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It feels like a lifetime since I used to teach secondary science, although when I did, by far my favourite topic to teach was genetics. I loved the challenge of building concrete understanding out of abstract concepts and the sense of wonder that would emerge as students began, for the first time, to get a [...]
Deepening knowledge through vocabulary learning Effective vocabulary instruction: The underlying reasoning and research Isabel L Beck and Margaret G McKeown With the publisher’s permission, sections of this article have been taken from Beck and McKeown (Beck et al., 2007). Vocabulary, particularly vocabulary teaching and learning, has been a topic that we have studied for over [...]
How can teachers support oracy in their classrooms? Will Millard Speech and communication lies at the heart of classroom practice. It is the predominant way in which teachers provide instruction and support to their students and is central to how most students engage with the curriculum. This article examines how teachers can support oracy in [...]
Introduction In 2004, Robin Alexander published his seminal work Towards Dialogic Teaching: Rethinking Classroom Talk (Alexander , 2017). Now in its fifth edition, this excellent pocket-sized book is a must read for educators, across all phases, interested in developing a more dialogic approach to their classroom practice. Dialogic teaching utilises the power of classroom talk to [...]
‘It is our hope… to improve the amount and quality of oracy teaching in British schools, so that young people are better prepared for life in the 21st century.’ ((Mercer et al., 2017), 2017, p. 17) So writes Neil Mercer, emeritus professor at Cambridge University and a researcher at the forefront of oracy pedagogy. This [...]
Consonant clusters (henceforth referred to as clusters) exist in English morphology and impact on how sounds blend together and how words may be segmented into syllables (Grainger et al., 2012). Their usage links to how vowels (single vowel graphemes and digraphs) operate in words, and this knowledge then has a bearing on how children learn [...]
  ‘Reading is boring’ – a comment that I have heard numerous times from a variety of students, and a concept that I find incredibly difficult to comprehend, especially as a voracious reader myself. This receptive skill is an integral part of daily life and, as an English as an additional language (EAL) teacher, I [...]
Note: The author of this article, Kelly Ashley, works as a consultant offering chargeable support, training and consultancy services to schools on a range of topics including language and literacy development. Early language and literacy development affects educational attainment and outcomes in later life  (Department for Education, 2017). Effective vocabulary instruction and ‘exposure to a [...]
Amy’s geography teacher has asked the class to prepare a short presentation about rainforest ecosystems. To plan this, Amy reflects on how she learned best on the last topic – using the school textbooks – and decides to read the relevant chapter before drafting her presentation points. However, when reading it, she decides that the [...]
One of the many challenges facing the evidence-informed teacher or school leader is knowing when to trust the experts (Willingham, 2012). Great importance is often ascribed to meta-analysis in the EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit (for example, see (Teaching and Learning Toolkit, 2018)), and by influential commentators such as John Hattie (Hattie, 2008), and as [...]
This article is published as part of Impact with kind permission from BMJ Publishing Group. The article appears here in full. Health care professionals are increasingly required to base their practice on the best available evidence. In the first article of the series, I described basic strategies that could be used to search the medical [...]
At the heart of effective classroom practice is the need to teach children to think well. This fascinates me, especially the mysteries of metacognition. I’m not alone. My recent online search revealed over four million entries for metacognition. However, there remains debate about this complex concept. I’ve been particularly interested in the question of whether [...]
Inference is the powerful tool that allows those who can use it to assume from ‘Max panted as he held the bone’ that Max is a dog and not an exhausted palaeontologist. It is an essential skill for children almost from the first time they start reading, as direct answers to questions are buried under [...]
Why problem-solving? Problem-solving has long had a strong emphasis in mathematics education. In 1982, the Cockcroft Report asserted that ‘the ability to solve problems is at the heart of mathematics’ (Cockcroft, 1982). In recent years, as a result of reforms to the mathematics GCSE, a focus on problemsolving has re-emerged. A minimum of 30% of [...]
There is a lot of talk about active learning in the early years, as well as a host of related pedagogical approaches: experiencebased learning, child-led learning, discovery learning, enquiry learning, guided learning. But what does active learning really mean? The brain is an active agent, not a passive subject Evidence on the developing brain shows [...]
  Throughout my teaching career, I have consistently observed that attitude, rather than baseline data, indicates future success. Whilst some will inevitably struggle more with challenging concepts or a mathematical method, those who persevere tend to benefit. This led me to question whether self-regulated learning could promote improved attainment in science. A potential to succeed [...]
‘Metacognition and self-regulation’ and ‘collaborative learning’ remain high in the EEF Teachers’ Toolkit of effective teaching approaches, and with good reasons. These reasons can be framed through the following hypotheses. Firstly, to become metacognitive and self-regulating, learners need to experience learning situations, activities and content that can best be resolved, understood and applied through opportunities [...]
Note: The author of this article, Lisa Cook, works for Challenging Learning, an organisation offering chargeable support, training and consultancy services to schools on a range of topics including metacognition. ‘The ability to critically analyse how you think’ or ‘thinking about one’s thinking’: these two definitions best capture how I understand metacognition. Metacognition was a [...]
What does it take to be an ‘effective learner’? The answer depends on two things: what kind of learning you are talking about and the model – the psychology – of learning that you (consciously or unconsciously) subscribe to. By ‘effective learning’ some people mean only ‘good at the kinds of learning that get you [...]
This is an extract from the Chartered College of Teaching’s Windows into the Classroom series, available now to all members on our Research and Practice Hub. You can read more about the authors’ approach, including pictures of students’ work and resources. The challenge Pendle Vale College (11-16) is a mixed secondary school with 1,050 students [...]
