Monthly Archives: November 2018

Blog of the Week: 16 November 2018 – How Teachers Implement Interleaving In Their Curriculum

Since starting this outreach project, we’ve come out of our ivory towers and discovered that there are teachers out there already doing incredible implementation of cognitive principles into their curricula. This week, we have chosen to focus on implementation of interleaving throughout a semester, year, or even longer period of study.

Most of these blog posts come from teachers in the UK. Part of the reason for this could be that the UK secondary school system requires students to retain information for 2-3 years for a set of final exams (known as GCSEs) across all the subjects that they have been studying. Typically – and certainly when I took GCSEs back in the 1990s – the information would be taught sequentially, with little to no interleaving; and then a serious multi-week “revision” (= studying; or, less generously – cramming) period would precede the exams.

Here we’ve collected 5 blog posts by teachers across a variety of disciplines. (Actually, that’s not true. Three of them are about teaching English – but I interleaved those with the other two on physical and religious education – see what I did there?). In these blog posts, the teachers explore models that challenge the status quo by introducing…

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Blog of the Week: 9 November 2018 – Teaching to the Top: Attitudes and strategies for delivering real challenge.


Ladder.jpg Image

Teaching to top has been a long-standing principle of effective teaching from my perspective.  One of my early blogs was ‘Gifted and Talented Provision: A Total Philosophy‘ and it remains one of the topics I am asked to talk about most often in CPD sessions.  I no longer think that Gifted and Talented is a helpful label – it never was – but the principles are the same.  I’ve also covered this topic The Anatomy of High Expectations.

As I’ve said previously, I firmly believe that too many students are systematically underchallenged at school, especially in the years furthest away from high-stakes tests.  I also think that, if you crack this, you crack most other things too; the bar is raised for everyone.  This blog is based on the CPD I usually deliver on this topic.

The secret to doing this well is to think about…

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Blog of the Week: 2 November 2018 – What are disciplinary and substantive knowledge? the real.

I’ll stray into areas where I know what I know is limited… but I’ve found what follows to be a very useful model, even if it’s not quite right.  Where I have it ‘not quite right,’ hopefully someone can fill in the blanks for me.

Substantive Knowledge

Knowledge accrued by the discipline.

e.g. History: knowledge of the past.  Science: Newton’s three laws of motion.  Mathematics: Pythagoras’ theorem.

Disciplinary Knowledge

How the academic discipline accrues said knowledge.

e.g. Source analysis.  Empirical experimentation.  Conjecture and proof.

I feel like there’s more to disciplinary knowledge that I’m not fully getting… Michael Fordham suggested that there is a ‘know-that’ component to disciplinary knowledge, as well as a ‘know-how.’  I wonder whether concepts such as ‘measurement error’ and ‘inductive reasoning’ would be ‘know-that’ disciplinary knowledge for science.  They’re certainly not knowledge accrued by science, while they are necessary as a part of its processes for accruing…

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