What makes great teaching? Over Trusting?

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What makes great teaching? Over Trusting?

3 Nov ’14 Teaching 0

If I am unsure of my own opinion, I search for comment and perspective from a huddle of trusted educationalists. Educationalists kind enough to unravel their own thoughts and practices online, open to us to read and challenge. Alex Quigley and Shaun Allison had already written up their Sutton Trust summaries. Tom Sherrington and John Tomsett (gallivanting global trotters, invited to the Sutton Trust/Gates Foundation Summit in Washington DC) managed a short-ish post too. All the main news groups had posted.

These articles (and most of the comments) read positively and yet something didn’t feel quiet right, something about the recommendations irked me. Dig a little deeper through the “effective teaching” Twitter search timeline and there were a handful slightly cynical questioning tweets.

There is no one infallible recipe for success in the classroom…there’s as much art as science in effective teaching

What makes effective teaching is extremely hard to identify but don’t do this?!?!

Why haven’t Buzzfeed published a “21 Things We Learned From The Sutton Report On Effective Teaching” story yet?

Yay! The Sutton report is now a ten point tick list.

The scholarly work and its recommendations are “useful,” and it is not the report itself that irked me. Perhaps like the comments above would suggest it was the quick assertion that the recommendations could be presented as a recipe of effective teaching. Worse the forth coming lists “Thou shalt not praise: the seven deadly sins of teaching.” I can see the intuitive appeal of lists, in much the same way I can see the intuitive appeal of learning styles, and we know, only too well, how precarious that opinion capsized.

Prof Coe is a credible, genuine and open public speaker. He is also very collaborative, generously sharing his presentations. Indeed you can read Sutton/Gates super summit presentation hot off the press here. After hearing Professor Coe outline how complex teaching was, and hence how complicated educational research is, I hope we haven’t over-simplified teaching.

Effective teaching may benefit from you knowing your onions. Instruction may matter and beliefs count (or at least having some matter). Making it challenging before making it easy may be better in the long run (though the class may be unsettled for longer?) Relationships that build a challenging class climate may trump effective classroom management and synthetic praise may undermine the credibility of genuine praise. Meantime ability setting seem to be getting a moral beating and who remembers learning styles anyway?

So, the inevitable lists of do’s and don’ts. Hard first. Followed by the easier question. I have been learning too.

Spot the red herring.

Eight teaching don’ts: Seven teaching dos:
  1. Use praise lavishly.
  2. Allow learners to discover key ideas for themselves.
  3. Group learners by ability.
  4. Encourage re-reading and highlighting to memorise key ideas.
  5. Address low confidence and aspirations before teaching content.
  6. Blindly follow teaching don’t lists.
  7. Present information to learners in their preferred learning style.
  8. Ensure learners are always active, rather than listening passively, if you want them to remember.
  1. Have deep subject knowledge.
  2. Ensure quality of instruction, such as good use of questioning.
  3. Insist on a demanding classroom climate/expectations.
  4. Have strong behaviour / classroom management.
  5. Question teaching do lists.
  6. Have firm beliefs about why teachers adopt certain practices.
  7. Illustrate professional behaviours such as reflecting on and developing professional practice.

 

 

Eight teaching don’ts: Seven teaching do’s:
  1. Use praise lavishly.
  2. Allow learners to discover key ideas for themselves.
  3. Group learners by ability.
  4. Encourage re-reading and highlighting to memorise key ideas.
  5. Address low confidence and aspirations before teaching content.
  6. Present information to learners in their preferred learning style.
  7. Ensure learners are always active, rather than listening passively, if you want them to remember.
  8. Blindly follow teaching don’t lists.
  1. Have deep subject knowledge.
  2. Ensure quality of instruction, such as good use of questioning.
  3. Insist on a demanding classroom climate/expectations.
  4. Have strong behaviour / classroom management.
  5. Have firm beliefs about why teachers adopt certain practices.
  6. Illustrate professional behaviours such as reflecting on and developing professional practice.
  7. Question teaching do lists.

Effective teaching; the right choice at the right time, based on evident learner needs.

#globaleduchangemakers

 

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