Casting a spotlight on avoiding overloading ‘working memory’ in the classroom

Casting a spotlight on avoiding overloading ‘working memory’ in the classroom

Mr William Bohanna, Senior Teacher (Teaching & Learning)

Woldingham’s Teaching & Learning Committee receives lots of great ideas about new teaching initiatives and approaches, often following a staff member’s attendance on a course. As well as discussing these at staff meetings, the committee decided to produce a termly Teaching & Learning Spotlight paper for teaching staff. The objective of each ‘semi academic’ paper is to present teachers with some of the background research and insights into how to use the theory/approach in the classroom in a practical way.

Following an inset I attended earlier this year, I wrote the first paper, which looks at Cognitive Load Theory (CLT).  First researched by John Sweller (1998), CLT is based around the idea that our working memory – the part of our mind that processes what we are currently doing – can only deal with a limited amount of information at one time. This has many interesting implications for the classroom here at Woldingham.