Tag Archives: Learning

Blog of the Week: 11 December 2020 – Pupils can learn more effectively through stories than activities

A randomised controlled trial found that children learn about evolution more effectively when engaged through stories read by the teacher, than through doing tasks to demonstrate the same concept.

The scientists investigated several different methods of teaching evolution in primary schools, to test whether a pupil-centred approach (where pupils took part in an activity) or a teacher-centred approach (where pupils were read a story by the teacher), led to a greater improvement in understanding of the topic.

They also looked at whether using human-based examples of evolution (comparing arm bones in humans with those in animals), or more abstract examples that were harder to emotionally engage with (comparing the patterns of trilobites), produced better…

View original post here

Blog of the Week: 31 January 2020 – 7 Rules of Rosenshine

Reflections on schools, teaching and education.

Last weekend we (United Learning) launched our Expert Teacher Programme. We are using Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of instructions as a core text for this course. At our launch I proposed 7 Rules of Rosenshine to support teachers in developing expertise through these principles.

Rosenshine Rule 1: Theories of teaching begin with theories of learning

Whichever Rosenshine paper we choose to read, from his classic 2012 PDF published in the American Educator, to the lesser known 1982 Instructional Functions paper, it’s clear that his guidance on teaching is rooted in his understanding of how we learn. We see this in these lines from his 1986 Teaching Functions paper:

“When too much information is presented at once, our working memory becomes swamped. This suggests that when teaching new or difficult material, a teacher should proceed in small steps and provide practice on one step before adding another. In this way, the learner…

View original post 829 more words

Blog of the Week: 24 January 2020 – Dual Coding and Learning Styles

Dual Coding and Learning Styles

By Megan Sumeracki

Dual coding and learning styles sound similar, but are not quite the same thing. While dual coding has scientific evidence backing its use, learning styles has been repeatedly tested and shown not to improve learning.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post (see here), I have been working with a team of learning scientists and teachers throughout the country to apply key evidence-based learning strategies in the classroom. Along with two high school teachers from Memphis Tennessee teaching Biology and English, we have been implementing dual coding.

Dual coding is combining words and visuals such as pictures, diagrams, graphic organizers, and so on. The idea is to provide two different representations of the information, both visual and verbal, to help students understand the information better. Adding visuals to a verbal description can make the presented ideas more concrete, and provides two ways of understanding the presented ideas. Dual coding is about more than just adding pictures. Instead, the visuals should be meaningful, and students should have enough time to integrate the two representations (otherwise, cognitive overload could occur, see this blog). There is scientific evidence backing dual coding, showing that …

 

View original post here

Blog of the Week: 17 January 2020 – Going Goal-Free During Formative Assessment

I’m making a simple modification to some of my formative assessment this semester. I’m incorporating the goal free effect. The concept behind this effect isn’t very tricky at all. Basically, instead of asking questions this way:

1. List and describe the function(s) of the following parts of the eye:

  1. Iris
  2. Cornea
  3. Retina
  4. Lens

I’ll simply ask this in this manner:

2. Tell me everything you can about vision.

This may seem like a somewhat negligible change, but the second option really provides a better opportunity for more working with the material to be retrieved from memory. With option 1, students have 4 very specific goals. Hopefully, students will know those four structures of the eye and their function(s). This is somewhat limiting. They will perform this task and nothing more. Don’t get me wrong, if they can do this, that’s fantastic…much better than not asking them to retrieve any information. But, with option 2, students may include the four structures and functions from option 1 and then also include more information; perhaps they also state the functions of the pupil, rods, …

 

View original post here

Blog of the Week: 10 January 2020 – Bigger Than Words – It’s Meanings We Need to Focus On

Last weekend, I did a session on vocabulary for a National Association of Advisors in English conference, in which I presented a range of arguments, some of which I have already shared in previous blogs and in different contexts, some of which I have developed further. In brief here are some of the arguments I put forward.

  1. The ‘30 million word vocabulary gap’ research should no longer be used to argue for more work on vocabulary in classrooms. It dates from 1995, has been comprehensively critiqued for its limited size and methodology and its claims have not been replicated since. Indeed, the most recent attempt to repeat its work (by Sperry, Sperry and Miller), with a more legitimate methodology, failed to deliver the same results. There is much new research too on the greater significance of the quality of interaction as opposed to quantity of words in the early years (Dr Jill Gilkerson, Dale Walker and others).
  2. Even if it did have any credence, what would its value be in relation to older students? Even if one thought it might have any value, the Hart Risely study was focused only on children of 7 months to 3 years old and their learning of language in the home. This should not be uncritically extended to relate to the language of …

View original post here

Blog of the Week: 6 December 2019 – Deep learning (2): structuring and organising knowledge – responsive teaching update

What comes next?

