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Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence

Date: 08 September 2013

Teachers are one of the key elements in any school and effective teaching is one of the key propellers for school improvement. This review is concerned with what makes an effective teacher.

Teacher effectiveness is generally referred to in terms of a focus on student outcomes and the teacher behaviours and classroom processes that promote better student outcomes.

This review, based upon research evidence, suggests that effective teachers:

  • are clear about instructional goals
  • are knowledgeable about curriculum content and the strategies for teaching it
  • communicate to their students what is expected of them, and why
  • make expert use of existing instructional materials in order to devote more time to practices that enrich and clarify the content
  • are knowledgeable about their students, adapting instruction to their needs and anticipating misconceptions in their existing knowledge
  • teach students meta-cognitive strategies and give them opportunities to master them
  • address higher- as well as lower-level cognitive objectives
  • monitor students' understanding by offering regular appropriate feedback
  • integrate their instruction with that in other subject areas
  • accept responsibility for student outcomes.

The review shows that in order to achieve good teaching, good subject knowledge is a prerequisite.

Also, the skilful use of well-chosen questions to engage and challenge learners, and to consolidate understanding, is an important feature, as is the effective use of assessment for learning.

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Anna Riggall

Research manager

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