Cognitive Psychology in the History Classroom – An Introduction

In January of this year, we were lucky enough to hear a presentation from Dr. Yana Weinstein from the University of Massachusetts (@doctorwhy) and Dr. Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel from the University of Dundee (@pimpmymemory), both from the organisation  The Learning Scientists. We heard them give a talk about six strategies to help students develop their long-term memory. These strategies were:

  • Dual coding;
  • Retrieval practice;
  • Elaboration;
  • Interleaving;
  • Spaced practice; and
  • Concrete examples.

We were very impressed.

What made Weinstein and Kuepper-Tetzel’s presentation different was the fact that, unlike so many of the fads and fashions teachers have been encouraged to take up, what they were saying was based upon actual scientific research.

This is not the place for us to (badly) rehash their work. If you want to know more about what these techniques are and their background, we heartily recommend you visit The Learning Scientists’ website.

This is, however, the place to discuss the opportunities and difficulties faced by history teachers in applying their work. With that in mind, we intend to post some blogs about cognitive psychology in the history classroom based around these six techniques.

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