Why Successive Relearning? Capturing the climate shift? (Part 2)


Why Successive Relearning? Capturing the climate shift? (Part 2)

29 Mar ’21 Successive Relearning Teaching 0
unrecognizable surfer in wavy sea

This is “Part 2” in a short series of posts exploring the introduction of Successive Relearning (both CRM and the now the RM app) with Ben Windsor aka @MrClassics3. In fact, it would be fair to say that I am merely piggie backing his reflections and insights. As per “Why Successive Relearning? Socrates was right! (Part 1)” I am second to the punch.

There is no doubt, both Ben and I find the quiet of Successive Relearning a little disconcerting. We are, by agreement, “noisy teachers” and yet we see the benefit of quiet, personal, focused, thinking-hard, self-paced retrieval practice. Our question to one another, “How to capture this shift?” Even then, we know that proactive classrooms is only the half of it. The second half, if not more than, is a shift in learner confidence that underpins a climate shift. It was so obvious Ben tagged it within his reward systems.

As Ben pointed out having sensed student buy in, quite early on, it is important to recognise and praise the good. That along side, levelling each warning or behaviour correction with a range of positive praise with students in the near vicinity of the unfocused participant often solves this very swiftly.

I have also found it useful to have RememberMore sit alongside already existent reward schemes. House points work well or a suitable alternative in line with your school’s reward system – these should be given not only for actual achievement, but for buy-in and performing the task.

When the climate is the culture?

The conversation turned to “how do we know” the climate was changing or had changed?

What where the notable adaptations by students to starting lessons with routined CRM openings in your classroom Ben?

Voting with feet

Students who are often dawdling in the halls – I am now finding them consistently coming a bit earlier each time. Despite how it’s cool to advertise that you don’t like learning – my students clearly do. They like learning but don’t like school. CRM is the delivery of learning and knowledge at its most effective and primal. Students now have a tangible, quantitative piece of data that shows they are improving. This is what draws them in earlier each time we start with CRM.

I wrote about students coming early to class too, to discuss Othello, in what became known as “the lesson before the lesson.” Here the learners were also taking the opportunity to show off their new found knowledge. 

Security if not consistency

Students do respect and appreciate routines. At least I believe they do. Or do they prefer that, to not knowing? Well, starting a lesson with a confidence boost, relearning, can only underwrite success later in the lesson, the sequence, the academic year. 

Working with CRM, we both agreed that starting with CRM was an easy win. How can CRM introductions be optimised? A tight deck, revisited repeatedly, often offers a springboard to the lesson. “At least I know some,” is a phrase Ben highlighted from his teaching. Not “testing,” but “retrieving” removes a good degree of the threat.

Language is always important.

Do we need to know the student scores? Possibly, but not as much as they do. Self-marking and self-correcting ensures the students have at least seen the correct answer as well as promoting metacognitive benefits, it also reduces the demands placed on teachers in terms of assessment.

Self directed learning

Another noticeable factor was being stopped in the halls, being asked how to access the knowledge organisers (Ben underpinned CRM with a set KO), how to get their hands on extra information – of course CRM is open and now the students have just got the app! Not only this, work that I never asked for is now being emailed. 

Successive Relearning “success” definitely adds a boost to student motivation. Both directly and indirectly.

In my classroom, we are one full term ahead of Ben. Working with students who are on their second topic / cycle of CRM means students are expecting a BIG quiz.

I look forward to hearing about how Ben’s students experience a signposted quiz next term – with Persian Kings doubling up with Roman Kings – a double deck of approximately 300 cards. 


I know the classes I teach have bought in. Teachers that pass my open door can feel / see it and often pop their head in to ask if [the silence] everything is alright. “It is – we are Relearning.” I affirmatively state and often give one of the students the opportunity to explain the investment we are making. More recently, we have started to use the RM app and that has been a step change in student investment again… and the RM app makes it personal! What about you Ben?

I have not had the students working on the app in class yet. However, the student engagement when using CRM is palpable. It is measurable by the silence in the room and industry. I’ve devised a non-verbal signal – so that students present as ready / complete, while preserving the quiet. So far – so good. Now for making the most of the corrective phase.

This is Success-ive relearning. Riding the wave…

We hope to wrap up the series for the end of term… and learn from these reflections in setting up the summer term. If you want to add CRM to your armoury, just drop me a note.


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