Unlocking the Science of Learning

Staff development network

Dr Mark Dowley January 30th, 2024 · 2min read

The evidence

The evidence this week is a short video from Jared Cooney Horvath, an award-winning cognitive neuroscientist, best-selling author and renowned keynote speaker with expertise in human learning, memory, and brain stimulation.

Some select points to note:

  • All human beings learn in exactly the same way, just as all human beings digest similarly.
  • All human beings have a limit to the amount of information they can process. So we break it down into smaller steps.
  • Everyone starts with basic information and outputs deep critical thinking, not the other way around.
  • People think if you have autism or ADHD that changes the system of the brain. It does not. It may change the inputs required for learning.
  • He quotes Bruce F Pennington, the author of Diagnosing Learning Disorders: ‘Children with learning differences do not appear to need qualitatively different instructional approaches from typical learners. They may simply need more of it, broken into smaller steps, with more chances for practice and review.’

What this means:

  • Your school (and our profession) needs to move towards a shared understanding of the science of learning. Share science of learning articles with your staff and ask them to discuss.
  • Bring together your learning support team (or similar) and discuss how classroom teachers can best support students in a practical and realistic way.
  • Clarify what breaking skills down means. All teachers break skills down. Giving a clear direction, that ideally staff check for understanding at least once every two minutes, is more specific. In some schools it is upwards of six times per minute (more on this another week).
  • Increasing the number of checks for understanding in a lesson is a great goal to focus on with a coach.

Happy coaching,


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Staff development network

Dr Mark Dowley February 5th, 2024 · 2min read

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