Andy talked about how we used the wisdom of great teachers we had worked with over the years, alongside evidence from educational research and cognitive science, to distil great teaching into six pedagogical principles, in our book ‘Making every lesson count’.
Having unpicked some of the key elements, of each of the six principles, Andy then went on to talk about why this approach has been useful to us a school:
- It allows a tight but loose approach to teaching – teachers are free to implement the six principles in their classroom in a way that best suits them, their subject and the students they are teaching. They have professional autonomy.
- When we talk about great teaching at Durrington now, we have a common language.
- They are meaningful for all – the six principles apply equally to all subjects.
- It encourages purposeful practice for teachers – teachers are encouraged to identify aspects of one of the principles, and refine their teaching around this e.g. I will focus on modelling extended writing to my Y10 class who are struggling with this.
Following this, I talked about how we have used a variety of CPD activities over the past few years, to grow a culture of great teaching that is framed around these six principles.
To begin with, we had wide variety of teaching approaches going on around the school, based around people’s differing perceptions around what constituted effective teaching. Whilst based on the best intentions, a number of these approaches had very little evidence to suggest that they were effective. So, the first part of our work was to refine this down, so that all staff had a shared understanding of what made effective teaching – represented by the top half of the diagram above. This was not a fast process – we are talking about years, rather than months. Slides 24-38 show some of the ways we did this.
Once we were happy that we had pretty much a shared understanding of effective teaching across the staff, shaped around the six principles, we were then able to give teachers/ subject areas the freedom to develop the principles, in a way that best suited their subject, them as teachers and the students they were teaching at that time – the tight but loose approach. This is represented by the bottom half of the diagram and slides 40-46 show how we approach this through CPD.
Is it all working? We think so. Exam results continue to go up, staff retention is very high and around the school, teachers enjoy talking about teaching and sharing ideas with each other.
We are delighted that the ‘Making every lesson count’ family has grown, with the publication of these three new books:
- Making every primary lesson count – Jo Payne & Mel Scott
- Making every science lesson count – Shaun Allison
- Making every English lesson count – Andy Tharby