Reducing a Teachers’ Cognitive Load


Reducing a Teachers’ Cognitive Load

17 Apr ’21 Successive Relearning Teaching 0
crop kid weighing on scale

Yesterday, I was listening to Doug Lemov’s return on Craig Barton’s podcast. During the later parts of their conversation, Craig and Doug waltz graciously through the issue of a teacher’s Cognitive Load, twice. Once when discussing “worked examples” and soon after, when discussing “lesson preparation” (as opposed to lesson planning,) a new strategy included in TLAC 3.0, along with Retrieval Practice. With a day reflection, I can see how both connect with, and highlight how RememberMore has contributed to my teaching, beyond the direct benefits of retrieval practice and the testing effect.

In both instances, with “worked examples” and “lesson preparation,” there were hints at how these strategies help manage or reduce a teachers’ Cognitive Load during the lesson, to enable teachers to reallocate that resource. It is a discussion I have previously held with Ben Windsor @MrClassics3 and observations more recently made by Helen Pipe @HelenPipe_1 and Andrea Smith @SmithHistory11.

Deciding what is deemed to be powerful knowledge whether this be definitions, concepts or the most important case study facts, will be invaluable to the delivery of my lessons and for my students.

Helen Pipe

Having not taught the Cold War in 18 months, it has really helped to strengthen and refresh my subject knowledge and really get to grips with the big picture and key events. It’s also given me lots of inspiration for teaching it again, especially in terms of highlighting the links across the events.

Andrea Smith

Cognitive Load net gain

First, “Lesson Preparation” of RememberMore. Defining and designing the deck is ‘BIG curriculum thinking,’ then writing the retrieval prompt pairs or “worked examples,” possible elaborations, categories and tags, not only defines what knowledge is important, it refreshes / consolidates my understanding of the content, highlighting connections within it. I also find that the tagging process surfaces the concepts or themes – particularly in English text decks.

Second, knowing I have this flexible resource, at a click, is both assuring and reassuring, and more importantly, having prepared the retrieval prompt pairs (worked examples) offsets the “Cognitive Load” of creating questions then assessing learner responses on-demand – thinking space that can then be re-purposed for teaching or classroom management. An twice enhanced benefit – it is a prepared question, the desired or preferred response, and all learners get to assess their response, with that desired or preferred response.

3 prompts shared via #freedom # Ch1-4 – The Maze Runner

Ultimately, RememberMore encourages the move from “lesson planning” to “lesson preparation,” lowering by Cognitive Load, offer assurance and reassurance.

Four Gems. 💎💎💎💎

💎 “Let’s go ‘hunting‘ for the right response instead of ‘fishing.'” When cold-calling, (or warm-calling), #nohandsup, draw on learners that you believe are in possession of the correct response. Hence the reference to ‘hunt’ rather than ‘fish.’ @Doug_lemov also mentioned a recent research paper that noted that such an approach, encourages future contributions also.

💎 Signalling – do we, as teachers, signal ‘how’ learners are expected to participate? In reflection, I am not sure I that I signal often enough, less so since I have used RememberMore as everyone responds. @Doug_lemov

For example, “Following the question, you need to think deeply for 1 min / ask your partner what they think about Y or Z / frame your answer with, first and alternatively / then I will take your responses – thank you.”

Or “Following the question, we are going to bounce-the-room collecting a response from 10 of you – be ready! Thank you.” Where bounce-the-room means learners respond and nominate the next respondent.

💎 Retrieval of school class room expectations – @mrbartonmaths Of course, so simple. I wonder if these should be threaded through all RememberMore decks #values or as a separate deck? One to ponder on.

💎 Now that Google Classroom has bullet points – @clare0901 tells me she has been, and actually intends to continue, using emoji as bullet points. So obvious when you know!


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