Effective teaching


Effective teaching

Tuesday the 18th of June, 2019

Effective teaching and what a highly effective teacher does to encourage optimum learning within the classroom.

Earlier this week the staff and I were reflecting on our curriculum expectation and looking at our student data in relation to this. This led me to an earlier article I shared with you in 2017 on effective teaching and what a highly effective teacher does to encourage optimum learning within the classroom.  The following elements were emphasised. On discussion with the team I am confident our teachers reflect these elements as they are strongly reinforced in the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate.

Rigorous, appropriate content: Classroom activities provide opportunities for students to become knowledgeable, flexible, and resourceful disciplinary thinkers. Discussions are focused and coherent, providing opportunities to learn ideas, techniques, and perspectives, make connections, and develop creative thinking.

Cognitive demand: Students have opportunities to grapple with and make sense of important concepts and their use. Students learn best when they are challenged in ways that provide room and support for growth, with task difficulty ranging from moderate to demanding. The level of challenge should be conducive to what has been called productive struggle. 

Equitable access to content: Classroom structures invite and support the active, equitable engagement of all students with core content. If a small number of students get most of the air time, things are not equitable, no matter how rich the content. 

Agency, ownership and identity: Students have the opportunity to walk the walk and talk the talk – to contribute to conversations about ideas, to build on others’ ideas and have others build on theirs – in ways that contribute to their development of agency (the willingness to engage), their ownership of the content, and the development of positive identities as thinkers and learners.

Formative assessment: Classroom activities elicit student thinking, and subsequent interactions respond to those ideas, building on productive beginnings and addressing emerging misunderstandings. Powerful instruction meets students where they are and gives them opportunities to deepen their understandings. 

Acknowledgement: “What Really Counts When We Teach?” by Alan Schoenfeld in Achieve the Core, April 18, 2017