Writing on Pedagogy

“Remembrance of Philosophy Classes Past: Why Cognitive Science Suggests that a Brief Recap is the Best Way to Begin Each Class Day.” Teaching Philosophy, Vol. 39, No. 3 (Sept. 2016), pp. 279-289.

In the past few decades there has been rapid progress in cognitive science with respect to how people learn. Indeed, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the recent findings, and it is sometimes unclear how these findings should influence day-to-day teaching in the philosophy classroom. But one simple way to use the insights of cognitive science in the philosophy classroom is to begin each class with a five-minute recap of the previous few lessons. Cognitive science suggests that such a practice can greatly aid student learning by increasing retention of material and skills. I explain why teachers of philosophy ought to take the time to do such a recap by outlining some recent and surprising findings in the science of how people learn, and put forward concrete suggestions for making such a recap as effective as possible.