Newsletter 103 Classroom Pedagogies

The following series of newsletters (1-20) are based on a fantastic guide teaching classroom pedagogies, teaching and learning strategies for teachers in the classroom.


A guide to...

Productive Pedagogies Classroom reflection manual

This booklet has been adapted from the Classroom Observation Booklet by New Basics Branch and the Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study (QSRLS) commissioned by Education Queensland


© The State of Queensland (Department of Education) 2002


Teachers should use the Productive Pedagogies framework to consider:

• Are all the students I teach, regardless of background, engaged in intellectually challenging and relevant curriculum in a supportive environment?

• How do my teaching and assessment practices support or hinder this?

• What opportunities do I have to critically reflect upon my work with colleagues?


This manual may be used to assist teachers with:

• reflecting on current classroom practices

• generating a professional language

• designing curriculum and learning experiences

• making intelligent decisions about individual students’ needs.


SUMMARY OF PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE (You can follow the topics 1-20 across the four dimensions)



Intellectual quality

Higher-order thinking (1)

Deep knowledge (2)

Deep understanding (3)

Substantive conversation (4)

Knowledge as problematic (5)

Metalanguage (6)


DIMENSION 2 [7-11]

Supportive classroom environment

Student direction (7)

Social support (8)

Academic engagement (9)

Explicit quality performance criteria (10)

Self-regulation (11)


DIMENSION 3 [12-16] Recognition of difference

Cultural knowledge (12)

Inclusivity (13)

Narrative (14)

Group identity (15)

Active citizenship (16)


DIMENSION 4 [17-20]


Knowledge integration (17)

Background knowledge (18)

Connectedness to the world (19)

Problem-based curriculum (20)



DIMENSION 3 - Recognition of difference

Recognition of difference is perhaps the most theoretically and practically significant dimension for explaining how to systematically improve the achievement of students from scholastically disadvantaged socio-cultural backgrounds. A great amount of thought has gone into trying to explain how and why students from disadvantaged backgrounds do not do well in school when compared with their more socially advantaged counterparts. However, while a substantial body of research exists to support the items included in the SRLS focus on recognition of difference, it should be noted at the outset that the SRLS is one of the first attempts to assess many of these existing theories within a systematic, large-scale empirical study focusing on student outcomes.

Topic 15 - Group identity

Does the teaching build a sense of community and identity?


Schools need to create a supportive environment where difference is viewed positively and group identities are valued. Within the classroom, there needs to be a strong sense of community. For example, in a classroom, Aboriginal identities are given positive recognition in classroom practices and representations. Aboriginal students and teachers are given opportunities to pursue aspects of the development of Aboriginal identities and cultures, and all class participants value this as a positive and legitimate aspect of their classroom community. Racism is challenged within the classroom, school, and in the wider community. In a classroom where there is low group identity the climate is characterised by mistrust demonstrated by (a) students not willingly participating in front of their peers and offering suggestions or alternative points of view, or (b) students who don’t participate or don’t conform to the behaviours exhibited by the majority of the class are subject to bullying or isolation. One dominant student or group of students may hold the power and monitor the behaviour of the rest of the class in this environment. Apathy or uncertainty may prevail where students don’t feel a valued stakeholder in the class.


1. In a Year 11 English class the assessment involved a tutorial presented by each student to a small group of their peers on one of the themes in To Kill a Mockingbird. In one of these tutorials, which contained five students (three males and two females) and the female class teacher, one of the female students gave a presentation on the differences between women’s rights in the 1930s and in the 1990s. Throughout the tutorial the student drew on the experiences of the female students and teacher to explain their attitudes to the issues she was raising. What these students and teacher thought was treated as important because they were female. The differences between their attitudes and those of the male students were clearly recognised, even though the male students were quite supportive of the female students’ views.

2. A Year 9 lesson, in a school located in a large multicultural area, focused on the novel Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. The students were engaged in considering the question ‘What is an Australian?’ Students reflected upon how different cultures had been valued, and whether they had been treated fairly, within the context of the novel.