This course will look at cutting edge educational thinking in teaching and learning and apply the findings of cognitive load theory to teaching A-Level Chemistry. We will interrogate the evidence base in order to establish general principles of teaching science and will then tie those to specific ideas and concepts from within the A-Level Chemistry course. The course will provide dynamic ways of teaching which go beyond simply teaching the specification content. You will learn innovative and evidence-based teaching routes which are guaranteed to boost your students’ results. Such techniques will also foster long-term motivation and engagement increasing your A-Level retention rates.


  • Gain the latest cutting edge thinking on teaching A level Chemistry
  • Increase your understanding of foundational principles of cognitive science
  • Interrogate the research literature for best practice for teaching A level Chemistry
  • Obtain approaches for applying this skill to the teaching of to A-Level Chemistry
  • Reflect on A-Level teaching and establish new approaches which will boost results
COURSE DATES London Monday 11 November 2019
  • All teachers of A-Level Chemistry
  • Heads of Science
  • Heads of Chemistry
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues


10.00 – 11.50am
Introduction to Cognitive Load Theory: The Role of Internal and External Resources

  • Looking at a simplified model of cognitive load theory
  • Establishing the role of prior knowledge
  • How expert teachers scaffold students with external supports
  • Assessing our familiar approaches and resources in light of the evidence
  • Collaborating to improve our instruction and support of our students to achieve
  • Examining how we can use cognitive load theory to frame our teaching of demanding topics like quantitative chemistry or organic synthesis
  • New teaching approaches to key topics – how to deliver challenging topics for exam success
  • Routes to improve students’ long term memory, using quantitative chemistry and basic organic chemistry as key examples
  • Applying the skills: examining how to teach cognitive load theory with redox chemistry, basic mechanisms and chemical analysis

11.50 – 12.10pm
Discussion: coffee break

12.10 – 1.00pm
How do we create brilliant chemists?

  • Pushing the most able: how do we create brilliant chemists?
  • Teaching approaches which give your students the edge
  • Investigate the evidence base around the relationship between mastery and long term motivation and how to utilise this in your teaching
  • Establish how the techniques discussed throughout the day will not only boost results but will improve student motivation

1.00 – 2.00pm
Lunch and informal discussion

2.00 – 2.40pm
Innovative approaches 1: using cognitive load theory to support instruction

  • Assessing tasks for their cognitive complexity and demand
  • How to adjust your tasks to better support knowledge consolidation. Important across chemistry, we will examine electrochemistry as a key example
  • Using dual-coding to support instruction with teaching the thermochemistry of benzene as an example
  • Analyse examples of student answers to see how these gain the highest marks

2.40 – 3.15pm
Innovative approaches 2: putting it into practice

  • Assessing particular topics for sequencing, instruction, practice and retrieval
  • Analysis of resources on topics like electrochemistry and organic analysis

3.15 – 3.45pm
Novices and experts: what’s right for my students?

  • How different students learn: understanding the concept of novices and experts and its importance within cognitive science
  • Learning about the expertise reversal effect and its in-class ramifications
  • Thinking about how to judge the relative expertise of our students
  • Why students drop marks in exam application questions and how an understanding of expert cognitive processes can prevent this and boost results

Adam Boxer

Adam is an experienced chemistry teacher working at a school in North London. He is an established speaker and as well as providing CPD in schools has presented at a number of national conferences including Wellington Festival of Education, Teach First Summer Institute, ASE National Conference and EdFest Rosey, Switzerland. Adam’s resources are used by thousands of teachers across the UK and his blog receives tens of thousands of hits each month. He has published articles about education in peer-reviewed journals and is one of the leading voices promoting innovative and evidence-based practices in science education.

View all courses led by Adam Boxer >

Cognitive Load Theory