What does engaged and effective teaching look like?
There is no single definition or bullet point that shows what effective teachers should look like. We do know, effective teaching doesn’t require any fancy programs or cost a lot of money. John Hattie’s evidence-based recommendations support what we call the five Teaching ALWAYS Actions to help teachers become more effective in the classroom. Best practice research tells us:
- The teacher is the most important factor related to student achievement.
- When teachers create and consistently apply classroom rules and procedures, our students will be ready to learn.
- Teachers who provide continuous, specific feedback have the biggest effect on learning.
Teaching ALWAYS Actions
- Procedures: Have a well-managed classroom with very well defined classroom rules and procedures that are clearly communicated to students.
- Targets: Show and communicate the learning targets of the day and how they connect to an essential higher order learning goal.
- Practice: Provide many opportunities for students to practice learning tasks aligned to the targets.
- Feedback: Constantly give feedback to students, create ways for students to self-assess, and include strategies for students to give feedback to each other to know what they have learned and where learning gaps exist. Know how to close the gaps.
- Grades: Record a grade from a student achievement score applying a well-developed test and/or a performance assessment (both designed and aligned to targets taught) to score student achievement.
Never is never an option
The Teaching ALWAYS Actions are “must do” behaviors. Each action describes what it takes from teachers for students to achieve student learning results.
Most of us know what to do. Even so, we fail to ALWAYS do what we know. “Usually” and “Sometimes” are not good enough, and “never” must never occur.
Teachers that effectively use each of the Teaching ALWAYS Actions help students become more engaged and confident learners, leading to higher student learning results. Consequently, teachers that have applied these actions have achieved great success improving student engagement and learning.