Teaching and learning

Leading CPD practitioners including Sue Cowley, Mike Gershon and David Didau offer their advice on the key topics in teaching and learning to help you to grow and develop as a teacher.

Andy Sammons, Head of Department of a large secondary school and author of 'The Compassionate Teacher' (@andy_samm) shares his thoughts on 2020-2021: a year like no other.

by Andy Sammons
16th March 2021

In the dim and distant past, just before the pandemic kicked off, I remember having pizza with my family – a huge get-together for my nephew’s ninth birthday. The conversation meandered onto ‘all the nonsense kicking off in China.’ We’d finished... read more

As schools adjust to the realities of post-lockdown learning, could vocabulary development help to close the attainment gap?

by Teachit's word gap team
28th September 2020

Bridging the learning gap caused by COVID-19 and providing support for students who have fallen behind academically is a key challenge for all schools, but learning loss has been particularly severe for some. The attainment gap will inevitably widen as... read more

Every year, a third of children fail to achieve a standard pass in GCSE Maths and English. In 'The forgotten third', leading educationalists, teachers and politicians argue that this injustice is built into our school and exam system - and make a compelling case for change.

by Kate Lee, Senior Editor
22nd September 2020

The forgotten third: Do a third have to fail for two thirds to pass?  Edited by Roy Blatchford (John Catt, 2020)    A third of children in our schools are seen as ‘failing’ but in truth it’s our institutions that are failing them. In this ... read more

Emily Seeber is a Head of Science and passionate about collaborative learning, teacher-led research, and sharing best practice. She strives to unite theory and practice in an accessible way and is a regular author for TES and 'Education in Chemistry'. Here she shares her ideas for a progressive practical science curriculum.

by Emily Seeber
6th September 2020

Students find linking between what they can observe and the scientific ideas, extremely challenging, but this will be assessed in the exam. How can we bring together what they see and what this means? Pre-lab tasks increase student efficiency and accuracy... read more

Sarah Longshaw has been a science teacher for over 20 years and has developed educational resources for a variety of providers. She is an active member of the Association for Science Education (ASE) and holds Chartered Science Teacher status. Here she shares her experience how to make the most of asking questions in the classroom.

by Sarah Longshaw
6th September 2020

Teachers ask a lot of questions, but not all questions are the same. We have questions which: actively involve students in the lesson increase motivation or interest evaluate students’ preparation check on completion of work develop critical... read more

Rob Butler was a special school science teacher for twenty years and has worked with mainstream schools as an advanced skills teacher (AST). Here he shares his experience with 20 SEND tips, ideas and approaches for science teachers.

by Rob Butler
5th September 2020

The 2018 DfE census told us that 14.6% of students had diagnosed special needs, representing 1,276,215 students. This number had increased from the previous year and the trend looks likely to continue. Examination reports with grade breakdowns released... read more

Adam Boxer is Head of Science at an academy in North London. He has been involved in evidence-based practice, and presents nationally and internationally on behalf of ResearchEd. As a founder member of CogSciSci, he is particularly interested in applying the findings of cognitive science in the science classroom. Here he shares his ideas for helping students to master the huge science curriculum.

by Adam Boxer
5th September 2020

With the increased focus on knowledge and long term memory in the new science GCSE, there is no doubt that many schools in the country are having to rapidly adapt. It’s a whole new level of demand, and even with the time gained from the loss of controlled... read more

Emily Quinn has been teaching science for over 7 years, and she's the author of the AQA Required Practical Lab Books for the current GCSE specification, along with KS3 and KS4 science intervention resources. Here she shares her creative ideas for Required practicals.

by Emily Quinn
4th September 2020

These 20 ideas are aimed at helping all students get the most out of the Required Practicals as experiences that help them flourish as scientists rather than a set of methods to be committed to memory. With a focus on Apparatus... read more

Ed Walsh is an author, editor, CPD provider and curriculum developer. He was a teacher for 20 years, over half of those as a team leader. Ed is a regional development leader for the National STEM Learning Centre, senior regional hub leader for the Primary Science Quality Mark and a CPD trainer for AQA. Here he shares his experience of effective technology for the science classroom.

