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This podcast is part of an eight-part series. In this episode, Mark Scott, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, speaks with Trangie Central School principal, Anne Holden and her students about how their school has embedded a culture of high expectations.

Her students give insights into how those high expectations motivate them and provide them with a positive learning environment.

Download the transcript (PDF, 177kB)

Access our other What works best resources.
 

Part of the conversation on video

Join Dr Ben North, Dr Carina Dennis and Cate Stilwell as they discuss gifted education and CESE's research in this area, including the Revisiting gifted education literature review

This conversation was recorded at Greenacre Public School in 2018.

Read the Gifted education podcast transcript (PDF, 165kB).

The What works best: 2020 update audio paper outlines eight quality teaching practices that are known to support school improvement and enhance the learning outcomes of our students. The themes are not an exhaustive list of effective practices, but are a useful framework for teachers and school leaders to consider when deciding how to tackle student improvement.

Read by Rachel Smith, Samuel Cox and Vicki Russell.

Read the What works best: 2020 update publication.

 high academic expectations thumbTTFM-reflection-high-expectations-thumbHigh-academic-expectations-poster-thumb

These resources are part of a series that summarise the research on student wellbeing and engagement. They support the department's strategic goal of ensuring every student is known, valued and cared for.

Related resources

Published in Tell Them From Me
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.

Published in Tools for teachers

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.

Collaboration

  • 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.

Published in Tools 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

 

Summary

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.

Published in Tools for teachers
Friday, 24 April 2020

What works best: 2020 update

What works best: 2020 update (PDF, 1.6MB)

What works best: 2020 update (PDF, 1.6MB)

Access our other 'What works best' resources

 

Summary

This paper is an update to our 2014 publication. The 2020 update outlines eight quality teaching practices that are known to support school improvement and enhance the learning outcomes of our students. The themes are not an exhaustive list of effective practices, but are a useful framework for teachers and school leaders to consider when deciding how to tackle student improvement.

The eight themes identified as likely to make the biggest difference to our students are:

1. High expectations

Teachers’ beliefs about their students influence how they teach and interact with them. High expectations are linked with higher performance for all students. The reverse can also be true. Students may achieve less than their full potential if expectations of their ability are low.

2. Explicit teaching 

Explicit teaching practices involve teachers clearly showing students what to do and how to do it, rather than having students discover that information themselves. Students who experience explicit teaching practices make greater learning gains than students who do not experience these practices.

3. Effective feedback

Effective feedback provides students with relevant, explicit, ongoing, constructive and actionable information about their performance against learning outcomes from the syllabus.

4. Use of data to inform practice

Teachers use data to check and understand where their students are in their learning and to plan what to do next. Effective analysis of student data helps teachers identify areas where students’ learning needs may require additional attention and development.

5. Assessment

High quality student assessment helps us know that learning is taking place. Assessment is most effective when it is an integral part of teaching and learning programs.

6. Classroom management

Classroom management is important for creating the conditions for learning. Effective classroom management minimises and addresses all levels of disengagement and disruptive behaviours.

7. Wellbeing

At school, the practices that support student wellbeing involve creating a safe environment; ensuring connectedness; engaging students in their learning; and promoting social and emotional skills.

8. Collaboration 

Professional collaboration allows best practice to be identified and shared across classrooms. Effective collaboration explicitly aims to improve teacher practices and student outcomes. 

For more information

Our What works best in practice resource provides strategies to support teachers to implement the eight themes in the classroom.

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.

Published in Research report

How high expectations and engagement in primary school drive student learning (PDF, 6.7MB)Warwick-case-study-thumbLiverpool-west-case-study-thumb

How high expectations and engagement in primary school drive student learning (PDF, 7.4MB)

Warwick Farm Public School case study (PDF, 4MB)

Liverpool West Public School case study (PDF, 5MB)

Reflection guide for school networks (PDF, 52kB)

Reflection guide for schools (PDF, 52kB)

The text on this page is also available as a downloadable summary (PDF, 107kB)

 

Background

How high expectations and engagement in primary school drive student learning explores the role of student engagement and classroom practices for improving student learning. Specifically, it looks at the impact of engagement and effective teaching experienced in Years 5, 6 and 7 on academic performance in Year 7.

 

Key findings

• A culture of high expectations is as important for learning in primary school as it is in high school. Year 5 students who report having teachers with high expectations are over 6 months ahead in their learning by Year 7.

• Socioeconomic status has an impact on students’ engagement at school. The proportion of students engaged in primary school is lower for students in the lowest socioeconomic quartile than for more advantaged students across measures of both classroom and social engagement at school.
• Other aspects of effective teaching also matter. When students understand the purpose of what they are learning and teachers deliver clear instruction and relevant content, student achievement improves.
• Having positive peer relationships and classroom behaviour during primary school are also important for learning.
• Students with a positive attitude towards homework during the final year of primary school have better numeracy outcomes in the first year of high school.

 

Practical implications

The publication is accompanied by professional learning reflection guides for principals and school executive staff to support school leaders in considering the implications of this research for practices in their schools. Two accompanying case studies, from Liverpool West and Warwick Farm public schools, provide additional resources to showcase how schools can effectively promote engagement and ensure high expectations of their students.

 

Further information

The NSW Department of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022 includes the commitment to ensure that every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools. High expectations reflect an understanding of students’ capacity, ensuring that they feel known at school and are challenged in their learning. Schools can use the department’s Tell Them From Me surveys to capture students’ perceptions of the expectations that they experience. This knowledge can then help build an accurate and timely picture that schools can use for practical improvements.

Published in Learning Curve
Friday, 16 November 2018

What works best – audio paper

What works best in schools to improve student outcomes? This paper will look at the following seven themes from the growing bank of evidence.

1. Setting high expectations (5:32)
2. Using explicit teaching practices (15:30)
3. Providing effective feedback (23:33)
4. Using data to inform future practice (30:01)
5. Establishing and maintaining effective classroom management (38:00)
6. Supporting student wellbeing (43:35)
7. Engaging in effective professional collaboration (53:28)

Read by Samuel Cox, CESE.

Download the transcript (PDF, 204kB)

Go to the full paper.

what works best

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