Essential guides cognitive science

Linked to the Early Career Framework, this book provides an understanding of cognitive load theory and its application to teaching for all those training or new to the job. 

Cognitive science is fast becoming the cornerstone for understanding how students learn and is revolutionising the way we teach pupils at both primary and secondary levels. The techniques informed by cognitive science are evidence-based and proven to work, providing clear benefits for both the early career teacher and your pupils. This book outlines the principles of cognitive load theory and metacognition so that you can feel in control of your own learning and understand how to harness the learning of your students.  It provides concise explanations and practical strategies that you can use in the classroom, enabling you to confidently plan and teach lessons with a reflective, metacognitive approach underpinned by key cognitive science principles.


  1. Introduction: what is cognitive science and what does it mean to you as a teacher?
  2. Let’s step back a bit first: the power of being a human first teacher
  3. Great expectations: a punchy combo with the human first teaching approach
  4. OK, so it’s time to plan: how does cognitive science empower you?
  5. Next steps: consciously incompetent to unconsciously competent, how does that happen?
  6. Time to get out there and change lives.


Kelly Richens was a science teacher and Lead Practitioner for Teaching and Learning in schools for more than 10 years. She has recently started a role in initial teacher training, inspired and motivated by the opportunity to create a positive ripple effect by training teachers.


Emma Hollis‘ passion is teacher education. After gaining a first-class degree in psychology and training as a primary teacher, she became head of initial teacher education for a SCITT provider. She sees teacher education as a continuum and, whilst her heart will always be very close to the initial stages of a teacher’s development, she is also dedicated to ensuring teachers are given access to high quality professional development throughout their careers. Emma has been Executive Director of NASBTT since 2017.

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More information on the Essential Guides for Early Career Teachers Book Series can be found here.

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