by Ed Walsh
27th August 2020

There are several reasons why we should use technology in the classroom. Firstly, and most obviously, it can be motivating. Content can be presented on a screen in an engaging way, be interactive and demand a response. Students often feel more inclined... read more

Children with a ‘word gap’ – a smaller vocabulary than others – are disadvantaged in ways which can affect their whole lives, and school closures have made the problem worse. Here are 18 flexible ideas to share with parents and try at home.

by Teachit's word gap team
27th August 2020

Closing the word gap: a toolkit for parents Children with a ‘word gap’ – a smaller vocabulary than others – are disadvantaged in ways which can affect their whole lives. Studies have shown that children with a limited vocabulary make slower progress... read more

Mark Burns is an experienced former teacher who helps teachers to improve the quality of teaching and learning in their classrooms through video analysis. He is the co-author of 'Engaging Learners and Teaching Backwards' and 'The Learning Imperative'. Here are his suggestions for a practitioner's toolkit to maximise students' feelings of competency.

by Mark Burns
25th August 2020

It was like watching a totally different student. Earlier in the day I’d been in a geography lesson with Malik, where he’d given the impression that he’d had it with school aged just 14. He appeared disinterested, and barely did anything without continuous... read more

Following school closures, many schools will be focusing on vocabulary development as part of the recovery curriculum to help to close the attainment gap. If you are a tutor, you’ll find 20 engaging ideas to increase students' vocabulary and close the word gap in tutor time.

by Teachit's word gap team
24th August 2020

Tutors can help to close the word gap by inspiring students with a curiosity about words, by encouraging talking, sharing a love of books and reading, and having fun with words. Here are some ideas to help you get started: Classroom displays  1.... read more

Torsten Payne has over 20 years’ experience teaching in a range of settings, from big cities to rural comprehensives. A regular contributor to teaching publications and national conferences, he delivers staff training to schools across Europe. He is the author of 'Stretch and Challenge for ALL: Practical Resources for Getting the Best Out of Every Student'. Here are his tips for working with gifted and talented students.

by Torsten Payne
20th August 2020

Lesson planning 1. An attainment ceiling? Consider if there is a ceiling for highest attaining. If some students regularly achieve perfect scores, then they aren’t being challenged. 2. Peering. When designing your seating plans, sit the most able... read more

Tom Barwood is an experienced geography teacher, author of the best-selling 'Learning to Learn', and founder of Likeminds Consulting. Here are his ideas for introducing the process of learning to students.

by Tom Barwood
20th August 2020

Revision, knowledge, learning, exams. Not words that fill anyone (especially students) with excitement, but ones which are important. Yet, when it comes to something that is interesting or of significance to life, e.g. a driving test, students are desperate... read more

Sometimes trying something new, whether it's a revision game or even a gimmick, will help to kick-start the revision process for students who are struggling to get down to it. Here are 20 creative and fun ideas to try in class or at home.

by Teachit's editorial team
17th August 2020

SWOT. Get students to do their own SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities prior to starting their revision so that they target the areas they know least well. Recall revision. In an exam, students will often need to... read more

Fun, engaging and original ideas for starter activities to help busy teachers with effective lesson planning. Our editorial team, all experienced teachers, share their favourite, tried and trusted starters.

by Teachit's editorial team
17th August 2020

Object identification. Bring in objects relating to the lesson content. Can students predict the topic/content/learning outcomes?  Agree/disagree. Give students statements relating to prior learning, the topic you are studying or a contentious/relevant... read more

Learning all your students' names can be challenging, particularly at the beginning of a new school year, but it's essential for positive classroom management and relationships. We share our favourite, tried and trusted strategies to help you.

by Teachit's editorial team
17th August 2020

Name games. Play a simple name game: happy Holly, joking Jack, etc. Each student must create their own name. Mix the game up by students saying their name and passing it on. Vary adjectives according to age.  Peer naming. Say the name of a peer,... read more

Katherine Muncaster is passionate about growth mindsets and metacognition. She is the co-author of 'Growth Mindset Lessons: Every Child a Learner'. Here she shares her ideas on developing a growth mindset.