In recent years, there appears to have been a growing trend for school teachers and leaders to be shunning educational fads and gimmicks in favour of a more evidence-informed approach. This is encouraging, and a positive move for teachers; it feels like we are reclaiming our profession. As we learn more from the world of [...]
A runaway tram is on course to collide with five people on the tracks ahead. You, a bystander, are near a lever, which you could pull to divert the tram onto different tracks, on which there’s one person. If you pull the lever, one dies; if you do nothing, five die. Should you pull the [...]
Prior knowledge is one of the most influential factors in learning (Ausubel, 1968, cited in (Hattie and Yates, 2014), p. 114). Whilst most teachers are aware that new learning refines prior knowledge and adds complexity to current understanding, a science of learning perspective positions prior knowledge as central to organising and reassembling new information in [...]
In the 1970s, Professor Matthew Lipman advocated the introduction of philosophy into schools as a way to convert the classroom into a ‘community of enquiry’ ((Lipman, 2003), p. 15) and develop children’s ability to reason. Philosophy for Children (P4C) provides a way to develop skills in critical thinking, discussion and problem-solving. This article discusses the [...]
Learning science research aims to replace untested assumptions and intuitions about how people learn with empirically supported principles. However, many learning principles that work in the controlled context of the lab fail to translate directly to the classroom. They may not work in the classroom context or, more likely, they may work under some conditions [...]
I started teaching mathematics in 2001, and I knew from my sports coaching experience that achievement comes from proper practice, hard work and a belief that success is possible. I was known for the phrase ‘Believe2Achieve’. If a child wanted to improve and had a good coach, then they would. In terms of mathematics, teachers, [...]
Inclusive education has been a particular focus of the education system in Serbia since the 2009 Law on Foundations of the Education System (SIPRU and UNICEF, 2014), which introduced individual education plans (IEP) as a way to individualise the curriculum for each student. This implied that students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) should [...]
All experts constantly reflect upon what they are doing and how they are progressing (Stobart, 2014). If our students are to be expert learners, they must be able to reflect upon and monitor their learning . For this, they need opportunities to assess their own strengths and weaknesses and set themselves challenging, but attainable goals. The [...]
Note: The author of this article, Anastasia Soola Georgiou, works for Veema Education, an organisation offering chargeable consultancy services to schools on a range of topics. Schools have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (Department for Education, 2016). Safeguarding involves protecting children from maltreatment, preventing the impairment of children’s health or development, [...]
  Teachers are often told about the merits of teaching in mixed-attainment groups, so why do so many of us still group children in a way that much research suggests that we shouldn’t? Marks (Marks, 2016) proposes that many teachers simply lack time to consider, let alone reconsider, their grouping practices. Others have found that fears around [...]
Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) are an integral part of the UK education system, providing education for pupils who have been excluded from mainstream school. The dominant discourse around PRUs is an overwhelmingly negative one, focusing on their limitations and emphasising the bleak prospects for pupils who end up going to PRUs, ‘The general consensus is [...]
Put diesel fuel in the tank of a diesel car, and the cogs and pistons smoothly tick. Put petrol in a diesel engine – the mechanics cease to run smoothly, and problems begin to develop.  Feedback can have the same effect – it can either power your students’ learning journey or leave them liable to [...]
  An important point in the establishment of a new secondary school is the making of its curriculum. In 2013, XP School, Doncaster, invited researchers from Sheffield Hallam University (joined in 2016 by Auckland University) to work with its teachers, involving school visits, sharing of curriculum plans and curriculum evaluation. This paper describes the research-informed [...]
In sport, we often refer to what is known as a ‘challenge vs threat’ state: the idea that performers need to feel they have the knowledge, resources and external support to take on the challenges that face them. Similarly in a classroom context, each time a student walks into a class, they make a judgement [...]
Changing perspectives When I began teaching, back in 2003, I was frequently told that I was a teacher first and subject specialist second. There was a prevalent idea that we should be teaching generic transferable skills, such as evaluation or interpretation, and that our subjects were just a vehicle through which this was delivered. This [...]
Lawrence Stenhouse, a former president of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and British Curriculum Forum (BCF) founder, was one of the most distinguished, original and influential educationalists of his generation. His theories about curriculum, pedagogy, teacher research and research as a basis for teaching remain compelling. Stenhouse (Stenhouse, 1971) held strongly to the view [...]
‘Beyond the curriculum’ – trainee teachers’ models of knowledge Sam Twiselton This article discusses how pedagogical knowledge can be conceptualised within ITE to support trainee teachers with developing effective learners. In data collected from a large sample of student teachers on a range of ITE programmes over a five-year period, involving systematic observation of a [...]
My doctorate, completed in 2017 at Middlesex University, was all about balancing teaching and parenthood.  I examined what it is to be a teacher and parent from both ends of the telescope. From one end, I explored ‘role enrichment’, whereby: …teachers regularly identify and celebrate the compatibility and mutual benefits of combining the two roles [...]
Our CPD packs are designed to support members in further exploring the themes raised in each Impact journal. CPD packs provide guidance and resources to help facilitate staff CPD based on key articles from each issue. This pack is related to the following two articles: Effective learning: Beyond the traditional/progressive Punch and Judy show written [...]
Our CPD packs are designed to support members in further exploring the themes raised in each Impact journal. CPD packs provide guidance and resources to help facilitate staff CPD based on key articles from each issue. This pack is related to the following two articles: Speaking up: The importance of oracy in teaching and learning [...]