Part of the Great Teaching Toolkit
WEEKLY STUDY: 1 HOUR
DURATION: 8 WEEKS
This course provides an evidence-based overview of why and how effective structuring helps students reinforce learning and prevent forgetting, and what great teachers do to use it effectively. You will explore how these principles can be applied in the classroom, before practising selecting and adapting individual teaching strategies for different contexts to prepare for the next steps of your personalised professional development.
What will you learn?
Great teachers create appropriate sequences of desirably difficult learning tasks for their students and demonstrate what success in them looks like. They help their students to understand why a particular activity is taking place and how current learning fits into a wider structure. They draw attention to key ideas and signal transitions between activities that focus on different parts of the journey.
Effective structuring often involves signalling learning objectives through examples of the kinds of problems, tasks and questions learners will be able to do. It also often highlights examples of work that demonstrate them, with a clear story about how and why each piece of work meets each aim.
Great teachers recognise that complex tasks often require scaffolding, beginning with a simplified or limited version of the task to make it manageable. A knowledge of individual students’ needs, including SEND, comes into play here. One of the defining characteristics of great teachers is that they require all students to achieve success. Scaffolding provides a gentler entry, but the destination remains the same. Lower-attainers may take longer and need more help, and great teachers understand and plan for this. In this course, you’ll learn about:
- the role of curriculum in the learning journey;
- effectively scaffolding learning;
- choosing, matching and sequencing learning tasks to your students’ needs; and
- signalling how learning tasks contribute to learning goals.
Over the first six weeks of this course, you’ll explore the evidence on effective structuring, learning about both the selection and the sequencing of appropriate, desirably difficult tasks which support all learners to build on their current knowledge and skill. You’ll think about how tasks you select and use can promote deep – rather than just surface-level – thinking, building towards abstraction and generalisation, as well as the connectedness and flexibility of ideas (rather than just reproduction of facts or procedures).
In the final two weeks, once you have thought hard about the principles underpinning effective structuring, you’ll move on to practise the act of selecting and adapting strategies for use in the classroom, based on your growing knowledge.