Cunning Plan 179: using TV producers’ techniques to make the most effective use of retrieval practice

Teaching History feature

By Pam Canning, published 3rd July 2020

Last year I was working with colleagues on a project examining Rosenshine’s principle of beginning lessons with a short review of previous learning.1 At the same time I was working with a history trainee who had been using recall quizzes as a starter with GCSE students. Following a lesson observation, we were discussing with her university tutor how important the choice of questions is, not least because it means the start of the lesson can be used to ensure that students have focused on retrieving the specific knowledge that they need ‘at their fingertips’ if they are to make confident connections between their prior learning and the new knowledge to be introduced and thus to tackle the new historical thinking that the lesson will require of them.

It struck me how similar this process is, in some respects, to the way in which television series provide recaps of events from previous episodes at the start of each new one. I had recently been catching up on the British crime drama series Luther, and had noticed how the ‘Previously on…’ section at the start drew not just from the preceding episode, but sometimes from three or four earlier episodes, or even from the previous series, to remind the viewer of threads of the storyline that would be continued in the new episode... 

This resource is FREE for Secondary HA Members.

Non HA Members can get instant access for £2.49

Add to Basket Join the HA