Research Spotlight – November

CPD Books

Putting Research To Work

Blog Posts – focus on recall


As ever, there is a huge amount being written on how we can make educational research work for us in the classroom. Here is just a taste of what is out there at the moment.

Tom Sherrington’s post on creating a deeper understanding and better recall talks through the steps we need to put in place to make sure that pupils actually learn the things we intend them to learn and can apply these things to new contexts. An excellent explanation of how we can apply the research of this to our classroom.

An important consideration in the ability to recall information is the development of a schema –  a web of knowledge that connects what we know to other things that we know. This short post by David Didau explains this idea of the schema and its implications for us as teachers.

One way we can ensure that pupils can retrieve what they have learnt is to practice this recall. The more often they recall and think about something they have learnt the easier it is to do so in the future. Many teachers encourage this recall by including a short quiz on previous topics at the start of the lesson but in this short article for TES I suggest that there are other ways to get the benefit from the “testing effect”.

A very detailed look at how one teacher has approach the start of his lessons can be found on Ben Newmark’s blog and in his post Nothing New, Just a Review. It is packed full of ideas. Dawn Cox is very clear that revision isn’t something that pupils should do before an exam but is a central part of learning throughout the year. As such her homework tasks are based on retrieval. This post on The Same Homework for 3 Years shows what this looks like in practice. Effective AND efficient.

Education Conferences

The first ResearchED Kent conference is taking place this term on December the 1st and there are just a few tickets left. An incredible line up of speakers discussing how educational research can be used in the classroom. These events always have a lovely sociable atmosphere.  You can find the line up here.

Research at Heathfield CC

Just a reminder that we have a lot of different research projects running in the college at the moment looking at issues such as:

  • Assessing using comparative judgement
  • The use of low stakes quizzes on retention
  • Using exemplars in assessment and feedback
  • Interleaving homework to improve retention

If you would like to know more, or if you are interested in evaluating the effectiveness of something you are trying, then please pop in and have a chat.

Journal Club

Please ignore rule one – tell EVERYONE about journal club

This term our journal club will be focusing on Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. This seminal paper by Barak Rosenshine explores what the evidence from theoretical cognitive science and the practice of highly effective teachers suggests are the features of great lessons. I wrote about how this paper influenced by own teaching in this post for our own school blog.

In our first session we discussed the different principles in the paper and identified areas of possible controversy. In our next session we will look in a bit more detail at Principle 1, starting the lesson with a review of previous learning, and consider the research of Karpicke and Grimaldi (2012).  Please come along and share some thoughts.

Next session is Thursday 22nd November 13:20 in K5. 

Mark Enser

Head of Geography and Research Lead

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