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Marking, Buckets, & that Cognitive Load Theory question

25 March 2019

Another milestone for Teacher Tapp this week: 3,700 users on one day! The drive for 5,000 continues at pace. Keep sharing widely. Tapping alone is less fun than tapping with others 🙂

Marking vs Homework Club

Did you do any marking over the weekend? There are almost half a million teachers in England and by our estimates (accounting for SLT who mark infrequently, if at all) you are currently marking about 1.7 millions hours a week! Some of you mark more than others, of course…

But why are you marking? To help students learn, or because you have to?

We’ve often asked how much marking you would drop if you knew no-one was monitoring you. Those who mark more often, tend to tell us you would happily drop a little more of it than others. We’ve done some rough calculations and we think the teaching profession could save about 750,000 hours a week if they only marked the bits they believe really help students learn!

Alternatively we could trade the time spent marking for something that might be more productive for student learning. For example, homework clubs…

Who is keen to do this? There weren’t big differences by subject or by whether you have kids yourself and want to escape the building quickly. Those doing the most marking obviously are most happy to trade.

More importantly, those who believe their marking has little to do with learning are also most keen to trade.

Buckets in buildings

We were amazed that two-in-five of you have a bucket somewhere in school catching a leak. Is this a good indication that lack of capital funding is starting to present a severe problem? Well, actually, most of you feel your buildings are in an OK state of repair, especially those who are in newer buildings.

Hence: a lack of a bucket is a sign that all is well, but a bucket doesn’t necessarily mean the building is utterly falling apart.

There are emerging issues with infrastructure that can impact on teaching, however. For example, the chances of you going to a computer suite and having every computer work is pretty low.

If the education secretary is serious that he wants more EdTech in schools, he needs to explain how schools are supposed to have the computers on which to run that tech!

Cognitive what?

On Wednesday we asked two factual questions to test your knowledge of Cognitive Load Theory.

17% of you got both questions correct. A further 27% of you couldn’t correctly identify the three ‘loads’ describing in the theory as being intrinsic, extraneous and germane, but did answer correctly that extraneous load should be minimised. (Just 2% who could identify the 3 loads didn’t know that extraneous should be minimised.)

Most of the studies of cognitive load theory have been in mathematics so it was unsurprising to see so many maths teachers have been reading about them.

We’ll write more about these findings in a separate blog, but it is great to see that so many of you believe that learning about cognitive psychology could help inform your classroom teaching.

We wondered whether those of you who had struggled with the CLT questions would be more likely to brush up your knowledge by reading the tip that day. Turns out not – 39% of those who got the CLT questions correct read the CLT article, compared to just 26% who got the CLT questions incorrect.

Keep reading the tips!

Speaking of which, here are the tips for last week …

Growth mindset: the evidence

Synthetic Phonics: a primer

Mode A or Mode B Homework

Interleaving, or Interweaving? A Concrete Example

Cognitive Load Theory: A primer

How to differentiate without a teaching assistant