Parent-Friendly Pedagogical Principles
Pedagogy refers to the way in which teachers teach, both in theory and in practice. At Chalklands, we have selected ten pedagogical principles, based on our knowledge of the five schools as well as current research, that ensure our lessons are planned and delivered in a way which enables all children to know more, remember more and do more, every day and in every classroom.
Key Sources: Coe - Great Teaching, Ebbinghaus - Retrieval Practice, EEF - Cognitive Science, Rosenshine - Principles of Instruction, Sweller - Cognitive Load
Relationships - Teachers make and maintain positive relationships with all children to give them the confidence and drive to succeed.
We aim to develop positive relationships between all adults and children and pride ourselves on creating an inclusive and nurturing environment where children grow a true passion for learning. All relationships are characterised by mutual respect, trust, care and empathy. We use positive praise to motivate children and foster a risk-taking environment where children are encouraged to challenge themselves and use any mistakes as a learning opportunity to build confidence and self-esteem.
Links, Joins and Connections - Strong links and connections are made between prior learning and new knowledge to strengthen the learning process.
Our lessons are carefully designed to make learning fun and memorable by breaking down each lesson into smaller, more manageable learning chunks. This may include reactivating prior knowledge before extending, or adding to, this existing knowledge. We make careful and purposeful links between learning and ensure all lessons are coherently sequenced.
Retrieval Practice - Children are given the opportunity to recall and revisit prior learning to help them to remember more.
Learning is defined as an alteration in long-term memory which is achieved by integrating new ideas with existing knowledge. In order to retain knowledge and slow the rate of forgetting, previously learned information must be reactivated during new learning. This occurs via retrieval practice, which is carefully planned opportunities that allow children to recall, revisit and revise their prior learning in order to strengthen working-to-long-term memory connections, which in turn increases how much children remember. We plan a range of retrieval activities, for example low stakes quizzes, fill in the blanks, labelling a diagram, error spotting and many more.
Cognitive Load - We ensure our classrooms, routines and lesson content reduce unnecessary distractions so children can focus on any new learning being taught.
Another key principle in ensuring children are able to easily process new information is avoiding overloading children’s working memories. We ensure our classrooms are calm and purposefully designed to reduce unnecessary distractions, for example displays only show content that is relevant and useful to the children. We also strive to establish clear routines to enable children to think less about the things they repeatedly do. Finally, with all new learning, we ensure prior knowledge is reactivated before teaching new knowledge which helps bring information to the forefront of the mind to strengthen learning.
Support and Challenge - All children are supported and challenged to achieve their full potential with the aim to succeed in all lessons.
We pride ourselves in our inclusive approach to learning where we ensure through our carefully planned lessons and expert teaching that all children achieve their full potential and are able to succeed in all lessons. We adapt our lessons to suit the needs of all learners and will use strategies to support where needed, for example extra scaffolding, smaller steps in learning, frames, use of adult support, partial examples and many more. We also ensure all children are enabled to think hard within all lessons, no matter their starting point and provide appropriate resources to support and/or challenge as necessary.
Language - We have high expectations of vocabulary across the school and ensure our lessons and classrooms are language-rich which includes plenty of opportunities for spoken language.
Language is integral in education. We offer all children the opportunity to engage with a wide range of collaborative discussion opportunities, where they are encouraged to use specific vocabulary which is often assisted by the use of sentence starters and a ‘fill in the blank’ approach. We demonstrate high expectations for spoken language, as well as for reading by modelling reading aloud clearly and regularly to support children with their oral reading skills.
Modelling, Explaining, Instructing - We offer clear guidance and explanations to children to give them the confidence to succeed in a task independently.
When presenting children with new ideas, we break down, present and communicate these clearly and concisely with engaging and high-quality explanations. Where appropriate, we use technology to support our teaching and use effective and varied representations, clear examples (including examples that are incorrect to provide a talking point) and worked examples to support children’s thinking and ability to visualise concepts and ideas taught. We provide clear instructions and procedural steps where appropriate to build confidence and narrate our thought processes to model this skill to the children.
Questioning - Teachers use a wide range of questioning techniques to support children to be successful within all lessons and have the confidence to contribute to class discussions without the fear of making mistakes.
We adopt a variety of questioning techniques in our classrooms to promote a ‘questioning classroom’ where children feel confident and comfortable to ask and answer questions. We use a large number of questions to draw out misconceptions, explore concepts, clarify, check and deepen understanding. These questions are often pre-planned and targeted in order to support and challenge a range of learners to think hard. We have a nurturing environment and children are discouraged from putting their hands up to answer questions so that all children are engaged and feel comfortable to contribute to class discussion. Teachers also offer a range of response strategies, for example, whole-class whiteboard responses, think-pair-share ‘say it again better’, choral responses, and ‘do you agree or disagree?’.
Guided and Independent Practice - Children are supported and encouraged through their tasks through careful guidance from the teachers and their peers. This then enables them to be successful independent learners.
After our clear and concise modelling, explaining and instructing, we enable pupils to make progress through their guided and independent practice. This is time for the children to practise, apply, consolidate and record their learning. When guiding children through this stage, we adopt an ‘I do, we do, you do’ structure to support children to build confidence before becoming independent. Our independent practice enables children to 'overlearn’ a concept and apply their knowledge. This practice may be across a range of contexts at different times of the day.
Assessment and Feedback - Our assessment procedures are designed to identify gaps in children’s learning and act on these rapidly and effectively, ensuring meaningful feedback is given.
We adopt a process of finding out - acting - checking impact - revisiting in order to ensure children’s learning is secure before moving on. Where children’s learning is not secure, we provide rapid, in-the-moment feedback or respond to errors and address misconceptions in a timely manner. This supports children to deepen their understanding and avoids gaps being made or widened which are harder to address at a later date. As always, enthusiasm and praise is at the heart of any feedback we give to ensure children’s confidence is always being built by enabling them to experience success.