Episode 25 - An Interview with Two Teachers

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Show Notes:

This is the fifth episode in a series recorded in London! In June 2018 we attended the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction conference (or, more simply, EARLI) for the special interest group on Neuroscience and Education (@EarliSIG22). While there, we recorded live interviews with teachers and researchers. 

In this episode, we speak to Ms. Amanda Triccas and Dr. Claire Badger at The Godolphin and Latymer School. Amanda was Yana's teacher in the 1990s, and we've reconnected recently around the science of learning.

Amanda has always worked in the private sector - usually in girls' schools - and a few years ago got into the science of learning. Claire's PhD is in Chemistry, and they both work at Godolphin and Latymer School for Girls. Amanda and Claire both got interested in the science of learning when Amanda found The Learning Scientists Twitter account and recognized Yana's name. For Claire, it was starting at the school with Amanda, and reading Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load by Clark, Nguyen, and Sweller.

We discuss how cognitive psychology can help teachers and students. Amanda mentions efficiency, and Claire mentions having more time for teachers to do things in the classroom by optimizing learning. We also discuss students' resistance to change, and teachers' fear of embarrassing themselves in front of students.

Claire and Amanda integrate strategies from cognitive psychology into their teaching, but they also explain their importance to their students, as well as to parents by providing them with the 6 strategies for effective learning posters.

As a Senior Teacher in Teaching and Learning, Claire set up a teaching-learning community based on ideas by Dylan William (see this White Paper). This allowed teachers who were interested in the science of learning to come together and explore theory and practice. This community soon grew to encompass virtually all the teachers in the school. Similarly, Claire has created student learning communities, though these require more guidance to avoid misunderstandings.

Amanda and Claire have some thoughts for how we can help. The illustrated work we've done with Oliver Caviglioli has been particularly useful, and they would like to see further resources produced for younger children. Claire also likes the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), which provides concrete examples of how strategies can be used in the classroom. She would like to see more comprehensive reviews and summaries of the literature, with suggestions for teachers and students.

Claire is currently pursuing her Masters in Learning and Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education.

Previous Episodes from this series:

Episode 26 - Classroom Noise and Learning with Jessica Massonnié

Episode 24 - The Golden Spiral of Lifelong Learning with Ignatius Gous