10 principles of effective learning

The 10 principles of effective learning and teaching (SEE LEFT/RIGHT/BELOW/OPPOSITE) have been drawn together by the TLRP team from evidence gained through their 22 schools projects. As we in Scotland continue down the road to a new curriculum and have a still fairly new Scottish Executive the 10th principle is all the more relevant for Scottish Education:

“Demands consistent policy frameworks with support for teaching and learning as their primary focus: Policies at national, local and institutional levels need to recognise the fundamental importance of teaching and learning. They should be designed to make sure everyone has access to learning environments in which they can thrive.”

The temptation for a new Scottish Executive to make its mark with increased intervention must be resisted. One of the biggest changes imaginable in any education system – wholesale review of the curriculum – is soon to take effect. To allow the change to be brought about as effectively as possible the switchover to the new curriculum should be accompanied by a ceasing, or at least a lull, in other new pressures on the system.

Neuroscience and education

If you are interested in the facts neuroscience has to offer in relation to learning then this is a must read. The opening paragraph of the document’s introduction succinctly summarises the purpose and the need for this gathering of research outputs:

“In a recent survey of teachers, almost 90% thought that knowledge of the brain was important, or very important, in the design of educational programmes. Indeed, for at least two decades, educational programmes claiming to be ‘brain-based’ have been flourishing in the UK. Unfortunately, these programmes have usually been produced without the involvement of neuroscientific expertise, are rarely evaluated in their effectiveness and are often unscientific in their approach.”

This publication makes a complex subject easy to understand and highlights inconsistencies between what is attributed to research and what the research really tells us. A prime example of this relates to promoting the drinking of water to aid concentration:

“The drinking of water has sometimes been promoted as a way to improve learning, usually on the basis that even small amounts of dehydration can reduce cognitive ability. There are very few studies investigating the effects of dehydration in children, but these few, together with adult studies, confirm the deleterious effect of even mild dehydration on our ability to think. However, a recent adult study has shown that drinking water when not thirsty can also diminish cognitive ability.”

Other sections covered in the publication include:

  • Brain Development
  • Brain Care
  • Neuroscience and developmental Disorders
  • Strategies for Teaching and Learning
  • The Future: Can Education, Neuroscience and Psychology Work Together?

Research briefings

Last but not least the pack also contains a range of useful research briefings. These include the following titles:

  • Supporting learning with ICT in pre-school settings
  • Enhancing primary literacy and mathematics through home-school knowledge exchange
  • The development of inclusive practices in schools
  • Building thinking skills in thinking classrooms
  • Effective pre-school and primary education: Findings from the pre-school period.
  • Consulting pupils about teaching and learning.

So, in summary, you will find something that interests you in this pack. It is well worth taking the time to have a look.