Category Archives: Psychology for teachers

No, don’t forget everything we know about memory

With a renewed interest in cognitive science within teaching, are we in risk of “conflating hypothetical models with proven neuroscience since accepted facts can quickly become ‘neuro-myths’ when new research contradicts popular theories” as Ellie Mulcahy warns in “Forgetting everything we know … Continue reading

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Attachment Theory: Why teachers shouldn’t get too excited about it.

John Bowlby: Attachment theory The British psychologist John Bowlby is fairly synonymous with attachment theory. From his clinical work with ‘juvenile delinquents’ over the course of World War II be began formulating ideas about the role of early and prolonged … Continue reading

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Germane load: The right kind of mental effort?

Despite our vast capacity to hold information in long term memory; our working memory is extremely limited and becomes overloaded very easily. Greater insight into these problems and some practical ideas about what to do about them comes from the … Continue reading

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Psychology of behaviour management (part 3)

In the last posts, I briefly examined some of the key ideas and limitations of offering rewards and sanctions, and restorative approaches. Both of these tackle the issue of behaviour at an individual level; in this post I want to … Continue reading

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The psychology of behaviour management (part 2)

A frequent observation in schools is that the same children tend to end up in detention over and over again. The belief that ‘punitive’ approaches to school discipline were proving ineffective or even counter-productive has led to an interest in … Continue reading

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The psychology of behaviour management (part 1)

The topic of behaviour management and the problems teachers face in dealing with disruption to lessons continues to evoke strong argument within the profession. The extent of the problem was explored in a 2014 paper by Terry Haydn which argued … Continue reading

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Is teaching a ‘natural ability’?

What characteristics does a teacher need to be effective? The answer appears to be elusive as various reviews find that most teacher characteristics appear to have only marginal impact on student attainment. For example, looking at maths teaching Rockoff et al (2004) … Continue reading

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Perpetual motion machines do not exist

Robert Fludd’s description of a perpetual motion machine from the 17th Century. The idea involved water held in a tank above the apparatus driving a water wheel which, through a complex set of gears, rotate an Archimedes screw which draws … Continue reading

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The science of learning

Here’s a really clear, short and applicable summary of the key areas of cognitive science which can be applied to the classroom: The Science of Learning The summary looks at six questions about learning, giving a quick summary of the science … Continue reading

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Has the marshmallow melted? Interventions involving executive functioning may have little effect.

What are executive functions? Executive functioning is, in some ways, a pesky cognitive ability to define as it’s implicated in so many different functions. It’s a hypothesised capacity for things like problem solving, reasoning, planning and organisation, inhibiting action or … Continue reading

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