Education Endowment Foundation:Voices from the classroom: Supporting working memory in the primary classroom

Voices from the classroom: Supporting working memory in the primary classroom

Author
Rachael Cattrall
Rachael Cattrall
Content Specialist for Cognitive Science (on maternity leave)

Rachael Cattrall, our specialist for cognitive science, introduces a new Voices from the Classroom video.

Blog •2 minutes •

We asked Angie Watson – primary school teacher and Research Associate at Billesley Primary School – to talk to us about how teaching staff in her setting use their understanding of working memory to support their pupils.

She describes how their shared understanding of core cognitive science principles impacts their planning processes. She also discusses how routines and methods of giving instructions can help to support their pupils’ working memories.

If it is structured and clear enough and also regular enough, children will know what to expect so they are not spending all of their time using their working memory processing what’s going to happen next”


Angie also explores how they have explored the principles of embodied learning’ to support pupils during a writing cycle’, building up to a writing task across a number of lessons.

allow children to rehearse more complex strategies in terms of writing, and it makes it a bit more automatic the second time around”.


We hope this latest video supports colleagues to reflect on their own understanding of working memory, and the ways in which we can adjust our teaching to better support pupil learning.

Supporting working memory in the primary classroom

If you want to explore information about working memory and some of the approaches mentioned in this video, you may want to read the EEF’s Cognitive Science Evidence Review:

Working memory – pg 10

Cognitive Load – pg 24

Embodied learning – pg 42 – 43