  1. James I, Charles, I, Charles II, James II, _________
  2. 2, 3, 5, 7, __
  3. Je suis allé, je vais, j’irai; j’ai été, je suis, _________
  4. A B A B C D C D E F E F _ _
  5. Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, _______

Some of these clues may feel frustratingly cryptic: readers know A, 2, and perhaps ‘je suis’; they know about neon lights, and probably something about Charles I.  Answering depends not just on what we know however, but on how it’s organised: the answer seems obvious once we recognise the structure (answers below).  Deep learning means developing mental models – organised knowledge structures – which allow students to apply their knowledge flexibly: this post discusses the architecture of mental models; what structures and organisation make knowledge usable?

Mental models: organising knowledge usably

Flexible knowledge is an important step towards deep learning.  If an item of knowledge is flexible, students can access it via a range of cues, not just the ones they originally learned.  So – for example – flexible knowledge of Charles I would allow them to think about him when asked about the Stuarts, Ship Money, or the Divine Right of Kings (more on this here).  This flexibility supports transfer of knowledge to …

 

View original post here

Blog of the Week: 15 November 2019 – Retrieval Practice in the Classroom: Is Asking Questions Enough?

By Cindy Nebel

In our workshops, we often recommend that instructors start by making small changes in their teaching, instead of trying to do a massive overhaul to a curriculum or design from scratch. One possible way that an educator may choose to incorporate retrieval practice into their classroom is to simply stop and ask questions throughout a traditional lecture. By asking students questions, they will all be in engaging in retrieval practice without the instructor taking too much time out of their class to develop or grade quizzes. But is that enough? In today’s post, I review a study that asked just that question and has implications for student group work as well.

In this study (1), Magdalena Abel and Henry Roediger had students study Swahili vocabulary words in pairs. First, both students sat at a computer while the Swahili word was presented with its English equivalent (study phase). Some of the words were …

View original post here

Blog of the Week: 26 September 2019 – This much I know about…how I have transformed my own teaching

johntomsett

I have been a teacher for 31 years, a Headteacher for 16 years and, at the age of 54, this much I know about how I have transformed my own teaching.

I never thought I would transform my teaching in my 50s.

After 31 years of being in the classroom, I have never enjoyed my teaching more. For the last term I have been teaching Business Studies, a new subject for me. We had a challenging, 22 student, all-male Year 10 class. Relationships in the class were broken. I agreed with the teacher that I would remove the ten most disruptive students and teach them myself. When I told those students to stand up, pick up their bags and follow me at the beginning of their first lesson after Easter, they had no idea what was going on. I took them to my office, cramped them round my meeting…

View original post 1,246 more words

Blog of the Week: 12 July 2019 – Thinking Curriculum: The One Stop Shop

A Chemical Orthodoxy

Thinking deeply about curriculum is new to most of us. For a long time, we’ve focussed a lot more on the how than we have on the what. Recent changes in mood have been revelatory to me and, I imagine, many others. Perhaps ironically though, most of us who are now interested in curriculum, didn’t follow a formal curriculum when learning more about curriculum. As such, and I’m happy to only speak for myself here, my knowledge came in drips and drabs, bits and pieces and stops and starts. That’s probably just the nature of the beast.

I was asked by school to deliver some training on curriculum, and argued that the thing that would be most useful would be to introduce staff to some of the key terms that are bandied around when thinking about curriculum. Familiarity with these concepts isn’t just important in and of itself, but is…

View original post 318 more words

Blog of the Week: 5 July 2019 – 10 Techniques for Retrieval Practice

teacherhead

Image Credit: https://emptechgroup.com/the-internet-of-things/

I’ve written about retrieval practice several times in other posts but here I just want to make it easy to lay out various alternative methods for the process of reviewing your students’ knowledge and understanding.   Before doing that, I would suggest that there are some key principles:

  1. Involve everyone:  Good techniques involve all students checking their knowledge, not just a few and not just one at a time as you might do when questioning.
  2. Make checking accurate and easy:  it should be possible for all students to find out what they got right and wrong, what they know well and where they have gaps. Every technique involves students testing their knowledge and then checking their work for accuracy and completeness. (This is not the same as giving students extended mark schemes to mark longer assessments which, for me goes beyond a simple retrieval practice activity)

View original post 1,332 more words