Let’s Think… about this for a minute

Filling the pail

I’ve been aware for some time of a programme called Let’s Think in English. It has an interesting pedigree in an area of research known as cognitive acceleration.

Back in the 1980s, Philip Adey and Michael Shayer began testing a science intervention they had developed known as Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education or CASE. It was based upon a mix of Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s theories of constructivism and the aim was to attempt to accelerate students through Piaget’s posited developmental stages. The results were truly extraordinary. Transfer of learning is notoriously difficult to achieve in education and yet Adey and Shayer seemed to demonstrate that a science intervention could have positive impacts on English results, years later.

Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence and so it was important for other researchers to replicate these results. The replication story has been somewhat mixed. One randomised controlled trial from…

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