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What if everything you knew about curriculum design was wrong?

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Using threshold concepts to design a curriculum - my slides from resaerchED's Secondary English & Literacy conference

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What if everything you knew about curriculum design was wrong?

  1. 1. David Didau researchED English & Literacy #rEDEng 7th November 2015
  2. 2. Research I’ve found useful • Bjork: Desirable difficulties (memory) • Meyer & Land: Threshold concepts (organisation) • Siegler: Overlapping waves (progress)
  3. 3. 3 predictions • Students will forget at a predictable rate • Students will get stuck at predictable points • Students will not make progress at a predictable rate
  4. 4. 3 problems • Learning is invisible • Learning is liminal • Learning is unpredictable
  5. 5. Learning is invisible • Learning is the long-term retention and transfer of knowledge and skills
  6. 6. Performance Learning
  7. 7. Onomatopoeia
  8. 8. The (New) Theory of Disuse Retrieval strength Storagestrength Your phone number Phone number Childhood address What you learn today
  9. 9. “As learning occurs, so does forgetting…”
  10. 10. Learning vs. performance • The higher the retrieval strength, the smaller the gains from additional study or practice • Forgetting creates the likelihood of increased learning • If learning is difficult, retrieval strength will decrease in the short term but will increase in the long term
  11. 11. Desirable difficulties – Spacing – Interleaving – Variability – Testing – Reducing & delaying feedback
  12. 12. Hermann Ebbinghaus, 1885 The spacing effect
  13. 13. The Testing Effect Which study pattern will result in the best test results? 1. STUDY STUDY STUDY STUDY – TEST 2. STUDY STUDY STUDY TEST – TEST 3. STUDY STUDY TEST TEST – TEST 4. STUDY TEST TEST TEST – TEST
  14. 14. Blocking vs interleaving Topic 1 Topic 2 Topic 3 Topic 4 Topic 5 Topic 6 Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6 But what should we interleave?
  15. 15. Learning is liminal Not knowing Knowing
  16. 16. What we think progress looks like Learning is messy
  17. 17. What it actually looks like
  18. 18. Overlapping waves theory 1. At any one time children think in a variety of ways 2. These varied ways of thinking compete with each other 3. Cognitive development involves gradual changes in the frequency of these ways of thinking, as well as the introduction of more advanced ways of thinking.
  19. 19. Threshold concepts in English • Understanding the relationship between grammar and meaning • Understanding the effect of context, both on writers and readers • Understanding the need to use supporting evidence for ideas • An awareness of the ways in which language can affect readers • Understanding how the structure of a text can produce different effects and meanings • Understanding that texts can be subjected to analysis to reveal a variety meanings.
  20. 20. Interleaving threshold concepts Writing WritingReading Awarenessofimpact Spelling,punctuation& grammar Structure&coherence Analysingtechnique Usingevidence Understandingcontext Awarenessofimpact Spelling,punctuation& grammar Structure&coherence Analysingtechnique Usingevidence Understandingcontext Awarenessofimpact Spelling,punctuation& grammar Structure&coherence Analysingtechnique Usingevidence Understandingcontext
  21. 21. The best of both worlds?
  22. 22. Key messages • Improving learning is more important than improving performance • Threshold concepts might help us space & interleave more effectively • The unpredictability students’ progress is predictable
  23. 23. @LearningSpy learningspy.co.uk ddidau@gmail.com

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