Melvin's digital garden

Evidence based creative teaching

Based on book, Creative Teaching: An Evidence-Based Approach

Is Teaching a Science or a Art?

  • two short activities
    • memorize words by listening
    • how many capital letters are curved

Activity 1: Working memory

  • Primacy effect - beginning

  • Recency effect - end

  • von Restorff effect - novel

  • serial position curve

  • take a break after 20mins to reset

  • introduce something novel

Activity 2: processing speed is slow

Our brains processes information in predictable ways. Hence avoid cognitive overload, ensure good chunking and review main learning areas (e.g., key concepts and principles essential for building understanding)

Knowledge funnel:

  • Mystery -> Heuristic -> Algorithm


  • left/right brain
  • learning styles
  • only 10% of our brain
  • brain gym

Visible learning by John Hattie

Top ten methods in “Classroom Instruction that Works”

  • similes and analogies
  • note-making and summarizing
  • reinforcing effort (growth mindset)
    • recognize effort not ability
  • repetition
  • graphical methods
  • cooperative learning
  • goals and feedback
  • hypothesis testing
  • activating prior knowledge
  • advance organisers
    • effect size of 0.41

Lessons from neuroscience

Effect size matters

10 cognitive scientific principles on how students learn

** motivational strategies are incoporated into the design of learning experiences

consider how the lesson can be meaningful and interesting for students

** Learning goals, objectives and proficiency expectations are clearly visible to learners

goals, objectives and performance standard for what is to be learned

Showing real life examples of what this looks like, wherever possible

Goals that are challenging for the student group (e.g., achievable with effort)

** Learners prior knowledge is activated and connected to new learning

pitch the instruction more closely to their existing knowledge and skills in the area of learning.

Students prior knowledge can be activated through asking them questions about the topic, giving them a test of the key facts and concepts, or a skill test (if relevant).

** Learning is enhanced through multiple methods and presentation modes that engage the range of senses

range of teaching methods (e.g., explanation, demonstration, questioning, discussion, case-studies, problem-solving tasks)

various modes of presentation (e.g., auditory, visual, kinesthetic)

Dale’s Cone of Learning

** Content is organized around key concepts and principles that are fundamental to understanding the structure of a subject

teach the key Concepts and Principles, which are fundamental to understanding

** Good Thinking promotes the building of understanding

students should think about the topic and apply what they have learned.

** Learning Design utilizes the working of memory systems

without memorizing key information, then doing good thinking to build a clear understanding of what we are learning- we don’t learn effectively.

“Memory is what’s left after thinking” – Daniel Willingham, cognitive scientist

** The development of expertise requires deliberate practice

given task is initially outside a learners current consistent competence at defined proficiency

periods of massed and spaced practice, to build ‘muscle memory’ as well as provide time for rest and critical reflection

** Assessment practices are integrated into the learning design to provide quality feedback

provides feedback to the learner

“Teaching, learning and assessment merge into one seamless enterprise” – Perkins (1992)

What is the most interesting topic? What you found the most difficult? How can it be improved?

** A psychological climate is created which is success orientated and fun

build good rapport

its not what we intend when we communicate, its how the receiver interprets it

appropriate humour has positive effects on learning

Humour can take many forms, stories and examples that have a funny component, cartoons, etc.

Most importantly, communicating to students that a bit of fun is ok in the lesson.

What things can I do specifically that helps build good rapport with students and creates a psychological climate that is success orientated and fun?

** Using the core principles

they must always be considered in relation to the ‘Situated Context’ of learning.

** Creative teaching

What about Creative Teaching, is that different from highly effective teaching?

** Evidence based creative teaching

To put EBCT into practice requires the blending of appropriate High Effect teaching strategies/methods and application (thoughtful and situated) of Core Principles of Learning in the design and enactment of teaching practices.

design a lession

  • Appropriate methods that have high effect sizes
  • Core Principles of Learning as key heuristics
  • creative “Russian Doll” component

further profesional development

  • get feedback on the impact of the learning experience
  • Review the evidence and make modifications to the lesson
  • When teaching the same/similar lesson next time, follow the same review process

** Creative teaching moments

Melvin: maximum overhang demonstration during algorithms tutorial to demonstrate an application of harmonic sum = O(log n)

EBCT book: David Beckham and football to motivate newtons second law

Kolkata story and how lucky we are


Stories Humor Activities Presentation Style Examples

** Workshop session 1

what is effect size?

  • takes into account both improvement and variation of students
  • students improve each year by 0.40
  • effect size of 1.0 means
    • improve learning rate by 50%
    • advancing the learner’s achievement by one year

overcoming the curse of knowledge?

psychological climate that is success oriented and fun

  • what is the effect size?


  • juggling
  • russian doll
  • bring a football and pretend to be beckham
  • zoe tay + dennis on java script

** Workshop session 2

use kahoot to do a quiz in class on the key concepts

  • clear up misconceptions
  • reinforce key concepts
  • feedback
  • russian doll question put in a picture of maria sharapova
    • a bit of humor
  • beware of overuse and habituation

provide some choice for learners to select the teaching method

online affordances

  • own time
  • own pace
  • anywhere

limitations of online

  • no human touch
  • visceral aspect
  • limited interaction
  • technical difficulties


evaluation technology in education

  • does it enhance the learning process?
  • which core principles does it address

how to plan a lesson?

  • introduce yourself, mention something relevant to this class

  • advance organizer (keep it short and sharp)

  • activate prior knowledge

  • setup the objectives

  • every two lessons, ask students to do a one minute paper

  • average attention span is about 15mins

  • pattern interrupt

  • ask them to discuss in pairs to come up with some questions

motivational strategies

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