Retrieval practice in a secondary English classroom

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
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-stake testing as a way to review previously learned material. If we do this regularly, we can effectively interrupt the pr

Join us or sign in now to view the rest of this page

You're viewing this site as a guest, which only allows you to view a limited amount of content.

To view this page and get access to all our resources, join the Chartered College of Teaching (it's free for trainee teachers and half price for NQTs) or log in if you're already a member.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. A
    Abul Kalam Aziz

    re-activating prior understanding helpful for tackling misconceptions is an added benefit to this research.

  2. A
    Angela Murphy

    Video models the use of retrieval practice embedded within a clear routine. Nice

  3. M
    Mrs Sally Ann Wilcher

    Very useful, similar in some aspects to Direct learning / teaching methods.

  4. B
    Bethany C Cutter

    After watching ‘An Introduction to Retrieval Practice’, this was a useful video to observe retrieval practice in action within an English setting.

  5. P
    Phillip Walker

    As part of an action research project I am undertaking during my training year, this is a useful reminder of how retrieval practice works well as a starter activity, and is how I am presenting my data collection method. Initially, my students completed a survey regarding their confidence relating to the subject (language and structural devices), followed by a series of daily starter quizzes with feedback, from which I processed the scores, After a time I tested the students on all they had learned regarding these devices, followed by a post test survey.

  6. L
    Lydia Marsh

    Good information and video which shows that a ‘do now’ activity at the beginning of a lesson is so important because it is an effective way of activating prior knowledge which will allow the teacher to more effectively build on this knowledge during the lesson

Leave a Reply

Screenshot 2019-09-24 at 10.16.00


Feedback in a primary classroom

When it comes to providing high quality feedback, we need to ensure that we are teaching responsively – actively eliciting evidence about our pupils’ learning


Feedback in secondary science

When it comes to providing high quality feedback, we need to ensure that we are teaching responsively – actively eliciting evidence about our pupils’ learning