Learning is messy. Sometimes someone can explain a complicated mathematical equation and you not understand a word and sometimes you can grasp every aspect of how numerous causes link together in a historical argument with ease. We see such situations unfold in our classrooms all the time, often we are surprised with the speed with which children gain new knowledge, skills and understanding and other times we can become frustrated that learning does not progress in the manner we predicted.
I visualise our body of knowledge and understanding as a collection of points all linked to each other in a complex 3D model with bonds of various strength and quantity. Some points of learning are right at the heart of this structure and are linked to numerous others with many strong bonds whilst others are at the edges with only a limited number of links that are not very strong.
This is why a spiral model of learning is very important. In this model teachers introduce new concepts whilst continually revisiting and consolidating what has previously been learnt. In this manner the bonds are continually strengthened and greater links with other learning points are formed. As a result new learning does not drop off from the edges of the structure but instead quickly gains a place at its growing heart.
How will you aid the learning of your students this week?