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RISE Webinar: Why Alignment For Foundational Skills Matters - Cognitive Science Insights and Real-world Implications
This webinar will focus on the cognitive psychology of how children build new knowledge.

Human learning is cumulative: Our brains incorporate new knowledge on the foundation of prior knowledge. However, national curricula and classroom practice are often paced too quickly for children to fully master the foundational knowledge that lays the groundwork for more complex content. Empirical studies suggest that if children are not properly habituated with letters, phonics, numbers, and shapes early on, they often fall behind, never to catch up. Also, due to the limits of human working memory, children may struggle to master foundational competencies if lessons and timetables are overloaded with too extensive an assortment of curricular content that competes for students’ (and teachers’) attention. These insights have tangible implications for children’s learning—especially in low- and middle-income countries, where many children do not have the advantages of learning-rich home environments.

The main event will be a fireside chat with Dr Helen Abadzi, a cognitive psychologist whose work focuses on education in developing countries. In this fireside chat, Dr Abadzi will discuss principles of human cognitive architecture and their implications for classroom learning, drawing on her rich experience, including her work at the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education, and the University of Texas at Arlington. The fireside chat will be hosted by Dzingai Mutumbuka, former Minister of Education and Culture in Zimbabwe and current chair of the Association for Education Development in Africa. This will also feature a question and answer session open to the audience.

Prior to the fireside chat, panellists Dr Julius Atuhurra (Twaweza East Africa) and Daniel Rodriguez-Segura (University of Virginia and RISE Tanzania) will explore some on-the-ground implications of these cognitive principles, drawing on new empirical studies.


Nov 10, 2020 10:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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