Best Practice

Challenge in the primary classroom: Knowledge and retrieval

We cannot achieve challenge in the classroom without progressively sequenced knowledge or retrieving and applying knowledge across domains. Robbie Burns continues his three-part series on planning for challenge. In part two, he considers the role of knowledge retrieval and transfer in creating challenge during lessons

We often talk about challenge as if it is a clear idea that everyone understands; my experience is rather different. Its definition alludes us. For this reason, over the course of three articles I want to set out a definition that is deep enough to have durability but flexible enough to be used as a basis for all curriculum design work.

In my last article, I used the analogy of challenge being like architecture – it is rooted in all of the work that goes on in designing a curriculum at each and every stage.

In the spirit of this analogy, I suggested that there are four “floors” or stages to the architectural plans of challenge to support those responsible for subject leaders and teachers who are developing their curriculum plans. The foundations, which I explored last time, is rooting all work in the key concepts of each subject.

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