can change our lessons to reduce the extraneous cognitive load which will be taking up students’ working memory.

For example, we need to ensure that students can see the board easily e.g. by seating them in rows. We need to have periods of silence in lessons so that students can concentrate on their deliberate practice. We need to give students enough time to complete tasks. We also need to avoid flooding our PowerPoint slides with lots of text and then talking over it.

Dan Willingham argues that ‘memory is the residue of though’ and that students will remember what they think about. I shared an example of a lesson that almost certainly ensured students did not remember what they were meant to though they probably do remember spending an English lesson sticking their hands in kidney beans and mash potato… We must be mindful of what students are spending lesson time thinking about and directing that very carefully to what we want them to be thinking about.

All teachers can probably think of an example from their teaching career where they’ve done something similar – it speaks of a zeitgeist of teaching (circa 2006 onwards but perhaps earlier) where the primary goal of lessons seemed to be engagement and ‘wow’ moments. Outstanding gradings were awarded in lessons where poor proxies of learning were evident (e.g. minimal teacher talk) and questionable practices abounded such as discovery learning and group work (de Bono’s thinking hats anyone?).

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We must work towards using the most effective methods in lessons such as modelling. There’s lots of evidence to suggest the power of metacognition and modelling. Spending time modelling though processes and showing students how to construct an answer is an extremely powerful lesson activity. Live modelling was a regular feature of lessons before PowerPoint (the temptation to show ‘one I made earlier’ is strong) and it’s something we need to do more of. We need to show students that it’s a complicated thing to construct an essay response but by modelling the process of working through that we are empowering students to do the same whilst also providing them with a model of excellence.

I’ve bought everybody in my team a visualiser and we use them all the time both to model and look at student work with the class.

 

Claire talked about the principles of designing a knowledge-led curriculum and distinguishing between disciplinary knowledge and substantive knowledge. A more detailed blog to follow on this…

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When designing a curriculum it’s important not to see learning as discrete bundles that can be tied up at the end of a lesson or unit. We must also strive not to be dictated to by the calendar (where’s the logic in a six week unit of work other than because this is how the year is divided up because of holidays?) or by the data monster. Too often we distort the learning process by trying to meet certain deadlines throughout the year.

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I talked briefly talked through my curriculum design. In KS3 students cover two main topics a year (a novel and a Shakespeare play) but this is interleaved with poetry lessons, weekly writing challenge lessons and analysis of unseen fiction and non-fiction. The rainbow strips across the top are threshold concepts which essentially represent the idea that that we are doing all of the things all of the time rather than massing practice into blocks.

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At KS4, students sit their English Language exam at the end of year 10 but they study two of the Lit texts. In year 11, from September until Christmas the other two texts will be studied so that after Christmas, though commonly after February half term due to PPE disruption, all four texts are interleaved in the course of study.

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Here’s a the beginning view weeks of a typical KS3 medium term plan. What you can see here is that students don’t have consecutive lessons on the same thing. Initially teachers found this a real challenge and we had to work towards not blocking lessons together but students have never found this difficult or even questioned why they’re studying Animal Farm one day and writing skills the next. This may be because they’re used to bouncing from subject to subject. In their day they might go from studying trigonometry lesson one and then the water cycle period two, running around playing hockey period three before coming to English. The other thing that’s been built into the curriculum is whole lessons for feedback.

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I shared an example of the whole-class feedback approach which my department have adopted. Students receive a specific numbered target and a whole class feedback sheet (either printed and/or displayed) that includes praise, common spelling errors and exemplars of great work. It’s so much quicker to mark in this way then laboriously write out individual comments and litter students work with comments/questions. I simply jot down comments on a sheet of paper as I’m marking and then it takes me 5 minutes or so to create a whole class feedback slide with a set of numbered targets specific to that class and what I’ve seen from reading their books.

Feedback lessons are an opportunity for teachers to re-teach and model where necessary and then students spend the rest of the lesson completing a ‘DIRT Task’ that will be specific and actionable – an opportunity to act on their targets either by redrafting a piece of work or completing a new task where they can demonstrate that they’ve acted on the feedback and made progress. Students will then draw a yellow box around this.

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Claire shared this extract from Carl Hendrick and Robin Macpherson’s book ‘What Does This Look Like In The Classroom’. The highlighted section clearly questions the common practice in school of writing lengthy summary comments at the end of a piece of work. Not only are these time-consuming but also largely ineffective.

 

Sharing WWWs for the whole class is far more effective, and efficient, than giving every student a WWW comment. Not only will one document save time in writing, but it also means every student can see the possible ideas they could have used and gives an opportunity to re-teach some of these ideas if not may students used them in their work.

In terms of teacher input, Claire will read through the work and add codes linked to EBI tasks, at first this will be next to where students need to include more detail or make changes, but later it will just be at the end of the work and students work out where their improvements would be best added. As suggested by Daisy Christodoulou, the tasks are ‘actionable’ and students have ‘something they can go away and do in response to it’. Therefore, instead of writing ‘EBI: Analyse in more detail’ for the 60-70% of the class you may need to use that comment for, you simply write one number and give students a specific task to complete i.e. ‘pick out key words such as ‘milk’ or ‘gall’ and analyse in more detail, considering the connotations of those words’. The next time a student completes a similar piece of work, ask them to prove that they will not need the same target as last time, by asking them to highlight evidence that they have met this target in their new piece of work.

new cover leading from the middle

We wanted to our presentation with the exciting news that we are working on a book together. Leading from the Middle: A Guide to Effective Middle Leadership will be published later this year by John Catt and is available to order now here.