Stop and Think
Stop and Think is designed to help pupils in Years 3 and 5 stop and think before tackling problems in science and maths.
The intervention aims to improve learner’s ability to adapt to counterintuitive concepts by training them to inhibit their initial response and instead, give a slower and more reflective answer. Stop and Think uses content based on the maths and science curricula of Year 3 and Year 5 children in England.
Pupils complete various tasks as if they are taking part in a game-show. A friendly character, named Andy, poses tricky questions to three virtual game-show contestants who demonstrate correct and incorrect thinking. Stop and Think is designed to be delivered for 15 minutes, three times a week, to the whole class at the start of maths and science lessons.
The intervention was developed at the Centre for Educational Neuroscience, by a team from Birkbeck University of London and the UCL Institute of Education.
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Wellcome carried out an evaluation of Stop and Think. The project was funded as part of a join initiative to explore how insights from neuroscience can be used to improve education. The primary outcomes were maths and science attainment and the project also looked at a general measure of inhibitory control as a secondary outcome.
The study was a randomised control trial a total of 6,672 pupils in Years 3 and 5. 89 schools in England took part in the project. The intervention was delivered by teachers to the whole class.
The study found a mean effect size of +0.09 for primary maths and +0.12 for primary science.
There was no evidence that Stop and Think had an effect on pupils’ general inhibitory function development.
The Education Endowment Foundation is exploring the possibility of trialing the programme at a larger scale. Any future trial would need to tackle issues with implementation – teachers reported issues with the software and fitting the approach into the school day.