What is Cognitive Load Theory and why is it so important?
Think back to the days when you enthusiastically embarked on your teaching career (you might be at that point right now). Those early days of teaching, like any new discipline, are exhausting. Why are new teachers so overwhelmed by tasks that more experienced teachers can juggle alongside multiple other responsibilities?
The answer is really quite simple — new skills demand more attention. A new teacher must focus on every small detail of their practice until they are ‘expert’ enough they can divert their attention to other areas or goals. This logic can be applied to any situation, driving a car for example. When learning to drive, you focus carefully on every small detail, and that mental exertion can be very demanding. Compare that to the feeling of driving after you’ve been doing it for years; you may barely remember the drive, the process is so familiar.
Now put yourself in the shoes of your pupils. Each lesson provides fresh learning and new skills to master. Consider what happens inside your learners’ heads when they encounter new information, new skills and new vocabulary.