Publications filter

Tools for teachers (8)


What works best summary tiles (PDF, 357.8KB)


Practical strategies for embedding high expectations in teaching and learning

  • Consistently challenge all students to learn new things.
  • Establish clear and consistent expectations for learning and behaviour.
  • Guide and support students towards meeting expectations.
  • Engage with parents and carers to encourage them to hold high expectations of their children.


Practical strategies for using data in practice in teaching and learning

  • Regularly dedicate time to using data effectively.
  • Collect meaningful data.
  • Analyse the data to monitor student learning and progress.
  • Make teaching decisions based on data analysis goals.


Practical strategies for supporting student wellbeing

  • Select and develop strategies to proactively teach healthy coping mechanisms, resilience and self-regulation.
  • Initiate strategies to build a positive learning environment characterised by supportive relationships and regular contact with each student.
  • Target support for different phases of student development and for students who may be at risk.
  • Use collaborative strategies and share with staff, the school community and other agencies as required, to support the wellbeing of students.


Practical strategies for effective teacher collaboration

  • Seek professional learning opportunities to share and gain expertise in evidence-based teaching practices.
  • Regularly participate in structured lesson observations that focus on how different teaching approaches impact on student learning.
  • Regularly dedicate time throughout the school year for working with colleagues to plan, develop and refine teaching and learning programs.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues to achieve shared collaboration goals.


Practical strategies for embedding explicit teaching in the classroom

  • Prepare for explicit teaching by planning lesson scope, assessing data, reviewing prior learning and balancing teacher-directed, teacher-guided and student-directed learning.
  • Explain, model and guide learning.
  • Monitor student progress and check for understanding.


Practical strategies for embedding effective feedback in teaching and learning

  • Reflect and communicate about the learning task with students.
  • Provide students with detailed and specific feedback about what they need to do to achieve growth as a learner.
  • Encourage students to self-assess, reflect and monitor their work.
  • Ensure that students act on feedback that they receive.


Practical strategies for using assessment to improve student learning

  • Make student assessment a part of everyday practice.
  • Use assessment to provide students with learning opportunities.
  • Design and deliver high-quality formal assessment tasks.
  • Carefully structure group assessment activities to ensure that students are supported, challenged and able to work together successfully.


Practical strategies to support teachers in managing their classrooms effectively

  • Develop high-quality student-teacher relationships.
  • Provide structure, predictability, and opportunities for active student participation in the classroom.
  • Actively supervise students to keep them on task.
  • Respond to disengagement and disruptive behaviours and support students to re-engage in learning.

Data collection and analysis for evaluation – reference guides for teachers (PDF, 316kB)

Data collection and analysis for evaluation – reference guides for teachers (PDF, 316kB)

This guide provides practical tips on data collection in the context of evaluation. It covers good survey design, running effective focus groups, conducting effective interviews and the process of document analysis. There is more information on data collection on the Evaluation resource hub.

Inclusive education case studies discussion guide (PDF, 229kB)

Inclusive education case studies discussion guide (PDF, 229kB)

Case studies on inclusive education



This discussion guide has been created to support principals, executive and teachers to unpack and reflect on CESE’s case studies on inclusive education in NSW schools and to consider how the content is relevant to their own school contexts.



This discussion guide is designed to be used in a group setting with colleagues from your school or network. If working with colleagues from other schools, consider sharing differences and similarities in inclusive education at your schools during the discussion.
1. Working in pairs or a small group, allocate 1-2 case studies to each person.
2. As you read the case studies allocated to you, consider:
a. What are the main themes covered in this case study?
b. What examples are provided for each theme?
c. What else stood out to you?
3. In your pair or small group:
a. Explain the context of the school you read about and share the main themes covered in the case study.
b. Identify which of the themes can be seen at your school. Discuss similarities or differences in what this
looks like in your school compared to the case study school.
c. Identify themes or examples from the case study that could be put in place in your school or classroom.
Discuss what action is needed to do this.
d. Consider who should be involved in the actions you’ve identified in point c. What can you do to get
started on implementing some of these actions?

BestPractices2020 v1

Best practicescreating a positive learning environment (PDF, 70kB)

Using the department's remote learning resources


The modern classroom is ever-changing. The following evidence-based teaching strategies can assist teachers as they support students’ education continuity, in an online and/or remote learning environment.

Explicit teaching

  • Clearly show students what to do and how to do it (for example, providing explanation videos, hard/soft copy worked examples or completed exemplars).
  • Explain the purpose and relevance of all tasks (for example, providing visual lesson outlines, learning intentions, the activities or key instructions, and the success criteria for the lesson).

Read more on explicit teaching in What works best: 2020 update and What works best in practice.

Manage cognitive load

  • Cut out inessential information.
  • Present all the essential information together.
  • Simplify complex information by presenting it both orally and visually.
  • Encourage students to visualise concepts and procedures that they have learnt.

Read more on cognitive load in Cognitive load theory and Managing cognitive load through effective presentations.

Support routines

  • Provide daily to-do lists and day schedule.
  • Have students submit work regularly.

Read more on classroom management in Classroom management and Leading from home – school planning.

Maintain high expectations

  • Be clear about what is expected of students (for example, student behaviour and tasks).
  • Provide effective feedback that includes constructive and actionable steps on how students can improve.
  • Encourage student personal best goal setting.

Read more on high expectations in How high expectations and engagement in primary school drive student learning and What works best: 2020 update.


