The TILE Network is excited to continue its TILE Share Best Practice Series by taking a look into the changes Albyn School has implement into their teaching practices since receiving a talk about learning strategies by Dr Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel, TILE founder and cognitive psychologist.

Albyn School is a leading independent, co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 2-18 located in the Aberdeen, Scotland.

Here is what David Starbuck, Deputy Head of Albyn School, has to say about education practices at this school:

Dr Kuepper-Tetzel spoke to our teachers in August 2018 and presented three simple ideas: retrieval practice, spaced practice and dual coding.  These were simple and small changes that made the things we already do more effective. All of it backed up by considerably strong evidence from cognitive science.  Teachers quickly realised that by making small changes to tests, starter activities and other tasks they would be able to help pupils’ memory and understanding. It was the perfect way to help teachers realise the difference they can make.  We used Padlet to record and share changes teachers had made to their teaching in the first few months.  It was very evident that most people had made some meaningful changes.  We revisited this in staff meetings, both departmental and whole-school, at various points during the year and found that staff continued to apply them – it is becoming part of standard practice.  It’s too early to report back on exam grades at this stage, but that will be the next measure of potential impact for us. 

Our Learning & Teaching Committee explored things a little further, for example some of them trialled a weekly retrieval practice lesson with their exam classes, and developed their interest and expertise in applying these ideas to assessment and feedback strategies.  We are integrating what we have gained from Dr Kuepper-Tetzel’s ideas with other forms of evidence-based strategies, namely Hattie & Clarke and Coe & Kime. This year members of that committee are a leading whole-school initiative to focus on those areas, which Dr Kuepper-Tetzel has also given input on.  The committee also worked with pupils in the summer term to identify a number of learning habits that we now promote as a school (as can be seen below).

Check out this resource with details on how teachers are implementing effective learning strategies in their classrooms: Padlet with Teaching Ideas