Fascinated by learning, thinking, teaching and edtech. Insatiable coffee drinker. Teaching books available on Amazon.

Six years ago, I was regularly delivering ‘learning styles’ training sessions, until the day I found out that they don’t exist.

I felt like a complete moron.

I’d been wasting everyone’s time by encouraging practices based on a theory that’s as scientifically valid as astrology.

Admitting it and eating humble…

And how can it improve the way you learn?

Cognitive load theory explains how we process and remember information, and how too much (or too complex) information is harmful to learning. Here’s how we can manage cognitive load in our lessons, and 5 principles to reduce cognitive load for our students.

As teachers, cognitive load theory is a key…

And how can they make learning visible in the classroom?

A thinking routine is a short series of steps that guides your thought process. They’re simple and easy to use. Best of all, encouraging students to use them regularly will lead to them growing in confidence, improving critical thinking, and more open discussions.

So What Exactly are Thinking Routines?

When we talk about routines in the…

Don’t rely on luck and conscientious students.

Photo by Cora Leach on Unsplash

How will you know your students are learning?

If your plan goes perfectly, it’s still possible that they don’t learn a thing.

Smiles, student activity, student confidence and engagement — none of these mean students are actually learning.

When you’re planning, think about what evidence you’ll need to see or…

Without a ‘gap’ there’s no reason to communicate.

Students need to have a reason to communicate. Sure, they’ll talk if you tell them to (“discuss the topic with your partner!”) but it won’t be as engaging without a reason. It won’t be ‘genuine communication’.

To make an activity resemble real life, you need a ‘gap’.

So what is…

A lesson is just a series of decisions.

Teaching is a series of decisions we make to help students learn. Some decisions are made by the syllabus or school, but the majority are made by us, the teachers.

We make a huge number of decisions every day, with some researchers reporting that teachers make 0.7 decisions per minute…

Setting the context is essential, but which one?

Don’t fall into the trap of always choosing a realistic context.

Yes, it’s easier to pick (you just think about a situation from real life), but it gets boring for you and your students.

I have a friend who describes this as the ‘tyranny of context’, and he’s not wrong.

David Weller

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