Cognitive Psychology and Initial Teacher Education

The question is not whether these experts are well trained. It is whether their world is predictable.”

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow p.221

This is the first in a series of blogs I am writing about initial teacher education (ITE). Since July, I have been developing a programme for novice teachers, with the aim of using cognitive science to help them become experts faster.

For a new teacher, a classroom is a place of exceptionally high cognitive load. Hundreds of small decisions adding up to a successful lesson or an unsuccessful one.

Reducing the cognitive load allows new teachers to learn more quickly. One way to do this is to practice in a simplified, predictable environment – a training room. We are using Paul Bambrick’s  “Get Better Faster” programme, combined with Lemov’s “Teach Like a Champion” strategies to practise out of the classroom.

The idea is to make the classroom predictable: the solutions to everyday problems like getting students into the classroom and ready to learn become automatic, so that a teacher can learn faster.

The next blog is about solvign problems in the classroom.

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