Monthly Archives: February 2018

Blog of the Week: 22 February 2018 – When do novices become experts?

It’s a fairly well established principle of cognitive science that experts and novices think differently. Being aware of these differences can make a big difference to teachers. For instance, if we assume that most children in most situations are likely to begin as novices this could help point the way to more effective instruction. Here’s a summary of some of the main differences between experts and novices.

One of the most interesting findings to come out of the research into Cognitive Load…

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Blog of the Week: 7 February 2018 – When do the 6 Strategies for Effective Learning Work Best?

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By Megan Smith & Cindy Wooldridge

We have written a lot about the 6 strategies for effective learning (spaced practiceinterleavingelaborative interrogationconcrete examplesdual coding, and retrieval practice). For example, in this piece Cindy discussed the powerful combination of spacing, retrieval practice, and sleep. In this guest post, Yana’s student tried out the 6 strategies on her own and documented her progress.

We have written so much about these strategies because decades of cognitive evidence suggest they are effective ways to learn (1). However, using these strategies does not automatically mean students will get an A. Evidence suggests they’re effective, but they’re not a magic learning pill. (A magic learning pill doesn’t exist, as much as we, as students, sometimes wished it did. Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely trying to sell you something to turn a profit. But, who knows, maybe someday.)

If using the strategies doesn’t mean an automatic A, then how should students use…

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Blog of the Week: 2 February 2018 – Hornets and Butterflies: How to reduce workload

Joe Kirby

Butterfly      Hornet

When teachers were asked about workload, 44,000 responded. Teachers work 50-to-60 hour weeks, often starting at 7am, often leaving after 6pm, and often working weekends. Some 90% of teachers have considered giving up teaching because of excessive workload, and 40% leave the profession within 5 years. There are teachers out there working 90 hour weeks.

For a school, there are great benefits to leading the way on reducing workload. Teachers who aren’t exhausted teach better. We contribute more over a longer time period. We are far happier to invest time in building trusting, caring, affirming relationships with children. We stay calmer in difficult confrontations, and are less likely to be short-tempered in everyday interactions. We support and encourage each other better. New teachers improve faster, veteran teachers stay longer, and everyone works smarter. A school that pioneers healthy work-life balance is more likely to attract teachers to…

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