Mayan Wakeford

Trainee history teacher, Schools Direct


Spaced practice, retrieval practice and dual coding: some practical applications in the teaching of history

As a trainee history teacher, Mayan has been looking at all kinds of ideas and methods for making her teaching more effective. She has worked as a teaching assistant in a secondary school for a year, and this has given her the opportunity to observe how history is taught across a number of year groups. One thing she consciously did in the course of that year, was to try to get a feel for the most common areas of weakness for history students. This is what she came up with:
1. Knowledge doesn’t stick
2. Weak historical writing
3. Knowledge is too abstract and not contextual enough
Having identified these common issues, she started thinking about ways to tackle them, helped in large part by the rich resource that is edu-twitter which has brought to her attention teacher blogs, books and research articles. In this session, she will look at each of these 3 areas of weaknesses identified and suggest some practical solutions. In particular, she will be looking at these three powerful learning strategies:
• Spaced practice
• Retrieval practice
• Dual coding


Mayan is a History graduate with an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. Having spent over 20 years working in the private sector, first as a business consultant, and then as a business owner, Mayan decided to change career and get into teaching. She has spent the last year and a half working in schools and reflecting on what she has seen. With her analytical background, she casts a fresh eye on issues in education and is not afraid to challenge some sacred cows.