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Why do we need great teaching? What are the characteristics of great teaching? Why is the debate about traditional teaching v progressive methods meaningless? What is direct instruction and a knowledge-led curriculum? Do the vociferous claims about direct instruction and a knowledge-led curriculum stand up to scrutiny? Are such approaches working for all teachers? Why great teaching can involve all kinds of approaches including direct instruction and inquiry learning. How to guarantee rigour but allow teaching teams greater autonomy, reducing the need for surveillance and scrutiny. Developing a whole-school or whole-district approach to great teaching.


Click on second image and view an extract from the introduction.

Introduction, references and book content (US)

  • Robert Powell shows, in the introduction (free download), why developing great teaching should be the primary focus for all schools and districts. He proceeds to set out seven evidence-informed principles (free download on Why Principles?) that underpin outstanding classroom practice, suggesting that these principles might form the basis for policies on teaching, learning and assessment. With chapters on each of the principles, he sets out a menu of practical classroom techniques, arguing that provided the principle is met, the choice of technique used should be the decision of the teaching team, recognising that a one-fits-all approach does not work for all subjects or teachers of different phases. In the introduction he analyses the claims made by various groups on teaching methods and concludes that there should not be a single dominant approach; great teachers will adopt a variety of methods that include direct instruction alongside more interactive techniques including inquiry learning.

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