Recently there has been renewed interest in Barak Rosenshine’s (2010,2012) ‘Principles of Instruction’, summarised in Tom Sherrington’s (2019) Rosenshine’s Principles in Action. The ten principles were compiled by Rosenshine incorporating sources from research on: the way the brain acquires new information; the classroom practice of teachers who have a significant positive impact upon student attainment; and studies on learning strategies for students (Rosenshine, 2010).
This series of blogs aims to build upon the advice given to classroom teachers by Rosenshine and Sherrington. Each blog will focus on a specific principle, summarising the evidence and findings from research studies with suggestions for integration into classroom practice.
Principle of Instruction #10: Weekly and monthly review
The first of Rosenshine’s principles that we will look at is that of weekly and monthly reviews. Based upon cognitive science, the principle utilises ideas about schema, the need to develop connections between schema and the retrieval of ideas from the long-term memory. To enhance effective long term learning, rehearsal and review of information is need to consolidate recall (Rosenshine, 2010). Retrieval practice as a learning tool encompasses the testing effect (Surma et al., 2018) where the act of retrieving information enhances learning (Karpicke, 2012). This blog will consider the findings of four studies into the use of retrieval practice and how it can be used in the classroom.
Retrieval practice as a method of reviewing and improving learning
Karpicke (2009) studied the use of retrieval practice as a mnemonic enhancer (method to improve memory) and as a method to improve encoding during subsequent learning (known as the potentiating effect). The study used 48 undergraduate students to compare ways of learning foreign language items. One group studied the items over six sessions, the other group alternated study and testing over six sessions. Statistical analysis demonstrated a marginal significance, meaning that it was probable that the results were due to the different methods, rather than chance alone.