The five keys of teaching and learning




Forget Christmas – in my house, the first week of December was much more festive. My family and I awoke early each morning and crept downstairs – nimble on our feet – to see if our New Vacuum had arrived. And one day, after a knock at the door and a signed chit, there it was, standing proud in the hall: shiny and new and beautifully designed, accompanied by its progeny of nozzles… READ MORE

KeysKey 1: Connect the learning

Think back to your school days. What most vividly sticks in your mind and what has been swept away like grains of sand on the cold winds of time? Students are more likely to learn if their interest is piqued by something extraordinary and unfamiliar: they need lessons to ignite new sparks and pose new questions. They need lessons to unsettle them, to discomfort and challenge them; students are more likely to remember something when it makes them alert and alive to the learning experience… READ MORE

KeysKey 2: Personalise the learning

The best teachers tailor their lessons to accommodate what will always be a diverse group of students. They use diagnostic assessments such as pre-tests and low-stakes multiple-choice quizzes to identify students with gaps in prior knowledge and skills. These needs are then addressed through targeted intervention individually, in pairs and small groups. Whichever method of differentiation/personalisation we use, our expectations of students’ desired outcomes should remain the same. After all, students with differing levels of prior knowledge and achievement can all engage in answering big questions and exploring hypothesises. All students have the potential to deepen their understanding as a result of thinking and engaging with the discussion… READ MORE

KeysKey 3: Grab students’ attention

Students need self-discipline, self-direction, and the ability to delay their gratification in order to be successful in school and yet many students are unwilling to work hard. Students typically misunderstand that their role is to develop their understanding, not merely acquire (and then regurgitate) the information that teachers provide them with. Often, teachers try to overcome this by issuing extrinsic rewards such as praise, prizes, and privileges, or indeed extrinsic sanctions such as low grades and punishments. But extrinsic rewards and sanctions don’t work very well, or at least not for very long – the best solution is to create intrinsic motivation, to make what you’re teaching worth learning… READ MORE

KeysKey 4: Teach less, learn more & Key 5: Reflect

Teachers often fail to consider the gaps in students’ experiences and skills and wrongly think that what they need to do to rectify this is teach more knowledge. But understanding requires an iterative mix of experiences, reflections on those experiences, and targeted instruction in light of those experiences. Good lesson design, therefore, involves the provision of sufficient real or simulated experiences in order to enable students’ understanding to develop… READ MORE


Read the print editions:

img_2072 MB-SecEd-keys-2-pdf personalise_learning grab_attention



ABC of teaching


(C) Bromley Education 2016