Best Practice

The process of learning: Improving how students learn (part 2)

In the second part of his series on how students learn and the practical implications for teachers and teaching, Matt Bromley continues to explain the process of learning, discusses the secrets to accessing pupils’ long-term memories and offers three steps to improving the learning process

In the first part of this series on “how to learn”, I attempted to answer the question, What is learning?
Although it’s a simple question, it is not easy to answer because learning is multi-faceted. Some forms of learning, like learning to ride a bike, are immediate and observable but other types of learning are neither of these things. A pupil’s immediate demonstration of knowledge or skill could be mere performance, mimicry rather than mastery.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with mimicry if it helps a pupil pass a test and get a qualification but, assuming we want to do more than teach to the test and assuming we regard education as something meaningful and life-long, a way of becoming an engaged and active citizen, and an inquisitive, cultured adult, then surely we must aim to move beyond mimicry and towards mastery.

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