Developing teaching & learning

Evidence-based research

We are committed to investing in and developing evidence based research into what actually works in schools to improve learning.

The Visible Classroom Project

Our most recent project, The Visible Classroom Project (VCP) was run by John Hattie who is the director of Melbourne Education Research. Lessons are recorded via mobile phone app and what the teacher says is transcribed by someone in Melbourne and then sent back to the teacher. The programme consisted of four recording cycles. Ten, sixty minute lessons of either English or Mathematics were then analysed.

Lessons were recorded over a fortnight and worked through a block of learning. A couple of weeks later you receive analytics back and discuss the findings. The aim being to move teaching on and more importantly analyse your questioning, talk speed and how much of the lesson the teacher talks.

Key Findings:

  • Words per minute (WPM) spoken by the teacher should be no greater than 124
  • Ask more open ended questions
  • Teacher talk time should be between 30 - 50%
  • Scaffold activities clearly for children
  • Collaboration seen as best practice
  • Linking content of teaching to the real world
  • Repeating comments from pupils and summarise more often
  • Clear success criteria
  • 2 - 3 pieces of collaboration per lesson

Following the research, John Hattie and his team have found variables that are proven to have a high and low impact in the classroom. The aim is to focus on the high impact strategies such as: the focus of learning, provide the right proportion of surface to deep (extend learning); maximise feedback to teachers about their impact on the pupils; errors and trust are welcomed as opportunities to learn; goldilocks principle of challenge (three different challenges); show the children the goal posts and provide explicit success criteria; setting high expectations for all; finally teachers and students should work together as evaluators of their impact.

From the VCP it has become clear that the teacher needs to talk slower and prompt children to ask more questions whilst the teacher asks more open ended questions. Feedback needs to be relevant and timely and children need clear guidance on how to achieve the lesson objective. Children learn from their peers so collaboration with peers is vital in learning. Don't be afraid to repeat questions and a positive classroom environment is a must.