Demystify the science of learning with these key phrases

It's what you say and how you say it.

How can we demystify the science of learning in every lesson, every day?

Here are a few key phrases to adopt in your classroom that make retrieval, spacing, interleaving, and feedback concrete, engaging, and familiar. Download more key phrases from our library and spread the word (or the phrase), too!

Emphasize no-stakes retrieval practice


We often write about the importance of keeping retrieval practice low-stakes. Reduce student anxiety by emphasizing that retrieval practice is a learning strategy, not an assessment strategy. With the phrase, "Let's have a pointless conversation," students will be caught off guard. And that's precisely the "point!" A pointless conversation is literally no-stakes retrieval practice. You can have a pointless writing exercise, a pointless think-pair-share, etc. Encourage students to retrieve and make it pointless. (Tweet this phrase!)


Emphasize why retrieval practice is effective


Retrieval practice is effective because it helps students use what they know, it challenges their learning, and it boosts metacognition. The contrast between getting information "in" vs. "out" has been a favorite phrase of ours. Now, make it even more simple with "OUTformation instead of INformation!" Simple and straightforward, even for younger learners. (Tweet this phrase!)


Emphasize the simplicity of spacing


Spacing out learning is pretty intuitive. Musicians perform best when they practice over time, rather than cramming right before a performance. Spacing out lessons rather than "one and done" boosts learning, too. Here's a fun question to pose – as educators, as parents, or even as a retrieval prompt for yourself: "What did you learn today vs. what did you learn yesterday?" Enjoy the richer conversation with the slight challenge of yesterday, rather than glossy eyed looks when you ask about today. (Tweet this phrase!)