Let’s Think, Retrieval Practice, Elaboration and Dialogue

My recent experiences in the classroom, reading research literature  and hearing other ideas  in the twitter environment has made me think a lot about how I should go about trying to link Let’s Think, Dialogical Education for concept development and the messages coming from the Learning Scientists

My goal is to get clear about how to use Concrete preparation combined with Retrieval Practice and immediately use metacognition discussions at the start and end of a Let’s Think or Dialogical Education style lesson. For clarification Let’s Think lessons have the immediate goal of cognitive acceleration: They are not teaching concept or content learning, whereas the ideas of Dialogic Education use the principles developed by Philosophy for Children, amongst other ideas,  in a subject based concept devleopment.

Quoting Dylan William in https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/memories-are-made

“Frequent testing has an additional benefit, which is that successfully retrieving something from memory increases storage strength, and the harder something is to retrieve, the greater the increase in storage strength. The best time to do practice testing is just as students are beginning to forget things.”

The Learning Scientists have made accessible the efficacy of Retrieval practice and Elaboration as key learning factors. I am understanding “testing” in terms of individual silent oral or written recall then followed by groups combining this recall and elaborating on each others ideas. This needs strong teacher led guidlines . Testing will happen at many time during a lesson and this of course will help the focus on epistemic check points.

These may be epistemic dialogues such as :

OK what do we all agree on at this stage?

Why do I think this is the best inference to explain these observations?

What are are main open questions we have not agreed  on?

Do we agree that we disagree on why this happens?

Do we see there are two main theories about this?

I think this is where the concept of Epistmic Inquiry really has great efficacy.  This is where personal engagement and meaning really start to happen. However this does not mean we as Teachers are passive or only Guide on the side during the development and answering of these questions .

This group social construction will move into elaboration of the ideas covered so far again strongly teacher led. I am boring myself  and others maybe because many assume constructivism means something wishy washy. It is not and this is badly understood.

Social constructivism is strongly teacher led  and can combined many so called traditional teaching strategies.

For instance I can see also  many opportunities for dual coding in the bridging phases that LT suggest as a lesson flow. Group small whiteboard presentation, individual or group oral reporting back etc etc.

My overall  metacogniton questions are  about how to unify the vast insights that  Lipman, Piaget, Vygotsky, Mercer, Wegeriff and Phillipson  and the 6 principles that the Learning Scientists have given us. How do these suggest how they can be welded into lessons, units and curriculum structure that enhances all of the things we think we know about good learning?

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