The mental game of fetch that helps students succeed

Before a talented colleague retired, Shaun Allison asked for the secret to her consistently high results – and what she told him is backed up by research into ‘retrieval practice’. So now, as well as imparting information, his school focuses on getting the learning to stick. Here’s how to do it

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When I found out that a fantastic teacher – who had taught science at my school since 1978 – was retiring, I knew I couldn’t let her leave without first finding out the secret of her success. Pam McCulloch’s students achieved incredible exam results, year in, year out. I had to know how she did it. It turned out that her methods were quite simple.

“If [students] are going to learn new knowledge, they need to keep repeating it,” Pam explained to me. “So I would start every lesson with 20 questions. They were short and to the point, and went back over knowledge from previous lessons – not just ...

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