Daniel Willingham’s First Demonstration of Memory as a Professional Development Exercise

Elsewhere on this blog, I published Professor Daniel Willingham’s First Demonstration of Memory as a lesson for classroom use with students (in fact, if you click on that second hyperlink, it will transfer you directly to that post). I originally wrote that lesson because it has important implications for classroom practice, and I wanted to discuss those implications with students at the beginning of the school year. In fact, I give the lesson on the first day of school, before talking about classroom conduct, as a way of establishing priorities–learning–and classroom methodology–i.e. students directly involved in the pedagogy in which they will engage through the school year.

Along the way, in order to satisfy my professional development requirements, I also developed this lesson, which in some respects is a cognitive science parlor trick, for use as a professional development exercise for teachers.

To present this lesson, you will need this PDF of the article that engendered it; you might also consider reproducing the article to hand out after you conclude the lesson. Here is the lesson plan that outlines and rationalizes it use. I use this learning support with both versions of this lesson. Finally, here is the context clues worksheet on the adjective condign that concludes the exercise.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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