Science of learning: Metacognition

Metacognition is a set of behaviours which maximise the potential for and efficacy of learning. A metacognitive learner is one who has control over their cognitive skills and processes and understands how learning happens. They are able to apply this understanding to help them learn more effectively. This then aids their lifelong learning skills. There …

What strategies can be used to improve students’ Problem-Solving skills?

Rationale:   In the new Maths GCSE higher tier paper, 30% of marks include a problem-solving element.  In my experience, this is something students noticeably struggle with as they are unsure how to tackle this style of question.  However, problem-solving as a concept is far reaching.  The Education Endowment Foundation’s report, ‘Improving Maths at KS2 …

How can we challenge the “engagement myth” and increase motivation

Why did you decide to undertake this project? What was it designed to achieve? With a continued whole-school focus on praise and a personal interest that I had in this matter, engagement was an area that seemed necessary to focus on in relation to student well-being and outcomes. GCSE results showed that girls out perform boys by around 12% (5 GCSE’s of …

Science of learning: Interleaving (Long-term memory)

Interleaving means revisiting or reinforcing previous topics and switching between ideas. Rather than teaching topics as stand-a-lone, practice is distributed across multiple episodes. Evidence suggests interleaving can support long-term memory in the following ways: Help pupils to see the links, similarities and differences between ideas more easily. Builds long-term memory since pupils are required to switch between …

Science of learning: Spaced practice (Long-term memory)

Spaced Practice involves studying the same information over multiple sessions rather than cramming it all into one. Through doing this pupils review material in short bursts over a long period of time rather than in a single massed amount of time. This gives their minds time to form connections between the ideas and concepts so …

Science of learning: Knowledge Organisers (Retrieval practice)

A useful tool to aid retrieval practice are Knowledge Organisers. These are fact focused, and present information in an easily digestable format in order to help construct schemas. When referred to regularly, in a planner manner, they can greatly aid working memory and explicit vocabulary instruction. It is essential to think carefully how these are …

Science of learning: Retrieval practice

Retrieval practice is the act of recalling learned information from long term memory. Each time the information is recalled it strengthens the connections between ideas and changes the context they are viewed in, which develops a pupil’s ability to use the information in different situations. Regular retrieval practice of prior knowledge can also help make …

Science of learning: Concrete examples

Children learn new knowledge by tethering it to prior knowledge. Concrete examples can be useful at giving meaning to the learning and supporting the working memory by linking to already existing schemas. Many of the concepts we teach are fairly abstract in nature and in seeking to help pupils understand them we can build on …

Science of learning: Reducing cognitive load

Working memory capacity increases with age and in general, a person can hold 5-9 items in their working memory at one time. Working memory is limited by content and time. Only a set number of items can be considered in the working memory at one time, therefore chunking material is essential. When items are chunked …