Cognitive load theory and how in trying to do so much we do too little.
Recently, I asked a class of top-set year 11s to identify the verbs in a piece of writing. It was a seemingly simple activity that Ihad giventhem a few minutes to complete, yet it quickly became clear from the blank faces I was met with that my request had posed something of a problem: after five years of secondary school, a sizeable proportion of the group did not know what a verb was.
How many times in 11 years of schooling must they have encountered the term before? How many times must they have heard the word uttered from a teacher’s lips or seen it written up on a board? Yet despite numerous exposures, this relatively simple concept, one probably within the capacity of a bright 5 year-old, had slipped away and hadhardly beengrasped at all. Of course, the humble verb is but the tip of the iceberg…
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