Cognitive Load Theory rests on the principle that teaching is most effective when we present new material in parts small enough to avoid overloading the brain’s working memory, yet maintaining the necessary challenge for learners to ‘think hard’. Do your teachers have this balance right? How do we get this balance right?
We must recognise that background knowledge WINS every time. Teaching is far more effective when a class of students have the expected background knowledge already in place and teachers know what their background knowledge is. Do your teachers know if their children have the expected background knowledge in place? How?
To get the balance right, leaders should provide teachers with an accurate and detailed sequence of learning that is pre-agreed, transparently accessible and easy to implement. Often leaders just ask for ‘better teaching’ from whatever background knowledge the teacher is faced with rather than presenting them with an advanced curriculum design. Have leaders provided staff with a small step curriculum?
Breaking down the broader purpose of a curriculum into a learning journey with a high-enough resolution to make this a reality, and that can be sustained in the learner’s experience over time, is itself a time-consuming process. Curriculum design requires advanced pedagogical content knowledge. Do your curriculum leaders have this knowledge?