Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

06.21.22Retrieval Practice, PD and Adult Learners: My West Texas Epiphany

Landing in Lubbock–Loved My First Visit to West Texas



Had the pleasure of doing a training session for teachers and school leaders in West Texas yesterday at Region 17 Educational Service Center in Lubbock.

It was, from my perspective, a great day in which we studied “game film” of teachers. Hopefully it helped folks in the session fall back in love with teaching after a hard year, develop a vision of what an ideal classroom could look like, and identify practical techniques they could use to help students thrive.

The last techniques we discussed was Retrieval Practice… after discussing the dangers of forgetting.

But the biggest epiphany of the day came at the very end when Region 17 Director of Educational Services Syd Sexton addressed the group. She picked up on the theme of retrieval practice.

It’s the beginning of summer. It’ll be a long time before you walk back into your classroom. It’s important to realize that for everything you got out of today, the forgetting will start immediately for you just like for your students.

And so she suggested several ways teachers could use retrieval practice after their own PD to help ensure that they remember the key ideas some fall:

1) call a friend on the way home to tell them about the day

2) in two days review your 2-3 favorite techniques by reading the details of each in the book

3) in two more days access the videos and watch your favorite techniques in action

4) in August, build out your steps for implementing the first few days of school

I loved her ideas for personal retrieval practice after PD…. and i loved even more the concept- the recognition that forgetting applies to us as teachers and that there are simple steps we can and should take to make sure we remember what we learn.

Thought that brilliant idea was worth sharing.

Thanks to Syd and everyone at Region 17 for inviting me to West Texas and for everything you do on behalf of students!

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