Behaviours of effective teachers and learners

Brain food:

Effective Learner Behaviours:

PEEL: Project for Enhancing Effective Learning (

They identified a list of Poor Learning Behaviours

frustrationWhat frustrates teachers most about the way students approach their learning?

Rarely contribute ideas Don’t think about the meaning of what they read or hear
Don’t link different sessions/units Don’t think about why or how they are doing a task
Don’t learn from mistakes in assessment tasks Won’t take responsibility for their learning
Dive into tasks without planning Have no strategies when stuck
Don’t link learning/assessment work with real/work life Don’t believe that their own ideas are relevant
Are reluctant to take risks in creative tasks Are reluctant to edit or check their work
Existing beliefs are not easy to change

They asked teachers what they would like students to be doing instead?


Seeks assistance e.g.·Tell teacher when and what they don’t understand·Checks work against instructions, correcting errors and omissions Reflects on their work e.g.·Plans a general strategy before starting.·Explains purposes and results.
Checks personal progress e.g.·When stuck, refers to earlier work before asking teacher·Checks personal comprehension of instruction and material.  Requests further information if needed. Links to beliefs and experiences e.g.·Independently seeks further information, following up ideas raised in class.·Seeks links between non-adjacent activities, ideas and between different topics and subjects.
Plans and anticipates e.g.·Checks personal comprehension of instructions and material.  Requests further information if needed·Anticipates and predicts possible outcomes and results Assumes a position e.g.·Suggests new activities and alternative procedures.·Expresses disagreement,  justifies opinions and offers ideas, new insights and alternative explanations

PEEL Procedures aim to:

  • Share intellectual control with students.
  • Look for occasions when students can work out part (or all) of the content or instructions.
  • Provide diverse range of ways of experiencing success.
  • Promote talk which is exploratory, tentative and hypothetical.
  • Encourage students to learn from other students’ questions and comments.
  • Build a classroom environment that supports risk-taking.
  • Use a wide variety of intellectually challenging teaching procedures.
  • Use teaching procedures that are designed to promote specific aspects of quality learning.
  • Develop students’ awareness of the big picture: how the various activities fit together and link to the big ideas.
  • Regularly raise students’ awareness of the nature of different aspects of quality learning.
  • Promote assessment as part of the learning process.

Guy Claxton: Expansive Education at IoE, May 2012: 

A comparison of learning habits in schools (red) and attitudes for the real world (green) indicating that if we wish to prepare our learners with 21st century skills we need to give opportunities to nurture and develop these attitudes.

Guy claxton

Article of the week: Effective Teacher Behaviours: SSAT

Prior Research on Teacher Effectiveness

In the 1960s researchers began to look at the actual behaviours of teachers, using classroom observation in the main, together with surveys asking teachers what they did in the classroom.

Most research has been done in the USA, in the 70’s and 80’s,e.g. Evertson, Brophy and Rosenshine. Studies in Europe include Westerhof,1992, Creemers 1994, Mortimore et al, 1988,Reynolds 1996 .

More recent researchers and writers have reinforced earlier findings on what makes effective teaching e.g.Hay McBer 2000 Research into Teacher Effectiveness: A Model of Teacher Effectiveness pub. DfEE; Hattie, J.A. 2003 Influences on Student Learning; Marzano, R. J. 1998 A Theory-Based Meta-analysis of Research on Instruction; Petty, Geoff 2009 (2nd edition) Evidence-based Teaching pub. Nelson Thornes.

DeBonos HatsFactors associated with higher student achievement

  • Opportunity to learn
  • Focus on teaching/learning
  • Effective behaviour management
  • Effective classroom management
  • Effective direct instruction
  • Individual and small group work
  • Structure
  • Effective questioning
  • Variety of strategies
  • Classroom climate
  • Student achievement

These factors can be grouped under the following headings:

1.Classroom Climate

2.Interactive Teaching

3.Range of Teaching and Learning Approaches

4.Classroom Management

What does this mean in practice?

Effective teacher behaviours are significant: they explain the majority of variance between classroom test gains. Holding all other variables constant, being taught by the most as opposed to the least effective teacher increased a student’s scores by 18% (one to two levels or grades). If the effective behaviours and strategies can be developed in all teachers, then the impact on attainment would be significant.

