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Part 4. Teachers: Harness a Principles-Based Framework

Wanting to be classesd as a great teacher or a great team? Harness this framework based on evidence-informed principles and you will be on your way.

  • A principle-based framework is defined for great teaching.

  • The techniques in each of the seven chapters of the handbook.

  • How to access the principles and the sound technique of each.

The Principles

The seven principles below are the ones I have used to create the handbook of great teaching techniques. They are evidence-based drawing mainly on the work of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Evidence-Based Education’s Great Teaching Toolkit. These principles are not set in stone, and leaders wishing to use the principles’ approach can amend these or create their own to suit their institutions and contexts.

Treat the techniques as a menu

The handbook has seven chapters, one for each principle, and each chapter begins by examining some of the related key issues and then proceeds to offer a wide range of practical techniques that show how the principle can be met in a variety of ways. Teachers should look upon the techniques as a menu of ideas and not a diet; no-one expects all ideas to suit all teachers, subjects, or age groups.

The 7 principles

Principle 1. Teachers should share and clarify the learning intentions of the lesson(s) so that students are engaged, understand, and can picture their goals.

The handbook chapter 1 (here) offers a menu of 10 techniques to meet the research evidence that students need not only to be engaged but need to be clear about the learning intentions.

Principle 2. Teachers should ensure that all learners understand the success criteria for their learning tasks and activities and have a clear picture of what success looks like.

The handbook chapter 2 (here) offers 11 techniques to meet the evidence that learners not only need to understand the success criteria of tasks and activities but that they should be able to visualise ‘what a good one looks like’.

Principle 3. Teachers should create a safe, welcoming, and trusting learning environment with fair, clear, consistent, and public systems of classroom management. Group activity is purposeful and well structured.

The handbook chapter 3 (here) offers a menu of 29 techniques for providing a safe and welcoming environment. The chapter on classroom management includes sections on classroom routines and ground rules, participation in questioning, classroom layout, managing collaborative group work, behaviour policy, and finding time for planning in teams.

Principle 4. Learning tasks should build upon prior learning, make connections, and have clearly defined progression routes that meet the needs of individuals, including support and challenge. Teachers should have high expectations for all learners.

The handbook chapter 4 (here) offers a menu of 33 practical techniques for effective learning with sections on connecting to prior learning, progression routes, and mastery to meet the needs of all learners; support and challenge; and establishing high expectations.

Principle 5. Reading comprehension should be encouraged. Scaffolding, useful initially, should be gradually withdrawn as learners move towards mastery and deeper understanding. Small group collaborative activity should be used when appropriate.

The handbook chapter 5 (here) offers a menu of 15 techniques for reading and comprehension, with sections on spelling and understanding of key vocabulary, speaking, and listening skills in use of vocabulary, and comprehension.

Principle 6. Teachers should receive feedback on levels of understanding through regular questioning which seeks to involve all learners. When teachers identify misconceptions, they intervene, whether it be at individual, group, or whole-class level. Teachers should seek to develop fluency and embed learning through techniques such as interleaving, retrieval practice and spaced learning.

The handbook chapter 6 (here) offers a menu of 24 practical techniques for assessment responsive teaching and formative, including sections on feedback to teachers through questioning, technology response systems to aid feedback to teachers, retrieval practice, spaced practice, interleaving, and recall for deeper understanding.

Principle 7. Feedback to learners should be ongoing and can include, at different times, written, verbal, whole class, peer, and self-assessment. Teachers should find ways to ensure that such feedback is acted upon by the learners (feedforward).

The handbook chapter 7 (here) offers a menu of 35 practical techniques for feedback and feedforward, including sections on verbal feedback, peer-assessment and self-assessment, whole-class feedback, feedback through technology, and feedforward (ensuring feedback is enacted by learners).

The whole handbook with all 7 chapters and 157 techniques is available here.

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