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Retrieval practice in a primary classroom
To help our pupils learn, we need to consider an important question: how can we ensure that information is transferred to long-term memory and stays there? A number of experiments following Hermann Ebbinghaus’ study on memory and forgetting in the late 19th century have found that new learning is very quickly forgotten. Therefore, a central challenge to improving the way we learn is in finding a way to interrupt the process of forgetting. Retrieval describes the process of bringing something to the front of your mind, from your long-term memory into your working memory for active processing. Imagine racking your brain, trying to remember the answer to a question that you are sure you know. It is this process of thinking hard to try and recall information that strengthens memory and learning. In the classroom, retrieval practice most commonly takes the form of low-stakes testing as a way to review previously learned material. If we do this regularly, we can effectively interrupt th
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