Think about teacher-student relationships: This may also seem obvious, but the interactions teachers have with students has a big impact on learning – as well as the “classroom climate”. The report said that it was important to create a classroom environment that was “constantly demanding more” while affirming students’ self-worth. A student’s success should be attributed to effort rather than ability.
Instruction matters: The quality of teaching has a big impact on the achievement of students’ from poorer backgrounds, and effective questioning and assessment are at the heart of great teaching. This involves giving enough time for children to practise new skills and introducing learning progressively. Defining effective teaching isn’t easy, the report conceded, but research always returns to the fact that student progress is the yardstick by which teacher quality should be assessed.
Know your subject: The report, which looked at more than 200 pieces of research, found that there were six main elements to great teaching and one of the most important ones was subject knowledge. It may seem obvious, but the report found that the best teachers have a deep knowledge of their subject, and if that falls below a certain point it has “significant impact” on students’ learning. Targeted help for teachers, giving them an understanding of particular areas where their knowledge is weak, could be effective.
Teacher beliefs count: The reasons why teachers do certain things in the classroom and what they hope to achieve have an effect on student progress. Belief about the nature of Maths and what it means to understand it, along with teachers’ ideas about how children learn and their role in that process was an important factor in how effective they were. Evidence to support this is not conclusive, however.