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"Learning is defined as an alteration in long-term memory. If nothing has altered in long-term memory nothing has been learned...Progress means knowing more and remembering more."

cognitive load theory

It seems like an odd statement but forgetting is a really important part of learning and remembering. We have two different types of memory; the long term memory and the short-term [or working] memory.

Our short-term memory can only store a certain amount of information. Which makes retrieval practice a really important tool for training our brain to begin to recall information that we have learned over time. If we don't transfer the information using skills like retrieval practice to the long term memory then you are likely to lose this information.

We use a range of techniques at Corpus Christi to develop the skill of remembering in order for the children to retain information that they have been taught. These techniques really do compliment our whole school position of Growth Mindset and Building Learning Power.

Retrieval practice is even more effective if it’s done in short bursts over time, rather than in a single long session. This spacing causes students to forget some of the material, and the struggle involved in trying to recall it strengthens their long-term learning which is why, despite it sounding counter-intuitive, the forgetting in remembering is really important.

If you would like more information about this please see Mr Logue. In the meantime please take a look at some of the resources that we use for Retrieval Practice by clicking on the link below:

Retrieval Practice Resources

Please click on the image below to see how we use these resources in class


If you would like to have a copy of any of these and any more retrieval practice materials we have then please email our Deputy Head, Mr Logue, on d.logue@corpuschristi.bham.sch.uk and we will be more than happy to provide them to you.

Did you know...

  • 10 minutes after a lesson most people forget 40-50% of the information that they have been taught.
  • 24 hours after the lesson has been taught most people will only remember 25% of the information that they had been taught.
  • within a week of learning something new we will have only remembered less than 10% of the knowledge taught.

At Corpus Christi we revisit learning over time - we don't necessarily repeat this on a weekly basis for all subjects and we sometimes revisit prior learning across different curriculum focuses. We believe that this is the best way for children to know more and remember more.

Linking Retrieval Practice to our Curriculum and Learning Style

The importance of children and young people having mastery of their own learning is something that we believe is at the heart of learning at Corpus Christi

It is important that the children work creatively and take personal responsibility for working collaboratively with their peers; that they seek and fully respect the views and opinions of each other, and take great pride in sharing their learning with others.

The staff employ a wide range of approaches to develop the children’s critical thinking skills as well as the use of retrieval practice, thinking frames and stories to develop and extend the children’s talking, listening and reading skills.

Our practice is characterised by a clear focus on the development of the children’s thinking skills and use of:

  • connected learning opportunities across the curriculum
  • creative and active learning strategies;
  • highly skilful questioning by teachers and classroom assistants

We have a culture of developing creative initiatives to improve the learning, teaching and outcomes of the children and we pride ourselves in providing all of our pupils with a range of strategies and tools to enable them to think.

At Corpus Christi pupils use skills to know more and remember more by:

  • Having opportunities to enrich their experiences
  • Having a desire to learn independently and with others
  • Taking responsibility for and ownership of their own learning
  • Learning in a variety of ways and styles
  • Learning in a highly structured and purposeful environment
  • Experiencing the celebration of their learning, thinking and achievement

Our pupils self-assess their learning throughout the whole school using a range of tools.  It's important for our children to realise what they can do and how they can improve their learning.  This enables our children to recognise: 'Your brain is like a muscle, the harder they work it, the stronger it gets.' 

What is a growth mindset?

Has your child ever said to you ‘There’s no point, I’ll never be able to do it’ or avoided doing something because they’ve failed at it in the past?

Feelings like this can be related to what children believe about what makes them ‘good’ at something – whether it’s school work, sport, or even their ability to manage their emotions and behaviour.

Some children will tend to give up on challenging tasks easily, or avoid tasks they’ve failed at before. They tend to believe that being ‘good’ at a particular activity is a fixed state, and is something they can’t control. In psychology, this way of thinking is called a ‘fixed mindset’.

Others might bounce back quickly from failure and be more likely to explore how they can get better at doing something. They tend to be children who believe that you can improve your abilities by practising, or by finding a different way to achieve your goal. This way of thinking is called a ‘growth mindset’, and developing it can help make children more resilient for life.

At Corpus Christi we enable our children to develop a 'Growth Mindset'.  All pupils are encouraged to have a go and are reminded that 'If at first they don't succeed, try, try again.'  We believe by encouraging our pupils to 'take risks with their learning,' they are developing their growth mindset.  

Children (and adults!) with a growth mindset think very differently. They believe that they can get better at something by practising, so when they’re faced with a challenge, they become more and more determined to succeed, wanting to persevere and overcome knockbacks. They tend to feel as if they’re in control, and are not threatened by hard work or failure.  Children at Corpus Christi realise that with a growth mindset 'Their brain is getting stronger and they are getting smarter!'

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