by Katherine Muncaster
17th August 2020

The concept of growth mindset (Dweck, 2000) can be used to describe how students need to feel about themselves and their abilities in order to be an effective learner. For students to be successful learners, they need to believe that intelligence can... read more

Jake Hunton is the author of 'Exam Literacy: A Guide to Doing What Works (and Not What Doesn’t) to Better Prepare Students for Exams'. Here he provides his innovative ideas for highly effective, evidence-based revision techniques.

by Jake Hunton
17th August 2020

1. Employ the Leitner method. Make 20 key terms and definitions on flashcards. Label three boxes: ‘Every day’, ‘Tuesday and Thursday’, ‘Friday’: Start revision on Monday and read the definitions. If you recall the definition perfectly, pop it in... read more

Jake Hunton is the author of 'Exam Literacy: A Guide to Doing What Works (and Not What Doesn’t) to Better Prepare Students for Exams'. He offers 8 evidence-based suggestions for highly effective revision strategies, based on proven techniques from cognitive science and psychology.

by Jake Hunton
17th August 2020

In 1997, I copied out new notes while looking at old notes from my GCSE Business Studies textbook. In 1999, I stared at the A-level Geography notes I had made in class.In 2003, I sat on a train re-reading notes from a lecture on Spanish morphology. This... read more

Quick and easy to create ideas to jolly up your classroom walls and support teaching and learning. From proud clouds to learning pockets, you'll find an idea which will work for any subject or key stage.

by Teachit's editorial team
17th August 2020

Dynamic word walls. Cut out key terms and subject words using different fonts, different-coloured card and different sizes. Laminate for longevity and stick Blu Tack on the back for an ever-changing display that allows you to foreground new vocabulary.... read more

Joe Dale is an independent languages consultant and an expert in using digital tools to support teaching and learning. Here are his tips for using technology to give feedback.

by Joe Dale
14th August 2020

One of the key principles of effective teaching and learning is giving feedback to students on their work, so they know where they are in their learning and what they need to do to improve. The traditional ways of giving feedback, through written comments... read more

From emoji exits to word tennis, there's a plenary idea which will work in any subject or key stage to consolidate students' learning and help them to reflect.

by Teachit's editorial team
11th August 2020

Memory game. Students collaboratively write all the key words from your lesson on the board. They then have two minutes to remember them all. Remove the words from the board. How many words can students remember? Encourage students to work in groups... read more

Andy Sammons (@andy_samm)is head of department for a large secondary school in the north of England, and author of 'The Compassionate Teacher'. He believes that reflecting on students’ progress is key to their success.

by Andy Sammons
11th August 2020

On reflection, it was probably the most ill-advised thing I’ve said in my ten-year career. I was in my NQT mentor meeting and I said, ‘Yep, I’m enjoying it, and the kids are getting the things I’m doing in the lessons.’ She looked back at me and said:... read more

Sue Cowley is a teacher, presenter and author of international CPD bestsellers including 'Getting the Buggers to Behave' and 'How to Survive in Your First Year of Teaching'. She shares some tips on how to look after and make best use of your voice as a teacher.

by Sue Cowley
11th August 2020

As a teacher, your voice is one of the most important resources that you have available to use in your classroom. You use it to explain the learning to your students, to encourage them in their work, to deal with their behaviour, and to perform many other... read more

Sue Cowley is a teacher, presenter and author of international CPD bestsellers including 'Getting the Buggers to Behave' and 'How to Survive in Your First Year of Teaching'. Here she outlines the benefits of metacognition and encouraging curiosity and philosophical approaches to thinking and questioning in your classroom.

by Sue Cowley
11th August 2020

The question of what students think about in class is a fascinating one, because you cannot see the thinking that is going on inside their heads. You might assess your students to see what they have remembered, look at their books, or ask them questions,... read more

Sue Cowley is a teacher, presenter and author of international CPD bestsellers, including 'Getting the Buggers to Behave' and 'How to Survive in Your First Year of Teaching'. Here she gives her advice on how to manage your workload if you are new to teaching.

