For teaching to be effective you need to do this….

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For teaching to be effective you need to do this. How and when you do it, is up to you.

This is my current thought on teaching. We are increasingly aware of what generally ‘works’ in teaching; that which increases the amount of learning. A culmination of watching successful teachers and research, give us a good idea of what things teachers can include in their practice that promotes learning over other strategies.

Think of the best teachers you’ve met or worked with. What made them great? What did they do that seemed to have most impact? 

Suggested ‘things that (might) work’ from research are here:

We can keep on saying “Leave teaching to teachers. They’re the professionals” however having worked with many different teachers over my career, I believe it would be negligent of leaders, in all cases, to ‘leave it to teachers’. It’s an ideal but it’s not a reality.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of unknown things that may work and work even better. However, at this point in time, we believe these specific things matter and make a bigger difference than other things. We need to include them in our lessons.

In the mean time, if we want the best for learning, should we say to teachers “Your teaching must include these things, but how and when you do them is up to you”?

I think we do.

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4 thoughts on “For teaching to be effective you need to do this….

  1. The best teachers I ever had were great, not because of the methods they used, but because of how they made me feel when I was with them. They believed in me and they helped me to believe in myself. Without a definition of what we mean by ‘an education’ (unless we just mean passing lots of tests) we will struggle to get to a definition of what ‘good teaching’ is.

  2. Spot on by Sue Cowley above. We have become obsessed with finding elusive grails of pedagogy that some SLT member can then impose on all. Meanwhile, examination accountability has spun a narrative that we can at all times measure and see progress and then attribute it to teaching. I’d simply boil it down to relationships and subject passion. Lift the burden of constant scrutiny, encourage teachers to establish a strong and supportive ethos in their own classrooms and across the school, and give time and weighting to develop themselves as subject experts, stressing to students that their teachers are indeed worth listening to as such. Unless there was a trend of poor results, leave teachers to it and encourage but don’t force a culture of professional development. Happy teachers, happy students, very rare things indeed.

  3. Problem is, it requires the people giving the list of requirements to be well-read on the research. Too often, the leaders who most like to give out lists are those who then include on them frequent mini-plenaries, purple pens and “active leaning”.
    Better maybe to have good CPD and discussionw in schools?

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