The aim of the CPD is for staff to develop an understanding of working memory and its role in learning, recognise behaviours associated with working memory difficulties and develop a toolkit of classroom-based strategies and interventions to support students and reduce working memory overload.
Working Memory is a cognitive system that stores, manipulates, filters, updates and processes information in the conscious mind for brief periods of time. It is limited in capacity and susceptible to rapid decay.
Children with poor working memory often struggle to achieve within the classroom. Research shows for every typical class of thirty children, three children will have working memory scores at or below the 10th centile. As such, this workshop is targeted at all teachers and support staff.
This workshop will:
provide an introduction to working memory: what it is, how it varies and what causes information to be lost from working memory
describe the main characteristics of children with poor working memory: behaviour, academic progress and the difficulties they face in classroom learning
describe a classroom-based approach designed to minimise working memory failures and enhance learning opportunities for children with working memory problems
Participants will leave the workshop with an overview of the different types of memory, an understanding of the ways in which working memory, in particular, affects learning, and strategies to reduce working memory overload.
90 -120 mins is recommended.
Science of Learning
The aim of the CPD is for staff to develop an understanding of how learning occurs, develop skills in evaluating teaching strategies for lesson planning, and enhance powers of reflection on lesson outcomes regarding how and why learning did (or did not) take place.
Understanding how learning occurs and how teaching can foster learning is fundamental for effective teaching. The science of learning (SoL) does not provide any prescription. Instead, it offers a set of concepts that can provide a fascinating insight into the processes that underlie classroom learning. An understanding of SoL enables a teacher to deepen their evaluation of classroom practice and learning beyond performative observation.
The new Education Inspection Framework, ITT Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework have all been informed by cognitive science, particularly by cognitive neuropsychology with an emphasis on learning as memory.
During the session, staff will gain an overview of key SoL concepts developed around the themes of Engagement for learning, Building knowledge and understanding, and Consolidating learning. Building on this understanding of how learning works rather than just ‘what works’, staff will be introduced to current influential strategies for learning. Staff will be encouraged to apply their understanding of the SoL concepts to these approaches and reflect upon the relative strengths and weaknesses of the strategies in different contexts.
120 mins is recommended.
Learning for the Long Term
The aim of the CPD is for staff to develop an understanding of the science of learning and the relationship between learning and long-term memory, and build a critical awareness of currently high-profile educational practices recommended for long-term learning.
For classroom-learning to be durable, students must have opportunities to build and strengthen connections between prior knowledge and new learning. This process requires
Preparation, Practice and Planning
Peer-reviewed neurological, psychological and school-based observational research suggests learning is most durable when classroom practice and planning provide the opportunity to:
Activate prior knowledge and explicitly connect to new learning
Reduce cognitive load to free up processing capacity in working memory
Practice retrieving prior learning in multiple forms to increase connectivity
Ensure students understand the benefits of effortful retrieval practice
Encourage students to persevere with effortful recall
Space time between units of learning and return to those units over planned intervals
Establish high expectations from teachers and students that new learning can become secure and accessible long-term, given appropriate practice and recall.
During the session, staff will develop an overview of the key concepts of the science of learning, understand the role of working memory, the hippocampus and brain plasticity, and build a deeper understanding of currently high-profile educational practices recommended for long-term learning. Staff will be encouraged to reflect upon and evaluate their own practice and planning within the classroom, across the department or faculty, and the wider school community.
120 - 150 mins is recommended.
This CPD can also be provided as a set of 7-week x 20-minute presentations enabling time for staff discussion immediately after or between each session.