Shareday Friday – Eleven proven characteristics of outstanding primary pedagogy

Each Friday I gift a little something back to the online educational community. This week it is a list of 11 proven characteristics of outstanding teaching. Although it refers specifically to primary pedagogy it is true of any teaching.

After a week interviewing candidates in London I have come to Fuengirola to join the 37th annual conference of the National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS). This week’s gift back to the online educational community comes from one of the presentations I saw this afternoon. Brenda Taggart is the principle investigator/research coordinator for the Effective Education Project. This is a study that began in 1997 and has branched out into sub studies as it has followed 3000 children on their journey through schools.

The full report into effective primary pedagogy has been published by Pearson and can be read here. (Exploring Effective Pedagogy in Primary Schools: Evidence from Research).

Here is an overview of the eleven characteristics of effective pedagogy in primary schools.

1: Organisation
The best teachers organise teaching time effectively. No lesson time is wasted. There is a good pace and the classroom reflects established and effective routines. Children show signs of independence within the classroom.

2: Shared goals
There are clear shared learning objectives. Not just written down as a title but understood by all children in the classroom.

3: Homework
Homework is used purposefully. It is directly linked to the learning taking place in class.

4: Classroom climate
There is a positive classroom climate. The relationship between pupils and teacher and between pupils themselves reflects positivity in learning.

5: Behaviour management
Behaviour is effectively managed through engaging pupils in their learning.

6: Collaborative learning
Children work collaboratively. This is more than just grouping children by ability and sitting them around a table. They talk about their learning, share their learning and provide peer feedback about learning.

7: Personalised learning
Differentiation is appropriate and considered. Teaching resources are rich, purposeful and matched to individuals.

8: Making links explicit
Lessons build effectively on prior knowledge and identify next steps. Cross and extra-curricular links are clear and explicit. Children are provided with opportunities to apply their knowledge and solve problems.

9: Dialogic teaching and learning
Pupils think. Open ended questions are an embedded part of lessons and are used to develop deeper understanding. Children’s talk is encouraged and moderated.

10: Assessment for learning
Ongoing formative assessment is built into every lesson.

11: Plenary
This is definitely a case of “last but not least”, especially in the case of literacy and numeracy lessons. Discussions take place at the end of the lessons to bring together main learning concepts and rehearse key learning objectives.


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