Attention Contagion
The Effortful Educator
by theeffortfuleducator
2M ago
As a teacher, you know about this phenomenon, but you probably didn’t know its name. Attention contagion. You’ve seen it in your classroom: one student is off task and that inattention seems to spread throughout the room. One student with their head down leads to three or four doing the same. One student off task on their laptop leads to a handful all doing the same. And, again, as a teacher we know this happens. But some recent research looked to see just how prevalent this phenomenon is. A study out of the University of Waterloo (1) took an in-depth look at attention contagion in the classro ..read more
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Learning Names and Modeling Spaced Retrieval Practice
The Effortful Educator
by theeffortfuleducator
6M ago
“There’s a lot of failure in success.” -me, obviously paraphrasing someone else that I cannot recall I said this to one of my classes on day two of modeling retrieval practice to learn their names. And, while I’m not big on all encompassing quotes, I do feel as though this represents an important aspect of what we want our students to understand about learning and memory.  I’ve been asked by teachers when and how I introduce facets of learning strategies to my students. So, here’s an answer to those inquiries. Of course, it’s tailored to my population (around 90 9th-12th grade students in ..read more
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Five Indirect Benefits of Testing
The Effortful Educator
by theeffortfuleducator
7M ago
Testing, in the form of low stakes assessment, is a widely utilized activity in most classrooms across the world. On the surface, there are somewhat direct benefits of formative assessment for the student. The ability to successfully retrieve information from memory overtly informs the student of what they know. And that is great information for both student and teacher to know. Obviously, knowing what you know is a pertinent part of the learning process. But, there are also more covert benefits of testing. Below are five indirect benefits of testing and assessment that are important to consid ..read more
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What Creativity Isn’t
The Effortful Educator
by theeffortfuleducator
8M ago
Recently, there was a thread on creativity on Twitter. As usual, it included Sir Ken Robinson’s TedTalk espousing that schools kill creativity. I am a full time teacher. I have been for 17 years. I disagree with Sir Ken’s opinion that lectures and traditional schooling styme creativity…as he lectures us through a TedTalk about the subject. Schools do not kill creativity…in fact, schools enable creativity. Schools are not the enemy. Traditional education is not the enemy. Lecturing is not the enemy. Creativity only occurs with a firm understanding of a specific domain of knowledge and schools s ..read more
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Three Things Your Ed Degree (possibly) Got Wrong
The Effortful Educator
by theeffortfuleducator
9M ago
I recently had about ten minutes in a content meeting to give a talk on really any subject I wanted. I waffled among retrieval practice, memory processing, spaced practice, et cetera, but ultimately settled on a quick, but focused, talk on myths of learning. And, since many teachers in my department are somewhat new to the profession, I titled it a little ‘attention grabbing’ or maybe just controversial…that is open to your interpretation.  So, I thought I’d also share the gist of my presentation with everyone. Now, please keep in mind that I only had about ten minutes, so this certainly ..read more
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A Conference (Almost) Like No Other in the US
The Effortful Educator
by theeffortfuleducator
9M ago
I recently attended and spoke at the inaugural USA Festival of Education at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland. It was a wonderful experience; well organized, incredible speakers (Dr. Daniel Willingham delivered the opening keynote), and a lovely venue. It was, by my estimation, a perfect example of how any and all conferences of education should be run. While I could spend the next few paragraphs telling you how wonderful the sessions I attended were…and they were great…I feel the need to convey a differing message to you. And, to be fair, I am echoing a similar message Zach G ..read more
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The SAR Method
The Effortful Educator
by theeffortfuleducator
10M ago
Sense → Attend → Rehearse  A more accessible understanding of memory and learning for the classroom and studying. I’ve been talking this week with my students about memory and learning. And, while I firmly believe this is a topic worthy of studying by all students in all subject areas, I am lucky enough to teach a course (AP Psychology) where this is part of the curriculum. Understanding how we learn via memory processing and understanding what this means for how we study is, in my opinion, of utmost importance to all learners and teachers. It seems criminal that so many students and teac ..read more
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Article Review: Pretesting Enhances Learning in the Classroom
The Effortful Educator
by theeffortfuleducator
11M ago
I am a teacher that absolutely loves to read research articles focusing on education. I just love it. And nothing spikes my inner nerd more than a well-written article studying a learning strategy that is directly applicable to my classroom and the students I teach. I was recently made aware of such an article (thank you, Brad Busch) by Drs. Nicholas Soderstrom and Elizabeth Bjork.The article, Pretesting Enhances Learning in the Classroom, takes a look at pretesting and its implication on learning. I have previously written about the pretesting effect here.  One reason I love this article ..read more
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Just A Little Bit Better
The Effortful Educator
by theeffortfuleducator
2y ago
Every new school year, I try to improve…to get just a little bit better. I find some aspect of teaching to really focus on and create new, ‘healthier’ classroom habits to assist with improving either my instruction, the classroom environment, or some other facet of teaching. In the past, I’ve honed in on student note taking ability or student self-assessment or implementation of spaced practice, to name a few. At the beginning of my teaching career, I tried to be better at everything at once…which, obviously, didn’t work out too well. All I learned was how to do a lot of things at a subpar lev ..read more
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What Do Teachers Need to Know About Memory?
The Effortful Educator
by theeffortfuleducator
2y ago
The following was originally written for Edutopia and published June 27, 2022. Find the original article here. One of the most important aspects of learning that might be least understood is human memory. We are tasked with passing on skills and knowledge to students—it’s the most important aspect of our job. Yet how many educators have earned degrees and teaching certificates without any mention of how memory works? How often is human memory a topic of a book study or professional development session? I earned my teaching degree 15 years ago and don’t remember one session of any class on the ..read more
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