by Sue Cowley
11th August 2020

Teaching is a job that will expand to meet the amount of time you are willing to devote to it. The truth is that a teacher could work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and still not get everything ‘done’, because in teaching it is always possible to... read more

Sue Cowley is a teacher, presenter and author of international CPD bestsellers, including 'Getting the Buggers to Behave' and 'How to Survive in Your First Year of Teaching'. She shares her valuable insights into how to communicate effectively with students and create an environment which supports positive behaviour management in your classroom.

by Sue Cowley
11th August 2020

Handling behaviour can be one of the trickiest parts of a teacher’s job, but there are plenty of ways to get more positive results, and to minimise the stress that poor behaviour causes you. First and foremost, let your students know what you expect... read more

David Didau – trainer, consultant, writer and former English teacher – questions the received wisdom that all marking is good marking and suggests how to make your feedback to students worthwhile. He explores the underlying reasons why marking is essential to progress and suggests ideas for how you can provide clarity, and increase students’ effort and aspirations.

by David Didau
5th August 2020

Over the past few years the expectations of how much and how often teachers are expected to mark seems to have increased dramatically. One reason for this is the research finding that feedback is the highest impact intervention that teachers can make... read more

John Medlicott is Director of JMC Education, an educational consultancy group which specialises in providing CPD for schools and colleges across the UK and globally. Here he answers some of the questions new teachers ask about metacognition and self-regulated learning.

by John Medlicott
21st October 2019

It’s hard to keep up with the pace of change in the teaching profession. New research findings, new statutory requirements, new inspection frameworks, new examination procedures, and new approaches for teaching and learning all emerge at an alarming rate.... read more

Rebecca Nobes is Head of Spanish, and recently achieved Chartered Teacher Status. She is a passionate advocate of the Chartered College of Teaching, and enjoys attending events such as ResearchEd and occasionally speaking at them. She shares her ideas about the benefits of becoming a Chartered Teacher.

by Rebecca Nobes
23rd September 2019

Chartered Teacher Status is about recognising teachers for their expertise in the classroom, rather than the leadership roles which tend to take them out of it. It's a 15 month CPD programme run by the Chartered College of Teaching, a professional body... read more

Alan Parkinson is a head of department, educational blogger and author of a range of textbooks and children’s books. He shares his ideas for supporting younger students as they join secondary school.

by Alan Parkinson
6th August 2019

The wasted years? As teachers, we know that the early stages of a student’s secondary years are important for their success, and can have a long-lasting impact on attainment throughout the secondary phase. The DfE report, ‘KS3: the wasted years?’ (2015)... read more

Richard Durant, writer, education adviser and former English teacher, looks at what exactly 'literacy' is and suggests some ideas for a whole-school plan for tackling literacy issues.

by Richard Durant
5th August 2019

When I started teaching in 1985, I was proudly introduced to the school’s new literacy co-ordinator. He was a pleasant, bearded chap with a premature stoop that I suspect he cultivated to indicate his humble, undemanding intentions. Before long, his literacy... read more

Stuart Scott is an independent consultant and director of the Collaborative Learning Project, with a wealth of teaching and consultant experience in schools as a former head teacher and OfSTED inspector. He offers his advice for embedding talk in the classroom.

by Stuart Scott
5th August 2019

Speech 'supports and propels writing forward' "Schools do not always seem to understand the importance of pupils’ talk in developing both reading and writing. Myhill and Fisher quote research which argues that ‘spoken language forms a constraint, a... read more

Mike Gershon, a leading blogger, trainer and author of a range of teaching and learning textbooks, explores how we can help our students to develop a growth mindset.

by Mike Gershon
29th May 2018

Why do some students feel they will never get any better at a subject? Why do some learners believe effort has no value and that no matter what they do things won’t change? And why do some students seem to have an irrational fear of failure and of making... read more

Sue Cowley is an experienced teacher and trainer who has written a number of best-selling books on classroom management. Here she shares her practical tips and teaching strategies for effective differentiation.

by Sue Cowley
30th April 2018

When you consider the range of experiences, knowledge and skills that the students in your classes have, it seems obvious that you would need to differentiate for them. One student might be a high attainer who frequently reads for pleasure at home; another... read more

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