Science of Learning

Staff development network

Dr Mark Dowley March 13th, 2024 · 2min read

The evidence

The evidence this week is the contrast between the latest research into the science of learning and existing educational policy. It’s beautifully written by Trista Jha from the Centre for Independent Studies. If you want to understand the Australian educational context, I highly recommend you take a deeper look.

Key points

The teaching approach best supported by the evidence is explicit instruction of a well-sequenced, knowledge-focused curriculum – T. Jha (I love this sentence).

• Educators and policy makers would benefit from an understanding of: Biologically primary and secondary knowledge, domain-specific and domain-general skills, working and long-term memory, and cognitive load theory.

• Great teaching would include:

  • Careful ordering of curriculum sequences.
  • Explanation of information in small steps with modelling, worked examples and practice (Rosenshine was onto something).
  • Checking for all students’ understanding.
  • Regular review to prevent forgetting.

Read the full article here

What you can do

  • Explicitly teach your colleagues important concepts from the science of learning. These could include:

Before your next meeting:

  1. Ask your team to listen to the John Sweller podcast or read a chapter from Ollie Lovell’s Cognitive Load Theory in Action.
  2. Discuss the implication for the teaching quality in your school.
  3. Ask what teaching practices we should do less regularly, in order to make time for evidence informed instruction.


Happy coaching,


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