Retrieval Practice

Teaching and Learning is continually evolving. Here at Newdale, we make sure that the lessons that we deliver to our pupils draws from the most recent evidence about how pupils learn and retain knowledge in their long term memory, how pupils build connections between their learning and how they are able to apply their knowledge into their lives.

To enable our staff to do this, we focus on research from cognitive science; this is the understanding of the mind and how it works to solve everyday tasks.

One of the learning strategies we are using is retrieval practice. Retrieval practice refers to the act of recalling content that has previously been learnt by the pupils. By doing this, pupils strengthen and deepen their knowledge which they have learnt previously.  We talk to our pupils about what they are learning, not what they are ‘doing’.

Retrieval practice supports our pupils with developing an deeper understanding of their knowledge in each subject. As a result of this, they can analyse content and make links between concepts.

The aspiration for our pupils is that they become increasingly aware of the importance of revisiting their learning and can identify the concepts which have been delivered, along with a deep knowledge of what has been taught.  The resources that we use to do this are designed to support with this and are intended to be used as a low-stakes learning strategy, not a test! This allows our pupils to reflect on their areas of strength and identify the gaps in their knowledge where additional practice would be beneficial.

Here are some examples of our pupils retrieving their prior learning:

We are using these resources across the curriculum. Alongside the retrieval practice, we are ensuring that the essential learning is captured in Knowledge organisers. Knowledge organisers set out the essential learning that pupils will learn and key vocabulary. These are shared with our pupils and continually referred to throughout the learning experience.

Here are some examples of our knowledge organisers in action:

Please continue to support your child’s learning by asking them what they are learning in school. As we know, children will often tell you what they are ‘doing’ in school. Sometimes, your child may find some aspects of recall tricky. These are known as ‘desirable difficulties’, which means that an adequate balance of success and challenge results in improved long-term memory retention.