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Radical new approach to teaching

posted 4 Dec 2017, 02:17 by Timothy Williams   [ updated 4 Dec 2017, 02:17 ]
A radical new approach to teaching is set to transform achievement at an Edmonton school.
Olenga Ossembe, lead practitioner at Nightingale Academy, has carried out extensive research into the science of memory and the best ways to retain information. As a result, he is overhauling teaching at the school with a focus on knowledge recall and memory tricks.
Mr Ossembe, a science teacher who specialises in cognitive science, said: “The issue we found is students devote time to after-school clubs and Saturday schools and do their very best, but that isn’t necessarily reflected in their results at the end of the year. “So, it got me thinking about what the issue might be.”
Research found that at some schools there was no link between knowledge delivery and knowledge recall. While students believed they knew a subject well, their test results did not reflect that. Mr Ossembe said: “The national curriculum encourages four lots of teaching with one test at the end, whereas what works for knowledge recall is one lot of teaching and four tests. Students were becoming familiar with a topic, but were not assessed on each lesson. “Now, we start lessons with open text books; we teach and talk and put key words on the board. Then, we close the books and recall the lesson working only from the key words. The last five minutes of each lesson is a test. As this will be repeated for weeks and weeks, it will give students a confidence 
boost and they will experience less stress when it comes to their exams as they will be used to sitting tests.
“I am already seeing students simply writing down key words during lessons as that is what helps them to
recall the knowledge they are learning.”
To get his colleagues on board, Mr Ossembe has held training sessions to explain the science of short-term,
long-term and sensory memory. Each faculty is now putting together six-week plans to help students to develop their long-term memory. At the end of term, staff will compare notes and share best practise.
Mr Ossembe said: “The good thing about these techniques is it can be used outside of school. It’s not just
about passing their GCSEs, it will help them with anything in life they want to retain. The skills are
transferable.”