Effective pedagogical practices

Effective pedagogical practices


Effective pedagogical practices have a strong research base, are clearly understood by classroom practitioners and are direct responses to students’ identified learning needs.

Effective pedagogical practices 

NSW School Examples

  This PowerPoint from Batemans Bay Public School, on the NSW South Coast, illustrates the practicalities of “building teacher capacity to build student capacity”. The school chose to teach literacy through the pedagogy of Accelerated Literacy, requiring significant investment in professional development. 
  A Powerpoint from Mayfield East Public School in the Newcastle area describes how the application of effective Accelerated Literacy pedagogy, supported by active engagement with parents and the wider school community has resulted in outstanding improvements in student outcomes. 
  Teachers at Mountain View Adventist College discuss their plans for differentiated teaching and scaffolding through use of a common text 
  A classroom teacher at Mountain View Adventist college demonstrates in three short videos (1) how she begins to teach onomatopoeia through a familiar text, (2) effective scaffolding of reading, and (3) explicit teaching through clear explanation of a task. 
  • Effective Pedagogical Practices - in detail


    Effective approaches are based on evidence

    Teachers are best placed to engage in effective pedagogical practices when they can competently select and use high quality resources and/or approaches that have been built around a strong evidence base.

    With a strong awareness of what has been demonstrated to be effective, the choice of particular pedagogical approach, or the selection of a particular program, will then depend on the response to identified student learning needs.


    School leaders model effective practice

    Masters (2010) suggests that principals need to take a strong leadership role in encouraging the use of research based teaching practices in all classrooms to ensure that every student is engaged, challenged and learning successfully. Effective principals will set high expectations across the school that effective teaching strategies will be used, and will act as instructional leaders in communicating, promoting and modeling evidence-based approaches which may include:

    • teachers set high expectations for every student’s progress and ambitious targets for improving classroom performances
    • all teachers implement teaching methods that have been shown to be effective in promoting successful learning for all
    • teachers create classroom learning environments in which all students are engaged, challenged, feel safe to take risks and are supported to learn
    • teachers work to build students’ beliefs in their own capacities to learn successfully and their understandings of the relationship between effort and success
    • teachers provide regular and timely feedback to students in forms that make it clear what actions individuals can take to make further learning progress.

    The importance of the principal’s role in assisting staff to engage in differentiated teaching approaches is also consistently highlighted in studies cited by Hattie (2009:236) who suggests “it is the differences in the teachers that make the difference in student learning.”


    NSW schools use effective strategies

    Each of the strategies above responds directly to students’ learning preferences, styles and interests. Research, supported by classroom consultations in NSW schools, implies that teachers need to engage in the following activities if differentiated teaching and learning are to have an impact on enhanced student outcomes:

    • developing a clear understanding about what students’ learning needs actually are
    • including what students need to be able to understand and also to do
    • ensuring that teachers have a clear and comprehensive knowledge of what students already understand and can do
    • understanding when instructional methodologies need to vary to accommodate differences in student learning needs or pace
    • ensuring a range of strategies that can be employed to build variation into their teaching plan.


    Teachers reflect on their work and that of students

    Research published by Effective Philanthropy (2011) highlights the importance of teachers being able to adopt a reflective teaching approach if they are to become constantly responsive to student learning needs. The most effective teachers combine strong professional teaching skills with reflective teaching practice. They assess student performance on a regular and frequent basis to understand where each student is up to and what they need to be able to progress.

    Where their students struggle to come to terms with an area, they start by looking at what they are doing as teachers and ask themselves what they can do/do differently to help the student to learn. They then adapt their teaching strategies and practices to help make that happen. They take responsibility for their students’ learning and look to themselves and what they can control to help their students to develop and learn.



    Effective Philanthropy (2011). Successful Schooling: Techniques & Tools for Running a School to Help Students from Disadvantaged & Low Socio-Economic Backgrounds Succeed.

    Erebus International (2012). Evaluation of the take-up and sustainability of new literacy and numeracy practices in NSW schools – Final Report for Phase 1, undertaken on behalf of the NSW Minister for Education

    Erebus International (2013). Evaluation of the take-up and sustainability of new literacy and numeracy practices in NSW schools – Final Report for Phase 2, undertaken on behalf of the NSW Minister for Education

    Hattie, J.  (2009). Visible Learning: a synthesis of over 800 Meta- Analyses relating to Achievement. London: Routledge

    Masters, G. (2010). Teaching and Learning School Improvement Framework. Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)


Whole school factors

Collaborative planning and programming, led by a principal and executive team who are well-informed about contemporary, research-based practices, underpins effective pedagogy and student learning.

There is a high expectation across the school of the use of systematic, evidence-based approaches that target what students need to learn to improve.


Classroom/teacher factors

The primary focus on individual learning needs determines the choice of program or teaching/learning strategy.

Students’ identified learning needs are addressed by an explicit teaching and learning strategy, which may include specific intervention programs or tailored resources that are known through research to be effective.

In responding to students’ diverse learning needs, teachers are flexible and adaptable in their use of programs and strategies.


Individual factors

Individual student learning is enhanced when teachers make connections through all aspects of student learning, i.e. across all KLA’s


See also

Read this edition of the Australian Education Review by Gabrielle Matters on Using Data to Support Learning in Schools, published in 2006 by ACER.

Review this research from the University of New England into the effectiveness of the QuickSmart program closing the gap between low-and average-achieving students in the areas of Numeracy and Literacy and in building student confidence.

Explore resources around data-driven decision-making produced by e-Lead, a Washington-based organisation.

Explore the Teach Learn Share database, a national resource where educators and education systems can share their most effective approaches to literacy and numeracy teaching and learning in Australia. In particular, view research into student-centred approaches to improving reading from four schools in NSW.

Read the model of pedagogy presented in Quality Teaching in NSW Public Schools, an assessment practice guide produced by the DEC.

Read about tiered instruction and intervention on the RTI Action Network website, a US resource presented by the National Centre for Learning Disabilities.

Read the guidelines for Language Learning and Literacy  and watch the promotional video. L3 is implemented in the NSW Department of Education and Communities, and is an evidence-based model of early literacy learning supported through structured professional learning.