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The Importance of Forgetting

After the success and interest in our Teaching & Learning meeting on memory before Christmas, our Head of History agreed to run a second session, extending our understanding and thinking about Memory and Metacognition.

We looked in more depth at the way the brain works and how it processes information to store memories.

We discussed the importance of forgetting and, as teachers, the need to recognise that the best form of knowledge retrieval occurs when the students have allowed for some form of forgetting in their learning process.

We asked staff to consider how long they are leaving in between the time they teach the material in class and then when they assess the students knowledge. If assessment and retrieval of information should be space out over time when how long should we wait? And how much should we let them forget?

The below grid shows the optimal interval time.

And then finally we asked staff to reflect on how all of these ideas align with their current practice? We provided them with a template (below) from which to think about how they can adapt and try out some of the ideas suggested in their own lessons in the coming week.

Our staff are now taking those outcomes and ideas and embedding them into their planning between now and our next session, which in turn will allow for collaboration to occur when the feedback is giving. This RLC-style approach to the session is the direction that we want to encourage our exploration of research at Putney to go in and I'm already excited to hear what people tried and the results of those mini interventions.

For more information and reading on the topic of memory, see our comprehensive reference list below.

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