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Teaching methods go from lab to classroom

Researchers are testing approaches to make learning stick

8:00am, September 5, 2017
illustration of classroom brain chairs

BRAIN GAINS  Moving education research into classrooms can be messy. But researchers are taking the plunge and finding some approaches that boost learning.  

Sure, students in the classroom have to remember facts, but they also have to apply them. Some research efforts to enhance learning zero in on methods to strengthen memory and recall, while others bolster students’ abilities to stay on task, think more fluidly and mentally track and juggle information.

But there’s a catch. The science behind student learning is so far based on carefully controlled studies, primarily with college students. Do the same approaches work with younger students? Will they work in a classroom of 25 or 30 kids of varying abilities?

These are questions researchers are asking now, says Erin Higgins of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Research. Moving from the lab to a classroom, with all its disruptions and distractions, is key for pinning down what works, under what conditions and for whom. In the process of tweaking some of the most promising tools and strategies for classroom use, educators

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