World Education Blog

By Helen Abadzi, Senior Education Specialist, Global Partnership for Education

Developing countries want their citizens to acquire and use complex skills, but there is much debate over the best ways to achieve this (as the 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report will examine). Yet specific answers do exist, and they come from cognitive science. People everywhere learn, think and make decisions using the same general cognitive rules, which outline what the average human mind can and cannot do.

Short-term memory, or working memory, holds the information that you are currently thinking of.  According to some studies, it can retain only about seven items of information for only about 12 seconds. If we take too long to read, by the end of a sentence we have forgotten the beginning. So fluency is essential, whether it be in reading, writing, calculating, using a cell phone, checking electric circuits or throwing ingredients…

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