Best Practice

Think, McFly, Think! Get pupils thinking with the generation effect

Put simply, the generation effect refers to the idea that knowledge will be better remembered if it is ‘generated’ via cues rather than simply read. Andrew Jones takes a deeper look...

In the Back to the Future trilogy, whenever the oversized bully Biff Tannen demands "thinking", he repeatedly raps his victim, the hapless George McFly, on the head with his closed fist as if he were knocking on a door, shouting, "Hello? Hello? Anybody home?!", followed by: “Hey, think, McFly, think.”

I am sure there are better ways of getting someone to think, although I have not actually tried Tannen’s strategy with my pupils. There are clearly some teaching and learning strategies that get pupils to do this better than others.

For instance, Doug Lemov (2015) argues that we should endeavour to increase the “thinking ratio” in learning activities.

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