Claire has produced the following set of reflections from her PDC group below (Group five – one of our two research groups).

Desirable Difficulties

For our first PDC session group 5 looked at Bjork’s ‘Desirable Difficulties’ and started thinking about how we could use these ideas to adapt and improve our own teaching practice.


Jackie decided to focus on her A Level group.

“I have created a knowledge orgaiser for A level. This is to allow for regular testing of knowledge that needs to be retained over a two year period. Using the knowledge mat I will form a test of the key features and test students weekly on the knowledge. This will allow for knowledge to go into the long term memory and not just the short term ready for quick recall in exams.”


In Art, Jo looked at how they could build regular testing into her lessons at KS3.

“Revisiting basic formal elements in lesson through discussion and teaching, students adding this to their sketchbooks.  In the following lessons students were then tested with a revision worksheet.  This has made me realise that students need to make more connections between the theory and the practical.  I will revisit theory and be more explicit so that students embed this into their learning.  I have also taught skills to students at the start of the lesson and gave them choice over how they complete the task using those skills as a way of testing their knowledge.”


In Science, Bev plans to use what she has learnt from our PDC session along with the whole school INSET on Friday 13th November to build in regular testing with her Year 9 students.

“From the last meeting I was going to give my y9 group three questions based on any topic area every lesson, however I could not organise it in the time given. Following the teacher training I am going to use a topic test this class have just taken and have had feedback on and use random questions from the paper for them to answer repeatedly. Changing the wording occasionally but keeping the context the same.”


Finally, in music, we have been looking at how we can embed the ‘Elements of Music’, our key ideas, which are important throughout all key stages. As part of homework at Key Stage 3, students are regularly completing Google Form quizzes and I have decided to include regular testing on the elements as part of this, as well as building in regular testing with Socrative in my lessons. We have also changed the way we name our schemes of work, calling each one by the name of an element (whichever one if focuses on), again to try and embed these key terms and their meanings.

We are also beginning with KS4 groups to create Knowledge Organisers for each Area of Study covered at GCSE, as the listening exam is where our students struggle the most.


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