Introducing MARGE

MARGE is a model of learning, created and popularised by Professor Arthur Shimamura, who sadly passed away in October 2020.

As a model of learning, Shimamura’s MARGE links together evidence of neuroscience, cognitive science and classroom practice to help us understand how we engage with top-down processing; where activated prior knowledge guides the sensory information that we are paying attention to.

MotivateThe need for motivation to be in place to engage the reward circuit
AttendTo ensure the PFC (prefrontal cortex) is focussing on the right sensory input
RelateMake links between new knowledge and prior knowledge
GenerateReactivating prior knowledge and forging new links
EvaluateChecking that the knowledge gained is correct, embedded in long-term memory and can be applied to novel situations

In a discussion with Tom Sherrington, the editor for the in action series of books, we discuss he importance of the MARGE model and how to implement many of the ideas discussed within it.

I was lucky enough to present at BrewED Clee on the idea of MARGE, and how helps our understanding of what happens in the classroom. This presentation can be watched at the link below:

Where the conversation got really interesting is where Kat Howard (@SaysMiss) suggested the usefulness of MARGE as a gateway to deeper thinking around cognitive science and how it can affect our teaching. This resonated closely with me and Joanne Jukes (@MissRegardless) who wrote the evaluate chapter of the book. As me and Jo were putting the book together, we discussed the need for it to be accessible to people new to cognitive science, specifically Early Career Teachers.

The conversation also went in the direction of how MARGE could be used as a lense to look at organisational leadership. While my thinking in this area is just beginning, it is certainly something I will pursue. The staff we lead and work with on a daily basis are constantly learning, from us and the world around them; it therefore makes sense to consider models of learning when considering how we lead them.

Shimamura’s MARGE Model of Learning in Action is available from Amazon at the link below:

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