MyCollege Logo

From the editor

PROFESSOR BECKY FRANCIS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, EDUCATION ENDOWMENT FOUNDATION, UK There’s no doubt that schools today are in a much better position to judge what is most likely to work in their classrooms than they were 10 years ago. We have access to more robust evidence than ever, which gives us valuable information about which pedagogical […]

Lightening the load: Integrating cognitive load, schema theory and progression mapping in the primary classroom


Professional knowledge and research-informed practice: Time for a rethink?

GEMMA MOSS, PROFESSOR OF LITERACY AND DIRECTOR OF ESRC EDUCATION RESEARCH PROGRAMME, UCL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION, UK RACHEL FRANCE, RESEARCH FELLOW, ESRC EDUCATION RESEARCH PROGRAMME, UCL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION, UK Research-informed practice in England The concepts of evidence-based and research-informed practice have become increasingly central to school improvement in England. With its origins in evidence-based […]

The case for direct instruction

MARCY STEIN, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, USA KRISTEN ROLF, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY, USA For over 50 years, the best way to educate children has been heatedly debated by those who favour what might be described as ‘teacher-directed instruction’ and those who favour ‘student-centred instruction’.  In this article, we contend that Direct Instruction […]

Developing metacognition and higher-order thinking in A-level studies

DEBBIE BOGARD, CITY AND ISLINGTON SIXTH FORM COLLEGE, UK  ALEX MELVILLE, LEYTON SIXTH FORM COLLEGE, UK  NEELAM PATEL, ST MARY MAGDALENE ACADEMY, UK Why metacognition in A-level study? A-levels are simultaneously intellectually demanding, given the range of higher-order skills involved, and extremely challenging, given the vast amount of content that needs to be covered. Our […]

Developing approaches to writing in the secondary English classroom

Lin Goram, English Subject Development Lead, Teach First, UK Writing and the National Curriculum for English Reading and writing are given broadly equal emphasis in the most recent iteration of the National Curriculum for English (DfE, 2014). But the two are positioned differently. The National Curriculum recommends that cultural, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual development […]

Perceptions of risky play in early childhood education

NICOLA PEARCE, EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR, EDGE HILL UNIVERSITY, UK Theoretical framework Risky play in early childhood education is a concept that has seen a recent rise in popularity but remains a relatively new research area. Play is often defined as ‘risky’ based on the characteristics of where or how children play – at heights or […]

A metacognitive approach to developing creativity

Dr Jonathan Firth, University of Strathclyde, UK Dr Claire Badger, The Godolphin and Latymer School, UK Background Creativity is widely considered to be a vital skill in education. It sits at the pinnacle of the revised Bloom’s taxonomy of skills (Anderson et al., 2001) and has been recognised as important across all curriculum areas (van […]

Early Years teachers’ perspectives on their pedagogies of play and mathematics

DR ELIZABETH CARRUTHERS, FORMER HEADTEACHER, UK This research was part of my doctoral thesis on the pedagogy of children’s mathematical graphics (Carruthers, 2022), funded by the Martin Hughes Memorial Trust, Bristol University. The overall aim of this section of the study was to capture teachers’ perspectives as they reflect on their pedagogies of mathematical play. […]

Can we ever have ‘equity and equality’ in secondary digital education?

DAVID GREENSHIELDS FCCT, VICE PRINCIPAL, GRACE COLLEGE, UK The COVID-19 pandemic, including the closure of schools within many Western nations in the spring of 2020, has accelerated the shift towards and heightened the awareness of many educational organisations in relation to digital learning environments and technologies, and this has persisted throughout the period of schools […]

Leveraging homework for effective learning: Exploring the benefits of spaced and interleaved practice

ANDREW B. JONES, ASSISTANT HEADTEACHER, THE REACH FREE SCHOOL, UK; PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAD, THE WATFORD PARTNERSHIP FOR TEACHER TRAINING, UK  Over the past decade, researchers have gained a better understanding of spaced and interleaved practice as effective strategies for enhancing retention and retrieval performance (Bjork and Bjork, 2019; Brunmair and Richter, 2019; Donoghue and Hattie, […]

Modelling examples under the visualiser

DAVE TUSHINGHAM, LEAD PRACTITIONER MATHEMATICS, THE GREENSHAW LEARNING TRUST, UK Teaching in the pandemic In March 2020, immediate and urgent change to our pedagogical approaches was needed as the world went into lockdown. For most students, learning now largely took place online. For teachers like myself, live ‘performance’ in the classroom was replaced with practice […]

Using faded worked examples in Chemistry to reduce extraneous cognitive load

DEEPIKA NARULA, ST ALBANS SCHOOL,UK Worked examples play a vital role between the teacher instruction and independent practice, and serve the purpose of scaffolding for students to experience guided practice. Since learning more about Cognitive Load Theory (CLT), I realised the A-level Chemistry course has many areas where the intrinsic load or the number of elements […]

Should devices replace paper? The student experience

Andrew P. Brower Latz, The Manchester Grammar School, UK Aims The aim of this research, undertaken in 2021–22, was to discover the views of students in my school about their experience of blended learning using Microsoft Surfaces and associated software (especially Teams). Their views were sought via a questionnaire, filled in by students in December […]

Children’s learning through peer-modelling to a Year 6 mathematics class

SIDRA SAEED AND HUW HUMPHREYS, DEPARTMENT OF TEACHER EDUCATION, SCHOOL OF EDUCATION AND COMMUNITIES, UNIVERSITY OF EAST LONDON, UK Introduction: Context and research focus How children respond to each other as learners through feedback is well established (Topping et al., 2003; Boon, 2016; Feil, 2021); less is known about how children learn from peer-modelling (Ohtani […]

How effective is retrieval practice as an intervention in Key Stage 4 Geography?

JULIAN CARRERA, HEAD OF GEOGRAPHY, THE JOHN LYON SCHOOL, UK What is so special about retrieval practice? If ‘Memory is the residue of thought’ (Willingham, 2009, cited in Sherrington, 2021), then retrieval practice must be at the heart of teaching and learning. Coe (2019) commented that ‘Retrieval practice is strongly supported by over 100 years […]

Before retrieval practice, do not overlook pretesting and metacognition

Kristian Still, Deputy Headteacher, Boundary Oak School, UK Over the last decade, an extensive body of literature on the benefits of testing (Roediger et al., 2011) has become connected with and articulated through the language and conceptual toolkit of cognitive science. The evidence is clear: testing or retrieval practice raises pupil achievement (Perry et al., […]

Applying the science of learning in secondary school classrooms: A case study of a ‘psychology for learning’ course for Year 9 students

Purvi Gandhi, Head of Psychology, Trent College, UK Deb Outhwaite, Director, Derbyshire Teaching Schools Alliance (DTSA), UK Introduction The science of learning provides valuable insights into information processing and retention, yet applying this knowledge to classroom practice remains a challenge. Understanding how students learn can help teachers to improve practice and empower students to enhance […]