Teaching and Learning 7
Our approach to Teaching and Learning at Paddington Academy is informed by current research and evidence, including cognitive science and Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. We talk about the ‘gold standard’ of Teaching and Learning – our ‘T&L 7’ is framed in every classroom as a constant reminder of what excellent teaching looks like. We present material in small steps, model and use guided practice to support students’ written work. We make use of frequent, high-quality and responsive formative assessment throughout every lesson, asking questions, checking for understanding and responding to misconceptions.
The importance of remembering
Fundamentally, progress is knowing more and remembering more. When planning and delivering lessons, we constantly come back to the concept that ‘learning is a change in long-term memory’, and that teaching for understanding is not enough – if our students don’t remember the material we have delivered, then nothing has been learned.
We’re acutely aware of the impact of Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve on our students’ recall of the knowledge that they need to be successful. To counter this, we build retrieval practice into our lessons, homework and the very structure of our curriculum to ensure that students have every chance to remember the knowledge they have been taught.
- At the start of every lesson, students complete a ‘do now’ activity.
Students recall recently taught knowledge and are then provided with feedback. The act of recalling knowledge helps to encode it into their long-term memory and support the learning process.
- We space out the content that we teach, revisiting it in homework and interleaving other topics to support students’ retention.
- We compile our knowledge organisers with our subjects’ core knowledge in mind, so that students’ have the knowledge that they need to achieve fluency and build schema.
Our lessons make use of the ‘I do, we do, you do’ structure of instruction. We know that this supports students’ understanding.
- During the ‘I do’ phase, teachers introduce new knowledge with clear models and explanations.
We always teach to the top so that every student is challenged.
We ensure that all students, including those with SEND, follow the same, ambitious curriculum. Teachers tailor their approach to the classes they teach through the use of scaffolds and smaller steps.
- Teachers and students enter a period of guided instruction (‘we do’). Teachers spend time asking students questions, checking for understanding, correcting errors and guiding students while they work out problems. This ensures that students have a much higher chance of experiencing success during independent work.
- Students then complete work independently (‘you do’), engaging in plenty of written practice, extended writing or a period of performance. Teachers continue to circulate and provide feedback to students during this phase.
How do we get better at teaching?
We are proud of the very high standard of teaching and learning in every lesson at Paddington Academy, but we know that ‘every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.’ Our teaching staff engage in a comprehensive and rigorous programme of professional development to ensure that our students are receiving the best possible quality of education.
- Every member of teaching staff engages in a weekly Curriculum Masterclass, focusing on developing their subject and curricular knowledge.
- Every teacher also engages in a fortnightly Deliberate Practice session, during which they discuss and rehearse a specific teaching strategy.
- We run a separate, fortnightly programme of Continuing Professional Development. Strands have included curriculum leadership, SEND development and leadership development.