Cognitive science – what can we learn about TEACHERS’ limitations? And how can we plan for this?

I’d be lying if I said that there was one single influence on my teaching greater than Cognitive Load Theory. It’s allowed me to strip back my teaching and fine tune the elements I’d always done. It’s shifted my focus during the planning and delivery of my lessons away from the resource, or the entertainment …

Post-lockdown teaching: the positives.

Three weeks ago, I returned to full time teaching after 16 years of working part time. And what a time to have made my return! When I made the decision back in January, I couldn’t possibly have known what the circumstances would have been eight months later. The elation I felt at being told by …

Blogs of the week and Research Pod: (5) Challenge

This fortnight, we are focusing on the Challenge strand of the What Makes Great Teaching at Reigate School model. This week’s blog, from Durrington Research School in Worthing, focuses on one of the key proponents of how challenge for all can be achieved in our classrooms – Robert Bjork. He and his wife, Elizabeth Bjork, …

Blog of the week and Research Pods – 4. Modelling.

This fortnight, we are focusing on the theme of modelling. Students in school are constantly in the process of creating pieces of work or performances. However, these do not reach a high standard by magic. As teachers, it is our responsibility to not only deliver content, but to show students how to use and manipulate …

Blogs of the week and Research Pods – 3: Scaffolding.

Blog of the week: Scaffolding (1). The focus for this week and next is SCAFFOLDING and is one of the principles in the What Makes Great Teaching model at Reigate School. Scaffolding is an all-encompassing term for the support we provide in class to ensure that all students are given the chance to achieve our …

Blogs of the week and Research Pods – 2. EXPLANATION

Blog of the week: Explanation (1) This fortnight’s focus from the What Makes Great Teaching at Reigate School model is EXPLANATION. There’s some further discussion about this element in the Research Pod section, but Barak Rosenshine in his Principles of Instruction (1968) as a result of a wide range of studies into research on how …

Blogs of the week and Research Pods – 1. RETRIEVAL

Each week at Reigate School, in Surrey, where I am a teacher of geography, I am given the role of writing two short sections of our Teaching and Learning Newsletter. I do not do this in any official capacity, merely as a result of repeated hints and pestering to the powers that be that it …

Refocusing lessons: if we take out the ‘jazz’ does this make them ‘boring?’

I love being a teacher. I also love that I’ve discovered a renewed passion for it, after twenty-two years, since I stumbled upon the evidence-informed movement a couple of years ago. And I love the simplicity and logicality it has brought to my teaching. However, there’s one paper in particular that really sparked mine and …

We’re all in this together…

An impromptu post given that it is the first week of the so long-awaited Christmas holidays. A couple of days ago I put out a tweet which was little more than me thinking out loud. However, to date, it has garnered almost 800 likes and several responses. The tweet can be seen below. This tweet …

Cognitive Load Theory: how has it changed my teaching?

For the last eighteen months or so, I’ve become absolutely fascinated by cognitive load theory. Slightly too much so if the amount of time I spend on Twitter avidly following other educators’ conversations is an accurate measure. I’m ashamed to say, as a teacher who has just entered their twenty-second year of teaching, that until …

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