memory

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Are knowledge organisers flawed?

2020-09-20T15:14:30+01:00September 20th, 2020|psychology|

Like many others, I got quite excited about the idea of organising the knowledge students needed to learn on a single page when I first encountered it on Joe Krby's blog. As Joe said, a knowledge organiser (KO) can "specify subject knowledge in meticulous detail," provide "clarity for teachers" and provide a mechanism for "boosting students' memory". Used well, they can be part of a coherent five year revision strategy. I had a go at making some examples of KOs for English and started recommending the approach to schools I worked with. Then a thousand flowers bloomed; KOs popped up everywhere. [...]

Reading aloud might boost students' memories

2017-12-07T10:26:28+00:00December 7th, 2017|psychology, reading|

In the latest edition of the British Psychological Society's Research Digest, Bradley Busch writes about a new study which compared the effects on memory of reading in silence to those of reading out loud. Noah Forrin and Colin MacLeod's paper, This time it’s personal: the memory benefit of hearing oneself, explores what's been termed the 'production effect' - a neat name for the memory advantage of saying words aloud over simply reading them silently. The speculation is that the effort of saying something out loud appears to make information more cognitively 'sticky', creating stronger schematic connections in long-term memory. This advantage appears [...]

A summary of my arguments about education

2017-08-16T13:59:14+01:00April 13th, 2017|psychology|

And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew, that one small head could carry all he knew. Oliver Goldsmith A tradition without intelligence is not worth having. T. S. Eliot Debating ideas in education - and anywhere else - is essential if we want to improve the lot of children and society. Over the past 6 years of so I've learned huge amounts from taking part in this back and forth and have, as well as becoming a good deal more knowledgeable, become a lot more adept at thinking critically about the ideas I encounter. My views have changed a [...]

Is it worth trying to memorise facts?

2017-02-08T17:17:40+00:00February 8th, 2017|learning|

We can only think about what we know and, no mater how intelligent we might be, we cannot think about something about which we are ignorant. But how well do we need to know things? Is there any point to memorising facts? I had an interesting discussion with some primary maths teachers recently about the benefits of memorising certain basic maths facts. While pretty much everyone agreed that if children had memorised number bonds to ten and times tables then they would have an advantage when performing calculations, there was a difference of opinion on what was reasonable to expect. Some teachers suggested that [...]

Motivation: when the going gets tough, the tough get going

2014-02-06T17:47:22+00:00August 26th, 2013|learning, planning|

If ever you get embroiled in a discussion on Learning Styles you may well be confronted with the chestnut of motivation. Learning styles, it seems to me, are all about motivation and management, and nothing whatsoever to do with learning. There is of course a correlation between learning and motivation but often they get conflated. Much of what goes on in classrooms is predicated on the belief that if kids are sufficiently engaged in an activity, they will learn from it. But it doesn't take a genius to spot that we can really enjoy something without learning a whole lot from [...]

The problem with fun

2016-10-02T13:38:59+01:00August 22nd, 2013|learning, planning|

Getting students engaged so that they can be taught something seems much less effective than getting them engaged by teaching them something that engages them. Dylan Wiliam Could fun be the enemy of learning? I've not always been the curmudgeonly killjoy I am today. Some years ago, I took part in a department meeting where we were asked to prioritise those qualities we most valued about teaching. We came up with all the tiresomely worthy answers you might expect, but, somewhat controversially, I insisted on including 'fun'. The case I made went something like this: I don't teach for the money, I [...]