4: - planning and teaching well-structured lessons

This section contains resources and links relating to Teacher Standard 4, around planning and teaching well-structured lessons, and ECF Section 4, around classroom practice. You can read the detail of the teacher standard and ECF section by expanding the sections below.

Plan and teach well structured lessons

  • impart knowledge and develop understanding through effective use of lesson time
  • promote a love of learning and children’s intellectual curiosity
  • set homework and plan other out-of-class activities to consolidate and extend the knowledge and understanding pupils have acquired
  • reflect systematically on the effectiveness of lessons and approaches to teaching
  • contribute to the design and provision of an engaging curriculum within the relevant subject area(s).

From the Department for Education’s Teachers’ Standards

Learn that:

  1. Effective teaching can transform pupils’ knowledge, capabilities and beliefs about learning.
  2. Effective teachers introduce new material in steps, explicitly linking new ideas to what has been previously studied and learned.
  3. Modelling helps pupils understand new processes and ideas; good models make abstract ideas concrete and accessible.
  4. Guides, scaffolds and worked examples can help pupils apply new ideas, but should be gradually removed as pupil expertise increases.
  5. Explicitly teaching pupils metacognitive strategies linked to subject knowledge, including how to plan, monitor and evaluate, supports independence and academic success.
  6. Questioning is an essential tool for teachers; questions can be used for many purposes, including to check pupils’ prior knowledge, assess understanding and break down problems.
  7. High-quality classroom talk can support pupils to articulate key ideas, consolidate understanding and extend their vocabulary.
  8. Practice is an integral part of effective teaching; ensuring pupils have repeated opportunities to practise, with appropriate guidance and support, increases success.
  9. Paired and group activities can increase pupil success, but to work together effectively pupils need guidance, support and practice.
  10. How pupils are grouped is also important; care should be taken to monitor the impact of groupings on pupil attainment, behaviour and motivation.
  11. Homework can improve pupil outcomes, particularly for older pupils, but it is likely that the quality of homework and its relevance to main class teaching is more important than the amount set.

Learn how to:

Plan effective lessons, by:

  • Using modelling, explanations and scaffolds, acknowledging that novices need more structure early in a domain.
  • Enabling critical thinking and problem solving by first teaching the necessary foundational content knowledge.
  • Removing scaffolding only when pupils are achieving a high degree of success in applying previously taught material.
  • Providing sufficient opportunity for pupils to consolidate and practise applying new knowledge and skills.
  • Breaking tasks down into constituent components when first setting up independent practice (e.g. using tasks that scaffold pupils through meta-cognitive and procedural processes).

Make good use of expositions, by:

  • Starting expositions at the point of current pupil understanding.
  • Combining a verbal explanation with a relevant graphical representation of the same concept or process, where appropriate.
  • Using concrete representation of abstract ideas (e.g. making use of analogies, metaphors, examples and non-examples).

Model effectively, by:

  • Narrating thought processes when modelling to make explicit how experts think (e.g. asking questions aloud that pupils should consider when working independently and drawing pupils’ attention to links with prior knowledge).
  • Making the steps in a process memorable and ensuring pupils can recall them (e.g. naming them, developing mnemonics, or linking to memorable stories).
  • Exposing potential pitfalls and explaining how to avoid them.

Stimulate pupil thinking and check for understanding, by:

  • Planning activities around what you want pupils to think hard about.
  • Including a range of types of questions in class discussions to extend and challenge pupils (e.g. by modelling new vocabulary or asking pupils to justify answers).
  • Providing appropriate wait time between question and response where more developed responses are required.
  • Considering the factors that will support effective collaborative or paired work (e.g. familiarity with routines, whether pupils have the necessary prior knowledge and how pupils are grouped).
  • Providing scaffolds for pupil talk to increase the focus and rigour of dialogue.

From the Department for Education’s Early Career Framework

Early Career Hub resources about classroom practice, planning and teaching well-structured lessons

Other Chartered College resources about classroom practice, planning and teaching well-structured lessons

External links related to classroom practice, planning and teaching well-structured lessons

DfE references list for Early Career Framework Section 4

Resource completion : 4 - Classroom practice