Embedding Explicit Study Techniques


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In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account through which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday...
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Ignoring the greater discussion on examination reform, vocational education and technical qualifications, what one thing could all teachers do to help all students get off to a good start?

If we truly want to ‘level up’ post-pandemic, whilst funding can make some difference, there are some key strategies teachers can start to use in the classroom that make a difference. 

At some point, we are all trying to ‘learn’ something every day. Sometimes this is subconscious, other times it ‘feels’ hard and we give up, try again (or not), hoping to establish a new way of thinking or doing from the information we have learned.

Even as a teacher, it has taken me decades to understand in finer detail how we learn, how our memory is shaped and the things that we can do to hinder or support this process. 

I suspect you can remember certain techniques that you used as a student. Perhaps you can or cannot name them? How effective were your study techniques when you were studying for those exams? What would this experience also look like for disadvantaged students or for students with special educational needs?

If there’s one thing I have learned from 30 years in education, is that I would have been a much more effective teacher I had learned more about explicit study techniques. Mnemonics, summarisation, elaboration and retrieval practice are just some of the techniques promoted towards the latter years of school before final examinations, rather than embedded throughout the curriculum and taught explicitly through subjects.

Across many schools, this dialogue is changing with many thinking much more carefully about curriculum decisions and how knowledge can be taught, assessed and embedded further to develop further schema. Teacher professional development is targeted more thoughtfully to help develop a collective approach that reaps a wide range of rewards later on, particularly when these study skills are taught at a very young age. 

The Revision Revolution is a joint call to action for teachers across the country to start refining the way that they teach, how they shape professional development for themselves and the other people around them; to design a whole-school approach to improving the quality of teaching and learning.

This Revision Revolution helps get the conversation started and is hopefully our contribution towards developing a love of learning, one small step towards social justice across the UK and further afield… 

 


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