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Teaching Issues

Planning and teaching 2016 GCSE to make learning stick


The 2016 GCSE are content heavy. Fact.

To ensure that teachers cover all of this content well, there will be less time at the end of the two years to be able to re-visit and revise.

So what do we do? How should we go about planning and teaching 2016 GCSE to make learning stick?

There is a compelling case that teacher’s should build revision in rather than bolt it on. This could strengthen student’s ability to remember and recall the knowledge they need.

Ebbinghaus and the Forgetting curve

EbbinghausGerman Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus came up with the forgetting curve in the late 19th century. Ebbinghaus showed how memory  is lost over time when there is no attempt to retain previously learnt information.

Some believe that up to 90% of what is learnt could be lost without further follow up work.

Ebbinghaus argued the need to re-visit information regularly if one wants to remember it and make ‘sticky’ strong memories.

Apparently, the more ‘over-learning’ takes place, the longer the gaps are needed between the re-visiting of this information.

Others have argued that the strength of memory could vary depending on how memorable the first learning of the information actually is. So many remember shocking events such as 9/11 or the assassination of Kennedy.

What does this mean for 2016 GCSE: Teaching

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About the author
Richard McFahn
Founder of History Resource Cupboard, Richard has worked for 20 years as a history teacher, subject and senior leader, Advanced Skills Teacher, local authority adviser and history ITE tutor.

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