You might have noticed that when you’re talking to someone, it’s often difficult to maintain eye contact. Teachers might have noticed that when children are addressing the class or attempting to answer a challenging question, they will avert their gaze away from their audience. Psychologists call this behaviour gaze aversion and it’s thought to serveContinue reading The Importance of Looking Away
(Adapted from Becoming Buoyant, 2020, Chapter 5) Do you like popcorn? For the sake of argument let’s assume that you do. Not only do you like popcorn, you are also an avid cinema goer and like nothing more than a large tub of popcorn to enhance the experience. This is a routine that operates likeContinue reading Creating Good Habits
Collaborative learning can be described as two or more learners actively pursuing and contributing to a shared goal, or trying to share the effort required to reach that goal. It has become a mainstay of educational practice. During my time as a teacher there was always an expectation that most lessons would involve some elementContinue reading Collaborative learning and Cognitive load
(Adapted from Chapter 3 of The Emotional Learner, 2017) In The Emotional Learner I presented the hypothesis that some emotions help towards the achievement of academic goals by expanding our thought processes and allowing us to invest in psychological capital. Other emotions, on the other hand, restrict these options, leading us into either-or situations (theContinue reading The problem with positive & negative emotions
I’ve stated elsewhere that working memory is limited and that these limitations can hamper our ability to learn new things and carry out complex tasks. I’m implying here that learning and remembering are either the same or very similar, so I’m referring to learning in a rather narrow way, but stay with me on this.Continue reading Cognitive load and cognitive offloading
In his 2019 review of twenty years of Cognitive Load Theory, John Sweller explores several avenues of further investigation. One such avenue relates to emotions, stress and uncertainty and how these factors influence cognitive load. Within the education community aspects of cognition in learning are often starkly separated from seemingly non-cognitive factors. Curiously, the formerContinue reading Cognitive Load, emotion and buoyancy
According to Soderstrom and Bjork, latent learning refers to “learning that occurs in the absence of any obvious reinforcement or noticeable behavioural changes” (Soderstrom and Bjork, 2015 p177). Most often associated with the work of Edward Tolman in the 1930s, latent learning is viewed as hidden (or behaviourally silent) because it is only when reinforcementContinue reading What is Latent learning?
The answer to this question is both very simple and incredibly complex. Simple because it’s very straightforward to demonstrate working memory in action; complex because to fully grasp the nature of working memory we really need to understand how it’s related to other types of memory. Let us then get the easy explanation out ofContinue reading What is Working Memory?
I’ve written elsewhere about how British psychologists at the MRC Applied Psychology Unit, now the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, worked with the British Post Office to design the most memorable system of postcodes in the world. The Unit was also involved in other projects for the Post Office, primarily concerned with changes takingContinue reading Learning: The importance of timing
The role of testing in education is always going to divide opinion. My position on the matter had always been clear, in that regular low stakes tests or quizzes not only aid learning but also reduce test anxiety by normalising something that, in essence, isn’t normal. Test anxiety is, in part, the result of theContinue reading regular testing improves outcomes