Cognitive Principles of Effective Teaching

A Video Series

This is a series of five brief videos on the cognitive basis of effective teaching. The purpose of the videos is to synthesize current research in cognitive psychology relevant to student learning and to present the information in a form that is helpful to teachers for improving the design, implementation, and assessment of pedagogy.

Cognitive Principles Series Video 1 Poster Image

Beliefs About Teaching

This first video is about how the beliefs teachers hold about teaching and learning influence teaching effectiveness. I discuss teacher beliefs that can help or undermine teaching. I also emphasize the importance of teachers having an accurate understanding of how people learn in order to be successful.
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The Cognitive Challenges of Teaching: Mindset, Metacognition, and Trust

This video introduces the nine factors identified by cognitive research that teachers must understand in order to help students learn. Three of those factors, mental mindset, metacognition and self-regulated learning, and trust, are discussed in detail. The video examines how feedback can promote these factors.
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The Cognitive Challenges of Teaching: Prior Knowledge, Misconceptions, Ineffective Learning Strategies, and Transfer

Students come to us not as blank slates, but with a mix of both accurate knowledge and misconceptions. This video discusses how both of these factors influence learning. Finally, the video explores the importance of students developing and utilizing effective learning strategies.
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The Cognitive Challenges of Teaching: Constraints of Selective Attention, Mental Effort, and Working Memory

Selective attention, mental effort, and working memory are major constraints on learning. The first two involve attention, which limits what we can be aware of and how hard we can concentrate. Working memory limits our ability to learn complex information quickly. The video discusses methods of deliberate practice, automaticity and chunking as ways of addressing these constraints.
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Teachable Moments, Formative Assessment, and Conceptual Change

This video discusses how all nine cognitive factors interact with each other and how teachers must manage that interaction to bring about learning. The concept of teachable moments is introduced to capture this process. Finally, the video discusses how formative assessments can help create a constructive learning context in which learning becomes long lasting, regardless of which pedagogy teachers use.