Teaching and Learning


It’s Monday morning and the pupils arrive at your class for another week of learning. What happens next is crucial to how much progress they make. You’ve probably spent most of Sunday catching up on marking, planning for the week ahead and inputting marks onto some complicated data tracking tool that gives you the average number of breaths per pupil, per minute but actually has no impact on pupil progress.

You’re probably exhausted and it is only 8:30 am at the start of the week. The pupils on the other hand, arrive rejuvenated after a weekend of leisure, sport, socialising, relaxation, etc. Get where I’m going with this? No, but understand the feeling then read on!

What does happen next? This depends on you and the culture of learning in your school – Are you a collaborative group? Do you share ideas and resources? Is there a climate of professional enquiry? How often do you refer to research when making decisions? Are pupils effective at giving and receiving feedback? Are they engaged and challenged? So many questions but I could have listed many more.

The research is out there and yet as professionals we do not have the time to read it – surely this has to change and more of us need to pay attention to the likes of Professor John Hattie, Graham Nuthall, Ron Berger, etc. Their work is fascinating, evidence based and proven, but above all else it directs us to the key strategies that improve outcomes for pupils – we must read this research.

So what has the biggest impact on pupil progress? Is it Small Class Sizes? Effective Feedback? Homework? Pupil-Teacher Relationships? Pre-School Programs? Teaching Strategies? Obvious examples – Yes, but do you really know which of these is most effective and which has little impact?

Each week I aim to highlight specific evidence from latest research and give some examples of how schools are using it, including links to free resources. I’ll start with this diamond from Graham Nuthall’s book ‘The Hidden Lives of Learners’:

“80% of the feedback learners receive in the classroom is from other learners, and 80% of that feedback is wrong”

We need to train our pupils to be effective at giving and receiving feedback. I can hear some of you saying this is difficult with my children, their age, ability, social context, etc, Have a look at this video taken from a lesson observed as part of the ‘Outstanding Teaching Intervention’, where the teacher, Ambreen Sadiq has trained her nursery pupils to give and receive feedback – this was their first attempt at peer marking.

Ambreen taught the pupils a basic sentence and modelled the language on the carpet as well as showing the pupils what a good sentence looks like

Let us know what you think: Leave a comment below or tweet us @osirisedu.

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