Four ways cognitive load theory has changed my teaching

Filling the pail


I am going to describe some ways that knowledge of cognitive load theory (CLT) has changed how I teach. Prior to learning about CLT, I used what I have previously termed ‘default teacher led instruction’. I stood at the front and explained things but it was not an optimal form of explicit instruction. On the positive side, I had developed good classroom management over time and, since the mid 2000s, I had implemented some of Dylan Wiliam’s formative assessment techniques. This was, on reflection, an excellent basis for learning about CLT.

I am going to write in the context of my maths teaching because this provides the clearest examples. Maths is also an area that has been heavily targeted in CLT research. However, I have been involved in transferring these ideas to other subjects and have always found such transfer to be complicated but possible – again this mirrors…

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