  • Draw on collective teacher expertise (for example, co-plan lessons, share best practice models and resources).
  • Regularly inform parents and carers of their child’s progress, learning expectations and learning goals.

Read more on collaboration in Improving high school engagement, classroom practices and achievement and What works best: 2020 update

Active supervision

  • Check-in daily with students.

Read more on active supervision in Classroom management and Learning from home – delivery of learning.

Support student wellbeing

  • Encourage student feedback and suggestions to help students feel connected to their learning.
  • Engage students in positive self-talk, discuss issues when they arise and encourage students to ask for help.
  • Provide tips on how students can manage their time effectively.
  • Promote emotional safety through preventative strategies, such as teaching students self-regulation (for example, breathing and meditation exercises).

Read more on student wellbeing in Capturing and measuring student voice and Improving high school engagement, classroom practices and achievement.

For emotional safety preventative and responsive strategies, read Trauma-informed practice in schools: An explainer.

Support a safe online/remote learning environment

  • Provide students and parents information on respectful, responsible and safe use of digital devices.
  • Clearly communicate procedures for staff, parents and carers to report concerns or online bullying.

Read more on online safety in Anti-bullying interventions in schools, on the digital citizenship website, the eSafety website or download the eSafety toolkit for schools.


Using the department’s remote learning resources

Learning from home

The department’s dedicated Learning from home webpages provide resources and advice for teachers and parents including information on:

Literacy and numeracy resources for teachers

The Literacy and numeracy website supports the explicit teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy in schools by providing the latest resources including:

  • learning progressions
  • EAL/D learning progressions
  • PLAN2
  • podcasts
  • case studies

Teachers can also access the Literacy and numeracy professional learning.

Friday, 15 May 2020

What works best toolkit

What works best toolkit (PDF, 2.3MB)

What works best toolkit (PDF, 2.5MB)

Access our other 'What works best' resources

The toolkit includes a reflection framework. It supports teachers to reflect on their current practice for each of the What works best themes and identify areas for improvement. The reflection process involves outlining your current practice for each What works best theme and the impact of your current practice. Then, identify the next steps for improvement by considering areas of practice that need to be strengthened. This includes practices that need to be adopted/started, adapted/changed or stopped/discontinued.
When reflecting on your practice for each theme, refer to the strategies in the What works best in practice document, specific elements of the School Excellence Framework and to the standards of focus in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Friday, 24 April 2020

What works best in practice

What works best in practice (PDF, 3MB)

What works best in practice (PDF, 3MB)

Access our other 'What works best' resources



What works best in practice supports teachers to implement the evidence-based themes outlined in What works best: 2020 update. It provides strategies and case studies against eight key teaching practices that are known to improve student outcomes.

The eight themes are:

  • High expectations
  • Explicit teaching
  • Effective feedback
  • Use of data to inform practice
  • Student assessment
  • Classroom management
  • Wellbeing
  • Collaboration

The themes provide a useful framework for teachers to ensure their practices in the classroom align with the evidence. The strategies in the document are a great starting point for practical implementation and the case studies provide some examples about how other schools have approached these practices. As always, it is important to consider the strategies within the unique context of your own classroom and school environment.

For more information

Our What works best: 2020 update lays out the research and data behind each of the eight themes.

The School Excellence Framework supports school leaders take a planned and whole-school approach to improvement. The eight themes closely align with the School Excellence Framework.


This resource has practical tips on how to consider cognitive load when creating teaching presentations. It was developed based on the research in CESE's cognitive load publications, with the help and inspiration of Concord High School. The PowerPoint can be downloaded and used in schools for professional learning activities. Speaker notes are included in the presentation. A PDF version can also be downloaded below (does not contain speaker notes).

Thursday, 03 December 2020

What works best: 2020 update poster

What works best: 2020 update poster (PDF, 2.23MB)

What works best: 2020 update poster (PDF, 2.23MB)

Access our other posters and the poster order form

The What works best: 2020 update summarises some of the most significant research into effective teaching. It outlines eight evidence-based practices that teachers can use in their classrooms to support improved student learning.


How to implement What works best in your classroom

High expectations

Engage students and challenge them to learn new things. Establish clear and consistent expectations for their learning and behaviour, support them to meet those expectations. Tailor your teaching to meet their needs, and engage with parents and carers to encourage them to hold high expectations of their children.


Make assessment an integral part of your teaching and learning program. Establish learning intentions, create success criteria and provide effective feedback. Teach your students how to peer and self-assess and to set individual goals.

Explicit teaching

Clearly explain to students why they are learning something, how it connects to what they already know, what they are expected to do, how to do it, and what it looks like when they have succeeded.

Classroom management

Develop high-quality student-teacher relationships. Provide structure, predictability and opportunities for active student participation in the classroom. Actively supervise students to keep them on task, respond to disengagement or disruptive behaviours, and support students to re-engage with learning.

Effective feedback

Be detailed and specific. Focus on how students performed on a particular task, where mistakes were made, and what needs to happen to improve in future.


Create a safe environment. Increase student's sense of belonging, value students' opinions and perspectives, encourage interest in learning, and promote social and emotional skills.

Use of data to inform practice

Collect data from a wide range of sources, including your observations, class tests, formal exams, student work samples and responses to informal questions.


Connect with colleagues and experts from outside the school. Work together to plan lessons and teaching programs, obseve each others' lessons and provide feedback. Engage in professional discussion and reflection.

Publications advanced search

Accessible documents

If you find a CESE publication is not accessible, please contact us