TLC – Ugly Learning

Resources and information for Ugly Learning

1st September 2016

WILLINGHAM why dont like school

A Summary of his views

Willingham’s Why Don’t Kids like School is a classic cognitive Psychology text. You can borrow the full version from me if you want to read further.

Study Skills Summary

See PDF below for the full text

I have claimed that these principles can make a real difference, but that claim is not meant to imply that applying the principles is easy (Just take my secret tips and boom! You’re a great teacher!”) All of the principles listed in Table 1 0.1 must be leavened with good sense, and any of them can be taken too far or twisted out of shape. What then is the role of cognitive science in educational practice if it cannot offer firm prescriptions?

Education is similar to other fields of study in that scientific findings are useful but not decisive. An architect will use principles of physics in designing an office building, but she will also be guided by aesthetic principles that are outside of science’s realm. Similarly, knowledge of cognitive science can be helpful in planning what you teach and how, but it is not the whole story.

What do all these studies boil down to? First, critical thinking (as well as scientific thinking and other domain-based thinking) is not a skill. ere is not a set of critical thinking skills that can be acquired and deployed regardless of context. Second, there are metacognitive strategies that, once learned, make criti- cal thinking more likely. ird, the ability to think critically (to actually do what the metacognitive strategies call for) depends on domain knowledge and practice. For teachers, the situation is not hopeless, but no one should underesti- mate the di culty of teaching students to think critically.

This is taken from the below text:


Critical Thinking by Daniel Willingham

Why is it so hard to teach.

A relatively new website called learningscientists  is well worth having a look. Here are some resources from this website:



Here are the posters from the learning science website.

Spaced Practice
Retrieval Practice
Dual Coding
Concrete Examples


Here are some more classic texts from Cognitive Psychology



Here’s an overview of study skills techniques:

Study Skills Overview v4 JKS