The Retention Toolkit: Introduction

In this series of posts, I look at research into how the human mind gains, and more importantly, retains knowledge. Most of these methods have been used for hundreds of years, some beyond that, simply because they made logical sense to educators in the past. Cognitive science is now confirming what the great teachers of the past reasoned to be true.

Like any toolkit, not every tool will be appropriate for every job. By compiling a list of tools here, you can pick and choose from amongst them when asking yourself how best to approach a subject. I cannot claim this list is exhaustive, but any time I find a new retention tool in my research, I will post about it and link it into this series.

  1. Retrieval Practice: Why test-enhanced learning outperforms other commonly used study methods.
  2. Spacing Effect: Timing is everything when it comes to maximizing the retention to study time ratio
  3. Hooks: Content vs. Skill Centered Approaches:  What cognitive science has to say
  4. Flow: A brain state of effortless learning and retention
  5. Wrap-Up and Application Ideas: How to choose the right tool for the job, and a call for examples from readers

klsgfx-Swiss-Army-Knife-2You will recognize posts  in this series by this icon.

(Yes, yes, I know most people start with the introduction, and then begin the series, but you’ll have to excuse a new blogger’s enthusiasm to jump immediately into the deep end!)

A Final Thought

thoughts-551263_640This is a beautiful picture, but not an accurate one.  We are not machines, and neither are children.  As Charlotte Mason says,

“Children are born persons.”

Construct your curriculum by keeping in mind that children are human beings capable of reason.  Efficiency is not our highest purpose,  though it can be really helpful as a tool and planning element.

2 thoughts on “The Retention Toolkit: Introduction”

  1. I’m looking forward to the “Flow” and “Application” articles.

    I’m really enjoying this series and am using it as a basis for how to best “teach in my cave”. For choosing what, when, and how. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I find these so helpful to know where I should direct my focus.

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