Effect of a school Vs. A Teacher on Student Entering at 50th Percentile


Robert Marzano’s research on classroom management.   A child goes into school at the 50th centile (absolute average in America): if taught by A is still at the 50th centile 2 years later; if taught by B is at the 4th centile; if taught by D is at the 90th centile after 2 years!   This bears out experiences in challenging schools where effective teachers get good results. Expectations and belief are very powerful.

(Robert Marzano 2003, “A quantative synthesis of research on classroom management”)

Recommended Reading

1) Teaching Backwards by Andy Grffithteaching backwards

In an era when schools and teachers often seem to operate at one hundred miles an hour, Teaching Backwards offers a more reflective and measured approach to teaching and learning. Where many teachers focus on delivering content in a linear fashion, those who teach backwards start with the end in mind. This means that they know in advance what levels of knowledge, attitude, skills and habits they expect their learners to achieve, they define and demystify ambitious goals, and they establish their students starting points before they start to plan and teach. Teaching Backwards ensures that learners consistently make great progress over time, and offers a practical, hands-on manual for teachers to further develop their attitudes, skills and habits of excellence both for themselves and for their learners.

This book is the follow-up to the best-selling Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners. It is based on the analysis of thousands of hours of primary and secondary lessons, part of Osiris Education s Outstanding Teaching Intervention programme over the last seven years.

2) 100 Things Awesome Teachers Do by Mr William Emeny (Author)

Number 1 bestseller in the Apple iBookstore Education books and Professional and Technical books sections in March 2012! What are other people saying about 100 Things Awe100 thingssome Teachers Do? “I would heartily recommend this book to any teacher – whatever subject you teach, whether you are new to the profession, or if you are looking for new ideas and a chance to reflect on your existing practices.” – Craig Barton is an AST from Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton. “William Emeny’s ‘100 Things Awesome Teachers Do’ is a fantastic book, crammed full of wonderfully unique ideas to engage learners, improve learning and create that buzz about your classroom. The book is separated into 10 key topics, each with 10 innovative ideas. It is thoroughly enjoyable to read and can easily be dipped in and out of as required. As a trainee teacher on the GTP, I have found the ideas Emeny presents invaluable and his passion for teaching shines through in every idea. Every teacher wants to be an awesome teacher; how many of Emeny’s 100 things are you currently doing?” – Paul Collins, Mathematics Teacher New to teaching and want some good ideas? Been in teaching a while and looking for some fresh things to try? 100 Things Awesome Teachers Do is like a breaktime chat between teachers who share things they have found work for them. The book is split into 10 sections including, lesson planning, motivation and engagement, learning environment, learning styles, independent learning and more. Each section has 10 ideas for you to try out. This isn’t a book that focusses how to pull off a single outstanding lesson to please the requirements of a formal lesson observation, although it does help with that! This book is more about getting excellent learning happening in your classroom everyday, day-in day-out. The book is full of tried-and-tested ideas that teachers have learned both from academic research and The University of Life and Experience. Bursting with ideas about things awesome teachers do, this book should give both newbies and seasoned pros something new to try out!

3) Outstanding Formative Assessment: Culture and Practice by Shirley Clarke download

Shirley Clarke provides a wealth of high quality ideas, practical strategies, classroom examples and whole-school case studies for teachers in primary and secondary schools.The most comprehensive of Shirley Clarke’s titles includes extensive examples and realia, in full colour. The book is clearly structured around the ways in which teachers actually teach, with QR coded web video clips to illustrate key points in action.

– Helps teachers create an environment for pupils to be active learners, constant reviewers and self-assessors

– Ensures teachers start and finish lessons effectively by initially establishing their prior knowledge and capturing their interest and finally encouraging pupil reflection to find out what has been learnt and what still needs to be developed

– Develops learning by helping children articulate their understanding and focusing on constant review and improvement

– Focuses on whole-school development including lesson study, assessment policies and stories from outstanding schools

Interesting articles/videos/resources

1. Growth mindset vs fixed mindset:the impact on student progress

2. Green shoots at the grassroots will grow a better profession

3. Thirty Words CPD in 30 Seconds – some great ideas

4. Seating plans: the first link is a video on the importance of seating plans. The second link is a PowerPoint showing how we can identify students by ability, FSM, Pupil Premium, target grade, current grade etc.

seating plans_secondary mixed ability groups


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