Coe, R., Aloisi, C., Higgins, S., & Elliot Major, L. (2014). What makes great teaching? Review of the underpinning research. London: Sutton Trust. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from http://www.suttontrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-Makes-Great-Teaching-REPORT.pdf
- What makes “great teaching”?
- What kinds of frameworks or tools could help us to capture it?
- How could this promote better learning?
Q1. What makes “great teaching”?
Effective teaching is that which leads to improved student achievement using outcomes that matter to their future success; student progress is the yardstick by which teacher quality should be assessed. [This statement makes several assumptions: that “achievement,” or grades, indicate learning; that so-called relevance – “outcomes that matter to … future success” – is the goal of learning (with what counts as success being undefined and “outcomes” of learning assumed to be what we should value) — Sean]
Strong evidence of impact on student learning:
- content knowledge
- quality of instruction
Moderate evidence of impact on student learning:
- classroom climate
- classroom management
Some evidence of impact on student learning:
- teacher beliefs
- professional behaviours
Q2: “What kinds of frameworks/tools could help us to capture great teaching?”
A formative teacher evaluation system (based on continuous assessment and feedback rather than a high-stakes test) must triangulate a range of measures, from different sources, using a variety of methods.
Moderate validity in evaluation:
- classroom observations by peers, “superiors” or external evaluators
- “value-added” models (assessing gains in student achievement)
- student evaluations
- the judgement of superiors
- teacher self-reports
- analysis of classroom artifacts and teacher portfolios
Q3: “How could this promote better learning?”
Teacher learning can have a sizeable impact on student outcomes, especially when structured explicitly as a continuous professional learning opportunity in which
- the focus is kept clearly on improving student outcomes
- feedback is related to clear, specific and challenging goals for the recipient
- attention is on the learning rather than to the person or comparisons with others
- teachers are encouraged to be continual independent learners
- feedback is mediated by a mentor in an environment of trust and support
- an environment of professional learning and support is promoted by the institution
What doesn’t work?
Here are seven common teaching practices that are not backed up by evidence:
- Using lavish praise
Use praise that is valued by the learner
- Allowing learners to discover key ideas for themselves
Teach new ideas, knowledge or skills directly
- Grouping learners by ability
- Re-reading and highlighting
Teach students to test themselves at intervals to allow for productive forgetting
- Addressing issues of confidence and low aspirations
Enable students to succeed and their motivation and confidence should increase
- Teaching to a learner’s preferred learning style
- Active learners remember more than passive learners
Get students to think about what you want them to learn – “actively” or “passively”