Classroom practice that promotes pupil learning (1)

  1. Orientation of pupils at the start of the lesson to the lesson topic/content
    As a teacher you can do this by:
    1.1 Directing the attention of pupils to the key elements/concepts that they will be learning during the course of the lesson;
    1.2 Explaining the purpose of the lesson and the lesson objectives in simple everyday language and repeating this information from time to time during the course of the lesson;
    1.3 Posting or writing the lesson objectives on the board and/or giving the pupils a copy of the lesson objectives and checking that the pupils understand what they mean;
    1.4 Explaining to the pupils how the content of the lesson is linked to what they have learned previously in this subject;
    1.5 Arousing pupil’s interest in the lesson content/topic by linking the lesson topic to an idea or story they may be of personal interest to them;
    1.6 Posing questions to pupils about the topic to ensure that they remain attentive and engaged in the lesson topic;
    1.7 Challenging pupils to master the topic/subject content/skill. This is particularly important if the topic is one that the pupils will find difficult;
    1.8 Helping pupils to manage their learning by making use of advanced organisers, study questions, concept mapping etc.
    1.9 Encouraging pupils to participate fully in the lesson by providing them with opportunities to ask questions and to provide explanations of what they have learned.
  2. Clear focused instruction
    As a teacher you can do this by:
    2.1 Providing pupils with clear and specific information about the lesson topic/content together with instructions about what you expect them to do with the information you provide;
    2.2 Explaining the work in a clear and simple manner using words that the pupils will understand;
    2.3 Providing pupils with sufficient opportunities to practice independently what they are learning, with guidance where this is needed, until they have mastered the content, knowledge or skill that they have been taught.
    2.4 Providing pupils with strategies that they can use to help them to remember, apply, and practice what they have learned;
    2.5 Setting pupils exercises, tasks and activities which test the extent to which each has mastered the content knowledge and/or skill that they have been taught.
  3. Routine feedback and reinforcement of learning and progress
    As a teacher you can do this by:
    3.1 Providing pupils individually and collectively with immediate feedback on their verbal and written responses to questions posed during the course of the lesson. These responses should focus on correcting misunderstandings and errors in their thinking rather on whether their responses are correct or incorrect;
    3.2 Acknowledging correct responses;
    3.3 Praising correct answers and good work;
    3.4 Providing verbal reinforcement of correct answers or good progress together with explanations for why the given answer is correct;
    3.5 Using correct answers and/or evidence of progress that has been made to reinforce lesson goals;
    3.6 Using peer evaluation techniques as a means of providing feedback and guidance;
    3.7 Assigning homework on a regular basis to pupils in Grade 4 and above. All homework set should be corrected and returned promptly with feedback on progress, together with guidance and support on how to address errors and weaknesses.
  4. Review and re-teach where this may be required
    As a teacher you can do this by:
    4.1 Identifying those facts, concepts and skills that pupils have failed to master or are unsure of;
    4.2 Re-teaching and/or providing pupils with opportunities for further practice in mastering the facts, concepts and skills in which pupil performance has been poor;
    4.3 Using alternative approaches and activities when re-teaching subject matter with a focus on addressing the specific weaknesses that you have identified;
    4.4 Identifying those pupils who appear to be most at risk for further individual and small group support outside of the normal teaching time.
    4.5 Revisit from time to time during the course of the year, those topics, facts, concepts and skills that pupils most need to have mastered if they are to progress in the subject.
  5. Develop pupil’s critical and creative thinking and study skills
    As a teacher you can do this by:
    5.1 Teaching pupils study- and problem solving- skills, including the skills of paraphrasing, mind-mapping, classification, hypothesising etc. together with opportunities to practice these skills;
    5.2 Providing pupils with examples of practical, real-world activities which they can use to test their critical and creative thinking skills as well as the fundamental knowledge, concepts and skills that they have learned during the course of the school year;
    5.3 Challenging pupils with higher order questions while allowing them sufficient time to articulate reasoned answers;
    5.4 Using instructional strategies such as probing, re-direction and reinforcement to improve the quality of pupil’s responses to questions you have posed or tasks that you have set.
  6. Use effective questioning techniques to build basic and higher-level thinking
    As a teacher you can do this by:
    6.1 Making regular use of classroom questions to engage the attention of pupils and to monitor their understanding of the material being taught;
    6.2 Structuring your questions in a way that focuses pupil attention on the key elements of the lesson;
    6.3 Posing questions at the start of a lesson to stimulate pupil’s thinking about the lesson content;
    6.4 Using both lower order (fact and recall type responses) and higher order (hypothetical and interpretive type responses) questions to test pupils understanding of what has been taught.
    6.5 Posing questions to both volunteering (those who raise their hands or call out) and non-volunteering (those who stay silent) pupils;
    6.6 Ensuring that every pupil is required, on a regular basis, to respond individually to questions that you have posed.
    6.7 Ensuring that in the high grades (Grade 7 and above) at least 50% of your questions are higher-order questions.
    6.8 Ensuring that when questions are posed to weaker pupils they are given sufficient time to respond;
    6.9 Avoiding questions that are vague, too difficult for the cognitive levels of pupils or are trick questions.1 Based on Research you can use to Improve Results: Section 3: Instruction and Instructional Improvement, Northwest Regional Education Laboratory (2001). Downloaded from

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