What works best 2020 update

This publication was originally published 24 April 2020.

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Summary

This paper is an update to our 2014 publication. The 2020 update outlines eight quality teaching practices that are known to support school improvement and enhance the learning outcomes of our students. The themes are not an exhaustive list of effective practices, but are a useful framework for teachers and school leaders to consider when deciding how to tackle student improvement.

The eight themes identified as likely to make the biggest difference to our students are:

1. High expectations

Teachers’ beliefs about their students influence how they teach and interact with them. High expectations are linked with higher performance for all students. The reverse can also be true. Students may achieve less than their full potential if expectations of their ability are low.

2. Explicit teaching

Explicit teaching practices involve teachers clearly showing students what to do and how to do it, rather than having students discover that information themselves. Students who experience explicit teaching practices make greater learning gains than students who do not experience these practices.

3. Effective feedback

Effective feedback provides students with relevant, explicit, ongoing, constructive and actionable information about their performance against learning outcomes from the syllabus.

4. Use of data to inform practice

Teachers use data to check and understand where their students are in their learning and to plan what to do next. Effective analysis of student data helps teachers identify areas where students’ learning needs may require additional attention and development.

5. Assessment

High quality student assessment helps us know that learning is taking place. Assessment is most effective when it is an integral part of teaching and learning programs.

6. Classroom management

Classroom management is important for creating the conditions for learning. Effective classroom management minimises and addresses all levels of disengagement and disruptive behaviours.

7. Wellbeing

At school, the practices that support student wellbeing involve creating a safe environment; ensuring connectedness; engaging students in their learning; and promoting social and emotional skills.

8. Collaboration

Professional collaboration allows best practice to be identified and shared across classrooms. Effective collaboration explicitly aims to improve teacher practices and student outcomes.

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